Monday, 27 June 2011

Poll: who is your favourite chat show host?

Monday, 27 June 2011

This week, I want to know who your favourite chat show host is. The only stipulation is they need to have fronted a chat show within the past two years, so you can't choose past masters like Michael Parkinson or Johnny Carson.

I've prepared a list below that covers most of the major chat show hosts in the UK and US. You can choose ONE from my list, or vote for your own as the "other" vote. (And yes, I've included Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, even though their shows only include a chat show element, because I know they'll be popular.)

To stoke discussion in the comments: what actually makes a good chat show host? Do you like the serious approach of a Piers Morgan or his predecessor Larry King, or do you prefer the playfulness of Graham Norton and Paul O'Grady? Do comedians make the best chat show hosts, or journalists? Why are there so few female hosts? Do you think the US have this format down to a fine art, or do you think the likes of Letterman and Leno stagnated long ago?

It seems to me that most US chat shows are very rehearsed (rarely are a guest's anecdotes impromptu), whereas British chat shows seem to ply the guests with booze and have fun. I've lost count of the amount of times a big American guest looks genuinely delighted by the lack of restrictions placed on them during their UK appearances—and not just in terms of our relaxed attitude to profanity. They can honestly kick back and have a laugh, assured that the host will find time to plug their wares, and they'll come across as likeable human beings in the process. Is that fair to say?

Also, do any Americans here watch Graham Norton on BBC America? If so, what are your thoughts on that show and the difference in style between someone like Norton and someone like, say, Jimmy Fallon?

Vote below!

This poll will close on 1 July. The results will be made available here shortly after. To ensure good results, it would be helpful if you could help this poll go viral using Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Google+1, etc. This is a direct link to the poll itself.