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Nine Fantastic Talk Show Guests

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 9th 2010 1:00PM
Tom HanksTonight, Tom Hanks will appear on the second episode of the new 'Conan.' Hanks is one of the all-time great talk show guests (and likely a favorite of hosts) because he doesn't do what most people do: simply plug their latest movie, TV show, CD or book.

Very few things on TV are more lame and uncomfortable than watching a talk show where the guest has very little to say and hasn't even planned anything to say or do in advance.

After the jump is my list of nine talk show guests you can count on to be funny, interesting, unpredictable -- and often all three. They're the talk show guests that are "must-see" for me.

1. Amy Sedaris. Not only is the lovely Miss Sedaris a great guest because she doesn't do a lot of TV interviews (unless she's promoting something, like her new book 'Simple Times: Crafts For Poor People'), she's the type of interviewee who doesn't just sit there and answer questions with a yes or no. She's very animated and funny and can pretty much talk to you about anything: her book, her movie, fashion, cooking, entertaining, her rabbit Dusty, the cheeseballs that she makes, and her imaginary boyfriend Ricky (now deceased).

She makes any talk show 90 percent more entertaining, but her appearances with David Letterman are especially must-see:

And heres Amy making cheeseballs with Martha Stewart:

2. Tina Fey. Those who know me might say that the only reason why I've listed Amy Sedaris at No. 1 and now Tina Fey at No. 2 is because I've been in love with both of them for years. That's completely untrue. I also think they're both really cute.

Fey has gone from head writer at 'Saturday Night Live' to a great on-screen comedienne (while continuing her great writing). Whenever she's on a talk show you know she's going to have a great story about '30 Rock' or a story about a ridiculous from her past or something funny/cute her husband or daughter did. Here she is on Letterman's show a few years ago:

3. Tom Hanks. Hanks seems like a truly nice guy, and he knows that his job on a talk show isn't just to plug his latest movie -- it's to say funny things and have a good story or two to tell, and he never disappoints. Here he is on 'The Late Show' (yes, Letterman again, but some of the great talk show moments really do happen on his show):

4. Penn & Teller. Hey, who doesn't like magic? These guys always bring the funny along with the wow factor, as we can see from this clip from 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.' (Bonus: Tom Jones!):

5. Brian Williams. Sure, Williams can go on a talk show and talk about current events, but he's also a really funny guy. He often pops up on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon' to slow-jam the news:

6. Betty White. Not only can White talk about the history of television -- she has been on the tube since the 1940s -- she's pretty much up for anything.

7. Martha Stewart. There's something automatically funny about a cooking segment on a talk show. They're usually a segment left for later in the show, when they might be running out of time, which can make for chuckle-inducing, chaotic TV.

8. Tracy Morgan. Remember that episode of '30 Rock' where Tracy Jordan goes on 'Late Night with Conan O'Brien and tries to stab Conan and then falls asleep? Not too different than Morgan's real-life talk show appearances:

9. Regis Philbin. Philbin is another guy who has been on television forever, and he knows how to be a talk show guest as well as a talk show host. And he's good at ranting!

Which talk show guests are a "must-see" for you?

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I always have to tune into any show that Jeff Goldblum shows up on. He always makes for a fun, interesting interview and he's kinda like Walken...you never know what he's going to say next. And did anybody see him dueting with Biz Markie on Fallon this week? GOLD!!!!

November 13 2010 at 2:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes, Martin Short. But, also Christopher Walken is a must-see. Cher, Madonna, Betty White, Martha Stewart and Jack Hanna on Letterman. The list could go on for a while. Patton Oswalt is good, too. And, after seeing Charlene Yi on Conan this week, she's my new must-see. Very funny girl!

November 12 2010 at 10:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Martin Short. He's always funny and he writes down stories so he has things to tell.

November 11 2010 at 8:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jean frank

Kristen Bell and William Shatner on Craig Ferguson! The first two I thought of when I saw this, you just never know what is going to happen or be said next. And that about defines Craig!

November 10 2010 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would have to add Nathan Fillion to that list. He always seems engaged in the conversation and present in the moment (if you know what I mean), and he usually has a good story to tell. The last time he was on Jimmy Kimmel he told a hilarious story involving him and one his "Castle" co-stars. I'll never look at butter the same way. LOL.
You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evOhQjzlFwE

November 10 2010 at 2:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

two of my favorite talk show guest favorites---lauren graham (seriously, the talk show hosts love her) and kate walsh

November 09 2010 at 9:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Betty White, Amy Sedaris, Kristen Bell, Rashida Jones, and Lauren Graham, preferably all on Craig Ferguson.

November 09 2010 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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