The Definitive Ranking of Late-Night Talk Show Hosts

The world of late-night talk shows seems to always be in transition. From David Letterman’s retirement, to Jimmy Fallon taking over The Tonight Show, there is always something going on after 11 p.m. In honor of the premiere of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, I would like to take a moment to create the definitive ranking of these charming comedians.

9. James Corden - The Late Late Show with James Corden

The new kid on the block, James Corden hasn’t had much time to prove himself as one of the greats yet. However, he has proven his potential with hilarious sketches such as “Dodgeball with One Direction.” Also, that British accent is always a plus.

8. John Oliver - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Also a newer face, John Oliver has made great strides since temporarily filling in for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Since the premiere of Last Week Tonight in 2014, Oliver has proven himself as one of the most important political comedians on television today. He has done well to fill the hole in our hearts caused by the departure of Jon Stewart from The Daily Show. For this, I am eternally grateful to John Oliver.

7. Conan O’Brien - Conan

Conan is one of the most classic late night comedians. This Harvard-educated redhead definitely knows how to make an audience laugh. After The Tonight Show controversy in 2010, Conan has certainly found his true place at Conan on TBS. See this hilarious clip of Conan interviewing players of “1864 baseball.”

6. Seth Meyers - Late Night with Seth Meyers

Although Seth is still missed on Weekend Update, he’s taken his talents to greater heights on Late Night. His signature Weekend Update style fits him well in his monologues, setting him apart from the rest of the late night TV crowd. He also gets extra points for frequently incorporating his SNL pals into his shows.

5. Stephen Colbert - The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, formerly The Colbert Report

Colbert was so unique on The Colbert Report, playing a comedic character every night while also creating smart political commentary. I’m still in denial that The Colbert Report is over, but luckily we won’t be totally Colbert-less. Colbert’s first week on The Late Show proved to be a successful beginning. Here’s to hoping he keeps it up!

4. Jon Stewart - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

I know - Jon Stewart is no longer on The Daily Show. I’m still mourning this fact, so he is included on this list anyway because his departure is recent enough and he deserves it. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was revolutionary. It changed the way people could learn about current events. A study by the Pew Research Study in 2007 showed that viewers of The Daily Show were the most highly informed on international affairs. What could be better than learning and laughing at the same time?

3. David Letterman - The Late Show with David Letterman

Also recently retired, I thought it would be disrespectful to not include Letterman on the list. He is legendary for late night TV, paving the way for so many to follow. His interviews were always my favorite to watch, because his bluntness and self-deprecation always made for a hilarious conversation. As he passes his torch to Colbert, I wish him the best in his retirement.

2. Jimmy Kimmel - Jimmy Kimmel Live!

It’s hard giving Kimmel a No. 2 spot, because his originality is definitely top notch. The level of excitement I feel when he reveals a new edition of “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets” is a little too high. Jimmy’s laid-back attitude and sarcastic comedic style is the recipe for the perfect late night talk show host. Also shout out to Jimmy for the “I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy” sketch. It will never get old, so please never stop doing it.

1. Jimmy Fallon - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon proved very early on in his career as a talk show host that he was born for the job. His adorable, happy-go-lucky personality will never fail to warm the hearts of Americans everywhere. His ability to create the most hilarious sketches with the most unlikely celebrities is enviable. After many Jimmy Fallon thank you notes, I now have one for you, Jimmy: Thank you, Jimmy Fallon, for your bromance with Justin Timberlake, the invention of the lip-sync battle, and for putting smiles on the faces of Americans every night.


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