American Late Night Talk Shows

The late-night talk show format seems to be a popular show format on American television. The show usually begins with a monologue about important news of the day, followed by a comedic segment or a comedy sketch by the host, celebrity guest interviews, and a musical performance. The shows typically have their own house band and an announcer. This genre was introduced in 1948 by The Ed Sullivan Show was popularized in the 1960s by the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Now, there are a plethora of late night shows.

The most popular late night show in recent years has been The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC. I really like Jimmy Fallon, he is a very likable. What makes Jimmy’s show stand out from the other is probably the variety of games and performances Jimmy does with his guests. These games are great, it helps the audience to get to know the guests better in an entertaining way. I fell in love with many celebrities by watching this show e.g. Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Evans, and Ryan Reynolds. On the show, Jimmy also did “Slow Jam the News” with President Obama and impersonated Donald Trump in front of Donald Trump.

People have often compared The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC that airs in the same timeslot. To be honest I have never really enjoyed watching Jimmy Kimmel. I just don’t find him to be funny or entertaining. In my opinion, Jimmy Kimmel does not have the charisma that Jimmy Fallon has.

Another show that is in direct competition with this show is The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS. Stephen Colbert became the host of the show after David Letterman’s retirement in 2015. Moving from The Colbert Report, Stephen has continued to discuss political current events extensive on The Late Show. Stephen is very clever and witty, he can make jokes spontaneously throughout interviews with celebrity guests. The show does not need fun games because of Stephen’s ability to keep the conversation entertaining as well as being informative.

I also watch Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC, I enjoy Seth’s commentary on politics in A Closer Look segment. Another show worth mentioning is The Late Late Show with James Corden on CBS. The show is known for its Carpool Karaoke segment where James takes pop stars on a car ride and sing along to popular songs by the guest stars.

I really don’t understand why this show format is so popular in the US. I don’t find the format to be particularly appealing, we cannot count on the show to always be entertaining because the segments are always changing. Although, most people probably like the format because of its variety. In my opinion, the show depends a lot on the host to the make the interviews, sketches, or games entertaining. Moreover, the host must have the personality and talents that appeal to a wide range of audience.

I like watching bits and pieces of the shows but I don’t watch the whole show on a regular basis. I usually watch the episodes with the celebrities that I like. Although I have been exposed to American culture and entertainment for a long time, not having lived in the US, there are still a lot of jokes and references that I don’t understand and there are a lot of celebrities that I have never heard of before. Sometimes it can be a bit weird when the audience is laughing and I’m just sitting here all confused.


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