When Seth Meyers became the fourth host of NBC’s Late Night franchise in February 2014, it became suddenly apparent that some of the funniest late night hosts in the history of the medium got their start on that 12:30 a.m. show.
David Letterman, who retires from late night altogether later this year, made his mark on Late Night in the 1980s and 90s before moving to CBS. He was replaced by Conan O’Brien, a host with little to no experience in front of the camera, but with a strong television and writing production background. No one thought he would last more than a few weeks. His run lasted longer than a decade.
Jimmy Fallon came after Conan and surprised many viewers with his interviewing skills and mastery over the comedic and musical sketch – honed after years on Saturday Night Live. Fallon’s replacement came from the same show (as did Conan), and the untested Meyers is doing just fine, thank you very much.
All four hosts brought their special sense of the humor to the ever evolving show. Here are some of our favorite funny quotes from those four hosts.
David Letterman, host from 1982 to 1993
I had no idea this thing was televised. Boy, is my face red.
If it weren’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever.
USA Today has come out with a new survey: Apparently three out of four people make up 75 percent of the population.
I’m just trying to make a smudge on the collective unconscious.
What the hell’s the date, Paul?
Conan O’Brien, host from 1993 to 2009
When all else fails there’s always delusion.
A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills than men. I just want to say to the authors of that study: ‘Duh.’
In Cleveland there is legislation moving forward to ban people from wearing pants that fit too low. However, there is lots of opposition from the plumber’ union.
It’s a good thing I was born in this century, when superfluous television seems to be part of the economy.
Jimmy Fallon, host from 2009 to 2014
Thank you… motion sensor hand towel machine. You never work, so I just end up looking like I’m waving hello to a wall robot.
The one thing you shouldn’t do is try to tell a cab driver how to get somewhere.
Thank you… fantasy football draft, for letting me know that even in my fantasies, I am bad at sports.
Don’t keep reaching for the stars because you’ll just look like an idiot stretching that way for no reason.
Thank you, horseradish, for being neither a radish nor a horse. What you are is a liar food.
Seth Meyers, host from 2014 to present
I’m a terrible grocery shopper. I hardly ever do it. And if I do, there’s never more than three things in the bag.
I love cheese plates. Though I actually hate cheese plates. Because I can’t say no to them.
The nice thing about anger is that, as an emotion, it’s strong enough to unplug me from the comedian’s mind for a minute and just be a frustrated member of the citizenry.
Once you get past funny, my other qualities are so below average. It’s not like I’m handy.