Late night talk shows are a huge source of comedy. The hosts all have a background in comedy, the writers are all primarily comedy writers, there are comedy guests, stand up performances, comedy sketches, and of course the monologues. This was a huge year for late night, with legendary hosts leaving, new hosts coming on board, and all kinds of shake ups in lineups. With the tenor of late night programming shifting uncomfortably to bar games, it’s important to celebrate the greatness, and there was plenty. There were last epic last nights, creative first nights, and some great moments in between. We picked our top ten.
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James Corden made a huge splash into the late night world with his first night guest, and opening segment star, Tom Hanks with Hanksology. It was an incredibly strong open to one of the best shows on late night today.
This was the real highlight of Jon Stewart’s final show as host of the Daily Show. Every single correspondent from the shows past came back to check in with Jon to say goodbye. It was the greatest way to show Jon’s legacy and his impact on the world of comedy as a whole.
As a tribute to Letterman’s last show on the air, Seth Meyers did something so classy and cool – he opened his show with a recreation of the intro to the original Letterman show on NBC. Seth paid homage to the show that shaped an entire generation of comedians and writers like no other before it.
It’s only fitting Bob Dylan ended up as the final musical performer for David Letterman. It’s also fitting it was one of the most bizarre performances you’ll ever see on late night. Wait for the end, it’s worth it.
The climate of late night is one that features fewer and fewer stand up performances, but stand up is as important to Late Night as the monologue. Gary Gulman’s hysterical set on Conan make the list may have been the best stand up set this year. Less celebrity beer pong, more great stand up please.
Conan O’Brien struck gold when he announced he was going to travel to Cuba and record a show there. It proved so popular, Conan hasn’t stopped traveling since.
Jimmy Kimmel came home to Brooklyn this past year and was welcomed back with open arms. He was also welcome to the Bronx Zoo by none other than Tracy Morgan.
Jon Oliver has had a stupendous year and his greatest moment could have been his attack on televangelist. We all know that there are plenty of scam artists out there, but Jon’s skewering of them showed how deep and insane they truly go.
No one knew how Trevor Noah was going to handle taking the helm of the Daily Show as the programs third host in its history. He came out of the gate as strong as possible by vowing to carry the torch for Jon Stewart.
Ever wanted to see best friends battle to the bitter end on national television? Well that’s what you got this year on @midnight when Oakerson and Soder battled for all the arbitrary points they could.