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The Eight Best Things About Late Night TV Right Now

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 23rd 2010 5:00PM
LettermanI know that I should go to bed earlier than I do. As you get older, you become more of a morning person, I think. I shouldn't be staying up until 1AM when I have to get up at 6AM. Having said that, I find myself staying up late and watching the late night talk shows and surfing around to see what's on the cable channels.

Here are my picks for the eight best things about late night TV right now. The stuff to watch with a bag of Doritos in one hand and the remote in the other.

1. Letterman's desk chat.
This is the ten or fifteen minutes that starts after the first commercial break. It's Dave being his most Dave-est, when he just talks to the audience and to the camera and banters with Paul, usually telling a story about something that happened to him (such as that recent scandal) or going on a riff about something that irritates him. It's also the part of 'The Late Show' where we see some of the best comedy bits: on-the-street shenanigans, interaction with the audience, Stupid Pet Tricks, Lyle the Intern, visits with Rupert, Jay Thomas and his Lone Ranger story. This is the best part of the show.

TCM2. Whatever is on TCM. Seriously, isn't it just great to have a channel like Turner Classic Movies? They show great stuff all the time, but it's always great to flip on over (if pressing a remote button can be called "flipping on over") to see what film noir, drama, classic comedy, or funky film documentary they're showing.

Of all the channels, network or cable, I think I'd miss TCM the most if it suddenly went away.

3. Colbert and Stewart. This is a no-brainer, right? 'The Daily Show' and 'The Colbert Report' would probably be on anyone's list of must-see late night shows. Somehow, someway, they both remain damn funny after all these years.

Besides, whatever is happening on these shows is probably something that's going to be talked about a lot online the next day, so you better watch them.

4. Kimmel's monologue. I think Jimmy Kimmel does the best monologue in late night, because he does it differently than everyone else. It's not just joke, joke, joke, joke. Kimmel shows TV news bloopers, banters with his uncle and Guillermo, shows little sketches and commercial spoofs, dumps on celebrities, has special filmed message from the cast of 'Lost,' etc. Leno might have more jokes per minute, but Kimmel's monologue is funnier and takes more chances.

5. Fallon's thank you notes. Oh, I love this regular Friday night feature. Fallon just writes thank you notes to various people, places, and things, accompanied by a simple piano melody. Every one that I've seen has been funny, and it's just a nice, clever bit to end the week on.

6. 'Charlie Rose'/'Red Eye.' This this is probably the only time you'll see the FOX News funny news show listed with the serious PBS talk show, but they both dissect the issues of the day, just in completely different ways.

I picked 'Red Eye' as a Show You Should Be Watching several months ago, and Charlie Rose...well, it's just great to have a news show where it's just two people talking calmly about something and not yelling at an opponent.

Poker After Dark7. 'Poker After Dark.' How late is this on? It's on NBC after 'Last Call with Carson Daly,' which means the only people watching it are probably people with insomnia, people who crave poker 24/7, or people named Daniel Negraneu.

Needless to say, you have to like poker to like it, but if you do you'll see a more casual cash game being played by the top players. Note: I say it's casual, but there also seems to be a lot of arguments too.

8. Repeats on cable. I'm talking about all of the shows you missed a few hours earlier in prime time. Isn't it convenient that a lot of the cable channels repeat the prime time lineup after midnight? So if you missed 'Unwrapped' or 'Real Housewives' or 'Attack of the Show' or 'South Park' or 'Modern Marvels' earlier in the night and didn't record them (or you just find yourself surfing around), you can catch them then.

What do you find yourself watching late at night?

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No Craig Ferguson? You have got to be kidding. I've got one thing to say about that....Balls.

July 26 2011 at 10:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rick Lane

Red Eye is the best show on late night! It has some of the good looking girls, almost every night. I've seen all the other late night show and they don't compare to Fox News' Red Eye.

June 11 2011 at 4:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patty Latham

Craig Ferguson - THE best, no question. Even when he has an off night (not very (ooh, la, la) often), he's better than everyone and everything else you mentioned!

April 30 2010 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dave, all the way. Intelligent, funny, sharp-witted, dead-on comments about current events. Aside from Dave's "scandal" from which he appears to have emerged with little damage due to his frankness and honesty, Dave is a kind and decent guy who knows how to hilariously prick the balloons of the hypocrites, dummies, etc., in public life. His chats are great and the monologue has really improved in recent months. he does good interviews, too! Right on target, Dave!

April 30 2010 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree Craig has to have the best show on late night. His is the only show I make a point to watch when i'm looking for some great fun.

April 30 2010 at 8:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jordan Beard

Yep, I agree with most of the other posters, Craig Ferguson really deserves a mention, his show is great! Especially since he got Jeff, his Robot Skeleton Sidekick, who manages to add even more laughs per night. It's a really hilarious show

April 25 2010 at 12:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thank you for mentioning Lyle the Intern and also for excluding that terrible hack Ferguson. Subtract the actual comedy from all other talk shows, add an accent, and then you got this late night black hole. How did the dead weight from The Drew Carey Show get this gig? Why not Cody from Step by Step?

April 24 2010 at 9:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Chelsea Lately at 11pm. Her first 10 minutes with the panel are terrific and nothing is off-limits.
The Joy Behar Show (re-run) at midnight. Finally, away from The View she can be as sarcastic and liberal as possible.
I love being up late at night.

April 24 2010 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Holtzinger

Have to agree, repeats on cable are great. Being on the west coast the typical 10:00 pm show starts at 7 pm (I have DishTV) so no choice needs to be made between network prime time and cable prime time. But if there are too many cable shows starting at 7 pm I can usually dvr the show later on in the week. I wish the broadcast networks would repeat their shows either during late night or weekends. It would be easier to catch everything I want to see. Also hats off to Craig Ferguson....he got a Peabody you know.

April 24 2010 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

c'mon...anyone who has hosted an entire show with puppets, has a robot sidekick deserves to be on this list

Craig Ferguson FTW!!

April 24 2010 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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