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A Ranking of Late Night’s Chaotic Energy

I used to make fun of my mom who watched the news every morning, only to turn into the exact same person, just gen-z/millennial style. By this I mean I watch basically every late night show, usually the next morning on YouTube. I know there’s a major liberal bias in this vein of media, but it’s the only way I can stomach news nowadays, and this way I stay somewhat informed. Now, being familiar with most hosts, I’ve gotten a good handle of their styles and one thing that varies greatly is the level of their chaotic energy. Which brings me to my ranking….

.5/10 — Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon is a likable goof who I’ve never heard a bad word about (minus that Donald Trump snafu). When he addresses politics, it’s always in playful games. However, his low chaotic ranking isn’t to discredit him; it’s just an acknowledgement that you’re not going to get too much hard hitting comedy on his show. Jimmy Fallon just wants to have a good time, and make sure everyone else does as well.

2/10 — Trevor Noah

While his predecessor would have been listed much higher, Trevor Noah brings a more serious atmosphere to The Daily Show. This doesn’t stop Noah from erupting into giggles at the dumb stuff that comes out of our President’s mouth, but he prefers to find reason and rational in the dumb (a prime example: his Between the Scenes youtube bits), and doesn’t go out of his way to do anything specifically chaotic. 

4/10 — Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers does some great segments and jokes with his writers, but his most well known segment is his Closer Look, one of the best effective takedowns of current events on this list. While his jokes have a chaotic energy, he’s best at delivering them with a straight face to the camera. That being said, you can’t watch his Day Drinking segments and not believe he’s got some chaos in him.

5/10 — James Cordan

Cordan has the same disposition as Fallon, all giggles and smiles during his joke deliverances, but it’s his segments and sketches that earn him this score. His Carpool Karaoke is the most famous, but he also puts himself against famous singers in Riff-Off, forces celebrities to eat disgusting food to avoid awkward questions in Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts, and throws fruit at a glass barrier in front of his guest to see if they’ll react in his game Flinch. While he’s a steady, good guy, he loves to have some lighthearted fun at others’ (willing) expense.

8/10 — Jimmy Kimmel

Kimmel isn’t always as hard hitting as some of the names previously listed, but homeboy is filled with chaos. He’s known for his prank war with his neighbor, John Krazinsky, and his rivalry with Matt Damon, but it’s his recent (and kind of succesful) campaign to be the mayor of the town of Dildo that earned him a spot so high. 

8.5/10 — Stephen Colbert

Now, Kimmel and Colbert were the hardest to place on this list and some might disagree with me. Here’s my argument: Kimmel is very outwardly chaotic with his pranks and mayoral campaigns, Colbert is as chaotic between the eyes as he is dead. This is the man who created a glass container for his alcohol glass on midterm night labelled “Break in Case of an Emergency” and broke it two minutes later so he could drink. He also repeatedly brings out late night icon Jon Stewart and his eagle loving, straight laced alter ego Stephen Colbert (not to be confused with himself, or his Comedy Central Colbert Report persona that he does not own the rights to anymore). Stephen Colbert is so very, very done with this political mess we’ve gotten ourselves into and you can see it in his eyes. 

10/10 — Hasan Minhaj

I’m cheating a bit here. Technically, as Minhaj hosts Patriot Act, which is a weekly Netflix show, he’s not a “late night host” per say. However, he got his start on The Daily Show and really all of these late night shows are just comedic news shows, which Patriot Act firmly fits into. Hasan Minhaj has made the most out of Netflix’s budget, surrounding himself in screens. He also releases weekly youtube videos where he answers audience questions, many of which refer back to his infamous wild hand movements. He’s taken on Indian politics when his family urged him not to and Saudi Arabia even when they banned his episode. He’s making enemies and having a good time doing it. Isn’t that the essence of chaos? 

15/10 — John Oliver

John Oliver is what happens when you take someone with zero f*cks and give him, as he calls it, “that dragon money.” Yes, Oliver is the host of HBO’s weekly Last Week Tonight and does the chaotic most. This includes starting up a fake church that meets legit church standards only to have to shut it down when several people sent him semen, buying Russel Crowe’s jockstrap from Cinderella Man and donating it to Alaska’s last blockbuster (only to have Russel Crowe in turn name an australian koala chlamydia ward after him), creating a hat that read Make Donald Drumpf Again after learning that was Trump’s true historic name and selling them at cost (“a fact that will probably irritate Mr. Drumpf more than anything else I’ve said tonight”), and buying up five wax president statues (as opposed to other late night hosts who bought one because “We’re five times stupider, that’s why”) and creating an action movie trailer for the statue of Warren G Harding, just to name a few instances. John Oliver is someone who doesn’t halfass anything, and he’s committed to being the strangest late night host out there.

I know I left a few out, but even I can’t keep up with every single one. However, keeping up to date on just one late night show can help you stay current on the major headlines, even when you can’t stomach our society. All you’ve got to do now is decide what level of chaos you want added to your chaotic news.

Skyler Kane

Hamline '20

Creative Writing Major, Campus Coordinator for Her Campus, and former Editor and Chief for Fulcrum Journal at Hamline University