We’ve seen many beloved hosts come and go, move around, and trade places… mostly with each other. The transitions ranged from public beefs like Jay Leno and David Letterman to supportive hugs between Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, and who can forget Jay and Jimmy humorously passing the torch with their West Side Story spoof duet “Tonight, Tonight.” No matter how they went out or arrived, these funny men and women (represent, Chelsea Handler!) give us nightly laughs wind down with and an excuse to stay up late, eating a whole pack of ring dings (it doesn’t count if it’s that late, amiright?).
In honor of recent and major changes in late night — Stephen Colbert’s new role as the host of The Late Show as Letterman retires and Jimmy Fallon stepping up for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show — we remember some of the most iconic moments these leading men and women have brought us over the past decade.
10. Seth Meyers The Kanye West Interview (2014)
Taking a huge leap from the SNL to the Late Night stage, Seth Meyers has only been a host for a few short months, but we give him major props for interviewing arguably the biggest ball buster in entertainment on only his second night. Meyers didn’t let the infamous tough and (overly) serious exterior of Kanye West get to him and even cracked some jokes about the artist. When commenting on West’s recent return to the studio after the birth of his baby girl, North, Meyers asked: “Are you the new Wiggles?” He even got Kanye to smile! Bravo! Kanye’s awesome performance of his greatest hits medley sealed the deal.
9. Craig Ferguson CAN CAN Dancing (2011)
When in Paris…or LA! Craig Ferguson was so excited about naked ladies who danced at the famous Moulin Rouge after his Paris visit, that he had them open an episode of The Late Late Show when they were in the states…Yes, they were clothed! Ferguson you dirty little man! We love you for it.
8. Conan O’Brien Will Farrell Reveals Anchorman 2 (2012)
Rob Burgundy took the trip from classy San Diego up to Burbank to announce the Anchor Man sequel while crashing Conan. The interaction between the two was priceless. Our favorite is when Ron ruthlessly makes fun of Conan: “Conan, you look awful!” Conan’s response? To laugh his ass off, just like we did. Big film reveal with a side of insult. Perfect!
7. Chelsea Handler Sofia Vergara “Feuds” With Chelsea (2013)
These two funny ladies absolutely killed it in their “feud” on Chelsea Lately last year. We know it was all in good fun, but the insults from Sofia’s accent to Chelsea’s fake hair were hilariously spot on and amazing. This segment had some competition with other moments on the show like Chelsea awkwardly addressing her relationship with 50 Cent and Cameron Diaz’s pro pubic hair interview, but this skit made us appreciate these hilarious ladies and their willingness to break up the Hollywood stiffness and have fun. Seriously, can we hang out with them? “You Columbian bitch!”
6. Jimmy Kimmel All Of The YouTube Challenges
After 3 years, Jimmy Kimmel’s YouTube Challenge has become famous in the late night game. From “I Told My Kid I Ate All Their Halloween Candy” to “I Gave My Kids a Terrible Present,” these hilarious videos never disappoint in cracking us up and showcasing some of America’s gems. Which one is your favorite?
5. David Letterman Justin Bieber Brawls With David On Late Night (2012)
Did David Letterman make Justin Bieber cry? Kid could use some toughening up anyway… The veteran Late Show host had multiple interviews with the teen pop star, one more awkward than the next, and we couldn’t help pulling up a chair to watch it all go down. In 2011, Letterman gave Bieber a geography quiz that he completely tanked. Letterman busted his chops just a little bit in what was only a preview for a later interview in 2012 when the two got in a physical brawl over Bieber’s newest ink and the star even fired at the host calling him “grandpa.” The interaction was friendly yet awkward and we couldn’t look away. We love Letterman’s chops for giving Bieber a little bit of hell. Go, David! And your precious gapped teeth, too.
4. Jay Leno Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Political Announcement (2003)
Surprise! An actor with no political experience whatsoever? Go for it! Some may blame the years of drama in Hollywood to cause the star’s sudden announcement of his governor candidacy on The Tonight Show, but one thing is for certain- it got every person talking and news organization stirring. An interview on Jay’s couch quickly became a piece of history.
3. Stephen Colbert Daft Punk’d (2013)
After Daft Punk famously cancelled their performance on The Colbert Report last minute this passed summer, the soon-to-be Late Show host took matters into his own hands, not only by telling the band off, but by giving us an episode we would never forget. One of the episodes, coined as “Stephest Colbchella“ shined as Colbert rocked out to the summer smash “Get Lucky” with some of Hollywood’s greatest A-list pals including Matt Damon and fellow host Jimmy Fallon. Told them! We hope he pulls more stunts like this when he takes on his new hosting role next year, because this was just phenomenal.
2. Jimmy Fallon The History of Rap With Justin Timberlake (2010)
Back in 2010, the two hilarious buds and dynamic duo brought us a late night novelty, all started by the classic tune, “Rapper’s Delight” on Late Night. From Snoop Dogg to Salt-N-Pepa, Busta Rhymes to Jay-Z, these hilarious tributes will not only bring us endless nostalgia, but make us take our hats off to Jimmy as a rapper and performer. He definitely brings it every time. Watch out, Kayne… The tradition lived on, as History of Rap Part 5 closed out Fallon’s first week as host of The Tonight Show this year. Keep ‘em coming, guys!
1. Jon Stewart 9/11 Monologue (2001)
Just days after September 11th, 2001, resident New Yorker Jon Stewart opened his normally comedic show with a monologue so touching, he cried. Because of his raw emotion and genuine tone, it’s almost impossible to watch this clip and not get chills. 12 years later, in honor of the Freedom Tower beating out Chicago’s Willis Tower for tallest in the country, Stewart further boasts about his city the best way he knows how… defending NYC pizza. From serious to hilarious, Stewart’s pride for his city is unmatched. We <3 Jon Stewart.