Sunday, 3 July 2011

Poll Result: who is your favourite chat show host?

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Last week I asked you to name your favourite chat show host, and the results are now in! There were 51 votes and here's the outcome:

Alan Carr (above-right), Chelsea Lately, Jimmy Fallon (above-left), Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno, Larry King, Craig Kilborn & Paul O'Grady.

Alan Titchmarsh* (2.50%) for his daytime ITV chat show.

6th – David Letterman, Ellen DeGeneres,
Piers Morgan & Stephen Colbert (2.56%)
A surprisingly low entry for David Letterman, who's one of the big-name US chat show hosts; a surprise show of support for Ellen DeGeneres (one of very few female chat show hosts); a slightly disappointing show of love for Stephen Colbert (the fact his show's not airing in the UK may be to blame); and a nod for Britain's own Piers Morgan now he's taken over from Larry King on CNN. (Americans still haven't realized he's an oily, sycophantic rat.)

5th – Conan O'Brien (5.13%)
In many ways more famous for the furor over his Tonight Show stint, which saw him replaced by his own predecessor, Jay Leno, after they both flopped in their new roles. Conan's always been the hipper alternative to the likes of Letterman and Leno, and it's no surprise he's popular in the UK because his style's perhaps closest to that of British chat show hosts. Still, his new TBS show isn't available to UK audience, which perhaps hampered his position in this poll

4th – Jon Stewart (7.69%)
More a satirical comedian and presenter than a chat show host, if we're honest, but The Daily Show has been a cult hit in the UK for a few years now—although that era was dealt a blow recently, when More4 stopped airing it.

3rd - Jonathan Ross (20.51%)
Like Conan, perhaps more famous for behind-the-scenes turmoil just lately (after his radio scandal with Russell Brand), but Ross has been chatting with the rich and famous for over 20 years to great acclaim in the UK. His recent show Friday Night was a highlight of the TV week (particularly in the mid-'00s), as his flippant and saucy attitude often charmed and astonished those on his sofa—particularly American stars, who were often visibly  amazed at how risqué and unrehearsed the conversation could get. It's just a shame Ross slowly became a parody of himself in later years (often overstepping the line and just becoming embarrassing), before the BBC effectively neutered him after his radio prank backlash.

2nd - Craig Ferguson (25.64%)
A very surprising entry, to me! Craig Ferguson's a very interesting case—as he's essentially found a way to bring some of his British-born wit and attitude to the strict format of the venerable US chat show. It's perhaps not surprising he has a strong British following, given his Scottish roots, and perhaps Americans appreciate his irreverence because it's in some way refreshing?

1st – Graham Norton (28.21%)
The clear winner was Graham Norton, who's on something of a roll just now with his Friday night chat show, which recently won a BAFTA. It also helps that his show gets aired in the US on BBC America, only a few weeks behind the UK broadcast. Norton's never quite managed to better his Channel 4 series So Graham Norton, which was considerably more rude and daring, but his BBC show has started to find a good balance just lately. In particular, the format of having three guests on together (usually a big US star, a UK star, and a comedian) has been a real masterstroke. The four-way conversation works surprisingly well and can be very entertaining if the dynamic is right between the celebs, and the ensemble feel to the chat is like a breathe of fresh air in chat show terms. It also helps that the guests are apparently plied with booze beforehand, so everyone's very relaxed and often more daring with their anecdotes. Norton himself is an acquire taste perhaps, but his impish good humour works well to assure guests they're in safe hands, assured of a good time, and can perhaps go that extra mile.