Unforgettable Late-Night Talk Show Moments

Sometimes the best way to wind down after a long day is to watch some TV, particularly late-night talk shows. From their tell-all celebrity interviews to their quirky skits and chaotic games, these shows can be entertaining and addicting.

When talk show guests become unpredictable, however, that’s when the real entertainment begins. Here’s a look at some of the wildest, most wonderful moments that have ever occurred on late-night TV.

Johnny Carson and Zsa Zsa Gabor play a fun twister game


It was in the 60’s when American socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor played with The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson a series of board games. Quite unusual to see in talk shows where the host and guest mostly just sit, the two hooked even more audience when they played a game of Twister!

Suffice to say, this was peak entertainment shown in national TV – with a majority even claiming that Carson and Gabor boosted Twister sales that week!

David Letterman almost got kicked in the head

Vee Infuso/Youtube

The moment when everyone held their breaths watching late night talk shows! In an episode of Late Night with David Letterman, Back To The Future star Crispin Glover gave the audience – and the host – a night to remember.

As if walking in with wig and glasses wasn’t enough, the actor kept rambling and at one point, got up and did a series of kicks, almost hitting Letterman at the face!

A tipsy night with the cast of Cheers

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

It was the end of a decade for the hit TV Show Cheers in 1993. The show ran for 11 seasons – a rare length for series nowadays. After the last episode, the cast was scheduled for a live interview with late night talk show host Jay Leno. Only, before the interview started, the cast already drank a couple of shots!

Of course, the interview ended up being a bit chaotic, but one filled with laughs from everyone.

Madonna’s flirtatious charm


It’s always the unexpected that makes up for the most entertaining watch. Host Johnny Carson thought it was just the usual interview, having the then rising pop star singer Madonna as his guest to promote her upcoming tour. Little did he know what was in stall for him!

Madonna turned on the charm that night and it was obvious to the audiences that Johnny Carson was beyond smitten with Madonna.

A case of laughs for Bradley Cooper and Jimmy Fallon

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

As late night talk shows are all about having a good time, the ones interviews also can’t help but get caught up in the moment… like that one time when actor Bradley Cooper guested in The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The two wore visors and wigs and they can’t stop laughing at how ridiculous the other looked.

Jason Sehorn sets the bar for proposals

Patti Pennington/Pinterest

It’s always A-level when it comes to marriage proposals in Hollywood. American football quarterback Jason Sehorn struck a deal with Jay Leno, reserving enough air time in The Tonight Show to propose to his girlfriend, actress Angie Harmon.

The interview was a whole ruse too – Leno managed to keep Harmon unsuspecting until it was Sehorn’s cue to take the stage.

Joplin and Cavett’s perfect chemistry


Back then, edgy rocker Janis Joplin wasn’t someone who you would expect mingling with hosts like Dick Cavett, who is known for being calm and witty. When the singer guested on The Dick Cavett Show back in the 70s, everyone was just entertained with their unexpectedly working dynamic and witty banters.

This undeniably good chemistry even led to Joplin’s numerous guest follow-throughs in the show!

Donna Summers’ women empowerment take


Talk about women empowerment! Singer-songwriter Donna Summer once guested in The Tonight Show which was hosted then by Johnny Carson.

Known for his bouts of off remarks, Carson made a rather sexist comment about Summers’ knack for fixing cars. This led to Summers taking the moment to encourage women that it’s alright to pursue non-traditional paths!

Cher’s iconic taste in fashion


Co-hosting talk shows were already a famous ruse done by talk shows back then. During the 80’s, pop singer Cher co-hosted The Mike Douglas Show, immediately engaging the viewers with her expected sense of fashion and back-to-back performances. The Goddess of Pop’s week-long stint truly revamped her image – helping her build a more dynamic career!

Susan Anton and her controversial start


In one of the many times that the Goldengirl movie star Susan Anton guested on The Merv Griffin Show, she revealed that her successful career back in the 60s actually started with a cigar commercial. Today, this is actually one of the hardest to believe, as cigarette or cigars are now banned to be sold on national television!

A battle between fathers and daughters


Literally a music to the ears! In a special appearance in The Dean Martin Show back in the 60’s, daughters of singers Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra appeared in the episode, and the four of them just performed a wonderful blend of “Do-re-mi” from the musical The Sound of Music.

The calm before the storm between future rivals


Today, Jay Leno and David Letterman are just among the well-known names always attached to Late Night Talk Shows. In this photo, one could not guess which one was the host, and which one was the guest!

Before all the rivalry, there was this moment of fun where the two just had a great time talking – with David Letterman as the talk host.

A piercing session from Harrison Ford

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

There are a lot of moments worth talking about in all of the late night talk show programs. One of them is when Star Wars legend Harrison Ford guested in the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show. What happened? Well, Ford gave Fallon an episode to remember… by piercing his ears!

Just a splash for Tom Hanks


Actor Tom Hanks probably had the most immersive experience in Conan when he guested in the show. After talking about his whale watching adventures, the production displayed a whale at the backdrop, and as Hanks was admiring it, the whale dove out, “splashing” water on Hanks… with host Conan O’Brien remaining dry.

Fortunate, Hanks rolled with the joke and even followed through to break the tense atmosphere!

Batgirl appearing on Merv Griffin’s show


It was the 60s, and seeing Batgirl talking on TV show was expectedly surprising for everyone. Batgirl actress Yvonne Craig brought the vigilante character with her on her guest talk at The Merv Griffin Show. Yes, she did not only wore her suit, she also didn’t break character as the superhero icon Batgirl throughout the interview!

Whitney Houston’s late night treat


The moment singing sensation Whitney Houston guested in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, everyone that watched just had a great time watching the smooth interview go well. Not only that, viewers got a treat too, listening to Houston sing two numbers in the show!

Kanye’s public apology

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Up until now, there are still sporadic talks about the time when singer Kanye West grabbed the microphone from a 20-year old Taylor Swift, right when the young singer was in the middle of giving her winning speech in the 2009 Video Music Awards.

Following that awkward moment, Kanye made a public apology to Taylor Swift during his guest appearance in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Moreover, the host was all for grilling the rapper!

Courageous Jay Leno impersonation

Jimmy Kimmel Live

Amidst all the back-and-forth between The Tonight Show hosts Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, host of the competing program, Jimmy Kimmel, dipped into the issue by impersonating Leno in his episode. The whole impersonation was to poke fun at Leno, going all out with the facial features, as well as Leno’s mannerisms while talking.

End of an era for Johnny Carson

Fantastic Facts/Google

It can’t be denied that host Johnny Carson was a staple in the late night talk shows – making it almost impossible to think of these talk shows without having his name brought up.

Carson’s last TV appearance was just as iconic as his 30 years of hosting – the former TV show host appeared on Late Show with David Letterman, the competing show of his previous program The Tonight Show.


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