RANKED! Which Late-Night TV Hosts Do Virtual Shows the Best
The entertainment industry is very different right now; the production of movies and television shows have been shut down for months due to COVID-19. Despite this, late-night TV talk show hosts have continued to reach their viewers with low tech and laughter. Without their usual studio audience, bells, and whistles, some hosts are doing surprisingly well from the comfort of their own home. Others…eh. The circumstances are challenging—gone are applause signs and manipulative atmospheres, just silence and white voids. Let’s take a look at which virtual talk shows have been doing the best in quarantine (and no, Some Good News doesn’t count).
Cover Photo: CBS
9. Graham Norton
Under normal circumstances, The Graham Norton Show is the best talk show on television. Graham Norton himself is hilarious and his format feels organic; what’s better than a bunch of celebrities getting drunk and interacting on a couch? Madness and hilarity almost always ensue, without being overly scripted or anything that feels manipulative. All of that is gone in quarantine...oh how the mighty have fallen.
8. James Corden
The Late Late Show with James Corden might have the best set of any quarantine talk show. "Carpool Karaoke" may be gone but Corden's still finding a way to use music to his advantage. From Dua Lipa performing "Don't Start Now" with friends and Andrea Bocelli performing "Con Te Partirò" while quarantining in Italy, it's good stuff.
7. Seth Meyers
Late Night with Seth Meyers has always proven to be one of the more informative late-night talk shows; Meyers basically took what he did so well with Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update.” This hasn’t changed in quarantine. Laugh track or not, “A Closer Look” remains as witty and researched as ever (despite political opinion). Also, he’s brought back his version of “Weekend Update” with Amy Poehler which is a win in itself. The other stuff...eh?
Conan, for the most part, is still Conan. O’Brien still banters with Andy Richter and he still has quirky conversations with his guests. If there’s one thing Conan’s podcast has proven, it’s that he may not need an audience. The only thing that’s missing is the man's signature string-dancing.
5. Jimmy Kimmel
Let’s be honest, while Jimmy Kimmel Live has some strong segments, it’s not the strongest talk show on television. However, quarantine has been good for Kimmel. The host is much more relatable, endearing, and hilarious surrounded by his family. In addition to those warm moments, his interviews with Samuel L. Jackson and the cast of Modern Family have been more than memorable.
4. Jimmy Fallon
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon has gotten a lot of shit in recent years. Mostly it sometimes seems like Jimmy Fallon is a kiss-ass. The Tonight Show: At Home Edition sees Fallon more himself than ever and that’s when he’s at his best, just goofing around. With his wife behind the camera, kids running around, and his dog as the occasional guest, Fallon is killing quarantine. He’s embracing it. From the musical moments to trending hashtags, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will come out of this as popular as ever.
3. Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah is just good at talking. He’s an interesting guy. This is the main reason The Daily Social Distancing Show is able to still deliver its signature wit and dialogue without a studio audience. He’s also kept in touch with his correspondents and done video chats with some pretty important figures. Sometimes it feels like you can learn more watching The Daily Show than from the actual news and that hasn’t changed.
2. John Oliver
John Oliver had a kind of a rocky start in quarantine, but once he called out that white void and found his groove, it was off to the races. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is definitely a show with a monologue that feeds off laughter; without it, Oliver has to be even more tactful. And he has been, tracking down the most obscure things, whether that be the art of Brian Swords or catchy tunes about washing one's hands. He’s educated his audiences on all things 2020 in a way that warrants millions of views on YouTube per week.
1. Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show is just as funny as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. It’s also more heartfelt (making the interviews less cringey than in the Ed Sullivan Theater). The topical monologues are still fire and there’s also Colbert’s universal and important message: we’re in this together. While his show is admittedly left leaning (though Colbert himself is an independent), it feels more bi-partisan than most of the above. And that's important right now.