The smiles and laughter of Late Night TV have been staples of American culture for over sixty years. Recently, however, the familiar faces on some of the country’s most watched shows have been changing. Six hosts, each of whom have been in the business for over thirty years, have said goodnight to their audiences for the last time, and new hosts have taken over.
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (CC) – Premiering on September 28, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah started its run with soft ratings, just 3.5 million. He opened the show with a heartfelt thank you to his predecessor, Jon Stewart, and giving some background about himself. He conducted the broadcast in the similar Daily Show format, where he made fun of current events such as the Pope, Benghazi, Syria, and Mars. It was quite different seeing Noah in the chair and he has yet to develop his cadence and comfort in the anchor chair. Noah’s first segment went online one hour after airing and before it ever aired on the West Coast, which is something Stewart would have never permitted, but nobody online seemed to mind the spoiler.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC) – Jimmy Fallon has been a fan favorite with his likable, humble personality ever since viewers got to know him on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The Tonight Show is currently the number one late night show by audience, bringing a daily average of 3.5 million viewers per night. Fallon’s show is completely different from his predecessor, Jay Leno, who held the position for 19 years. The Tonight Show is upbeat thanks to the Roots, the studio’s band, and also the wild and crazy bits Fallon does with guests. While Fallon is best known for getting guests to do wacky stuff alongside him, that doesn’t make up for his lack of interviewing skills, often outrageously laughing at jokes that aren’t really funny.
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC) – ABC’s late night show has been around for over 12 years, and it’s definitely the most reserved out of all the 11:35 shows. Jimmy Kimmel is a very witty comedian who often uses taped bits throughout his show. Kimmel is most known for his mockery of the public, with segments like ‘LIE Witness News’ where he gets eyewitness accounts on stories that didn’t happen.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS) – Stephen Colbert had some big shoes to fill when he took over from the esteemed David Letterman on September 8, 2015. CBS has been happy so far with the results, which have been well-received by audiences and critically acclaimed. Colbert clearly has a hungry appetite for guests. He chooses to focus on the guests first, and puts his own bits to the number two slot. He has had a wide range of guests even in his first month, ranging from actors like George Clooney, to Apple CEO Tim Cook, to Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump. Colbert claims he is performing as himself, and not in character as he did on his previous show, The Colbert Report. People on social media have seemed pleased so far with Colbert’s efforts, although he still falls short of Fallon in the ratings, at #2.
Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC) – Seth Meyers got a promotion from Weekend Update and Head Writer at Saturday Night Live to hosting his own talk show. Meyers made a welcome and noticeable change after fans said he was not good at a stand-up monologue. He changed the monologue format to emulate SNL’s Weekend Update, having a graphic over his shoulder and staying seated at his desk. Meyers is phenomenal at interviewing guests, and is best at playing off characters. However, he seems to do the same bits so often that people often get turned off to the rest of the show because they think they are watching a rerun. Meyers’ bandleader and sidekick, Fred Armisen., plays music with the band well, but his banter with Meyers often seems a tad forced.
The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS) – The Late Late Show premiered in March of 2015, starring James Corden, whose strong strong musical abilities are the backbone of its appeal. He sings, dances, and even does a popular ‘Carpool Karaoke’ bit with famous performers. While his show heavily relies on pre-taped segments, many parts of the show get real attention the following morning when they start to trend on social media.