Late-night television is undergoing massive changes between Trevor Noah and James Corden‘s exits from their respective shows. But even amid the changes to the format’s landscape, late-night shows keep us entertained and educated all year long, and 2022 had its share of memorable moments.
We know the longtime staple shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and more, but networks have been expanding their late-night offerings to bring true cultural gems like Ziwe to the forefront.
Here, we list our favorite late-night interviews of 2022, from specialty segments and games to the more hard-hitting and educational topics, in no particular order.
1. Jimmy Kimmel Apologizes to Quinta Brunson for Emmys Controversy
Jimmy Kimmel committed to his Emmys bit for far too long when Quinta Brunson gave her speech for her first-ever Emmys win. The host received backlash on social media for the interruption, with critiques saying he should’ve gotten up off of the floor before Brunson got on stage. It was less than a week later when Kimmel hosted Brunson on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to apologize to the Abbott Elementary star. Brunson took the opportunity to share that Kimmel’s bit didn’t detract from her “great night.”
2. Wanda Sykes on The Amber Ruffin Show
Amber Ruffin and Wanda Sykes are a comedy match made in heaven. We could watch them riff about any topic, any time, or day. Ruffin has a talent for asking nuanced questions many wouldn’t think of, making for standout responses from all of her guests on The Amber Ruffin Show. Her chat with Broadway star Jaquel Spivey (A Strange Loop, soon to play Damien in the Mean Girls movie musical) is another highlight, along with chats with Queen Latifah and Cynthia Erivo.
3. Amy Poehler on Late Night With Seth Meyers
Watching Amy Poehler on Late Night With Seth Meyers rarely has anything to do with what she’s promoting. Watching the Saturday Night Live Weekend Update alums improvise (it seems like improv, anyway) is always great fun. Thanks to their close friendship, these interviews always feel like you’re also hanging out with your dear friend Amy. And it’s a blast.
4. Lizzo Day Drinking with Seth Meyers
Seth Meyers‘ “Day Drinking” segments are always hilarious, but the newly released edition with Lizzo is top-tier. Come for the cheesy joke games, and stay for how drunk and bubbly the singer and host are by the end, which also features a cameo from Paul Rudd. At least, that’s who Lizzo thought she was seeing.
5. Trevor Noah and Burna Boy on The Daily Show
Noah has hosted African musician Burna Boy on The Daily Show before, but this one was full of laughs, starting with Burna Boy pressing Noah about why he never offers him a stiff drink when he gets on stage. Noah’s musician interviews are some of his best from his seven-season run on The Daily Show. The series also included his chats with the artist in its roundup of the host’s best musician interviews over the years.
6. Stephen Colbert Interviews Nobel Peace Prize Winner Maria Ressa
There are some late-night shows that primarily stick to lighthearted fun, but The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (among others) always has blended fun with seriousness. Stephen Colbert‘s interview with Filipino and American journalist Maria Ressa is one of those educational moments. Ressa is the co-founder and CEO of Rappler, the Philippines’ top digital news site. She won a 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for her work defending freedom of speech and democracy. Her chat with Colbert is a fascinating and illuminating conversation on how social media purports an unwavering commitment to free speech but actually stifles that inalienable right for many of its users.
7. True Confessions with Millie Bobby Brown and Noah Schnapp on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Best friends and Stranger Things co-stars Millie Bobby Brown and Noah Schnapp played “True Confessions” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and it’s a boatload of laughs from start to finish. On Schnapp’s turn, Jimmy Fallon and Brown were convinced he was lying about DMing Shawn Mendes on Instagram. It truly felt fake! Turns out, it was absolutely true.
8. Patti LuPone and Cynthia Nixon on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen
This one is for theater lovers. Broadway legend Patti LuPone appeared on Andy Cohen‘s Watch What Happens Live earlier this year with Cynthia Nixon. Among the several segments of the interview was a game of “Which Broad-Way Do You Lean,” during which she was given two actors and a show and had to choose who she’d cast in the role. Those who know LuPone’s torrid history with Andrew Lloyd Webber will get a kick out of questions that referenced their former feud. And as she’s long proven, LuPone will always back up her shade with receipts. Nixon’s “What about Patti LuPone?” interjections are perfectly timed every time.
9. Seth Meyers Interviews John Oliver
Who doesn’t love watching fellow late-night hosts interview each other? John Oliver is a frequent guest on Late Night With Seth Meyers, and his roast of the national mourning period following the death of Queen Elizabeth II is peak Oliver humor for the Brit.
10. Amber Riley Avoids Talking About Glee on Ziwe
No one puts a celebrity in the hot seat like Ziwe Fumudoh. The Showtime host immediately went for the jugular (the basis of her show’s format) when hosting Amber Riley on Ziwe, wasting no time asking The Masked Singer winner to talk about the racism allegations against former Glee co-star Lea Michele and other diversity issues. Her reaction was priceless, and her responses were comedically professional.
11. Hasan Minhaj Apologizes to Jeopardy! Fans on The Tonight Show
After “annoying” viewers during his appearance on Celebrity Jeopardy!, Hasan Minhaj issued an official “apology” to the Jeopardy! fan base on The Tonight Show, trolling them back just like they trolled him. Fallon gave TV Insider a shout-out while reading examples of the viewer’s reaction. And as Minhaj ribbed in response: “I want to take this moment to apologize. Jeopardy fans look at me; I’m sorry I desecrated an American institution. I’m sorry I ripped your 7 PM linear TV pacifier out of your geriatric mouth. And, most importantly, I’m sorry for trying to make Jeopardy fun.”
Honorable Mention: Paul Rudd Continues Conan Prank on Conan O’Brien’s Podcast
Rudd used to prank Conan O’Brien on Conan by playing the same clip from Mac and Me every time he was on the show to promote an actual project. Conan may be over, but Rudd found a way to continue the bit on O’Brien’s podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.