The GRAMMYs' Favorite Late-Night Talk Show Hosts

A historical look at the late-night talk show hosts who have scored GRAMMY wins and nominations
  • Photo: Dan MacMedan/
    Stephen Colbert
  • Photo: Nathaniel Chadwick/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
    Jimmy Fallon
  • Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
    Kathy Griffin
  • Photo: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
    Magic Johnson
  • Photo: Dave Bjerke/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
    George Lopez
  • Photo: Time Life Pictures/DMI/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
    Whoopi Goldberg
  • Photo: Chris Polk/FilmMagic
    Bill Maher
  • Photo: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
    Joan Rivers
  • Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
    Steve Allen
  • Photo: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
    Doc Severinsen and The Tonight Show Band
April 23, 2014 -- 12:13 pm PDT
By Paul Grein /

When Stephen Colbert takes over CBS' "Late Show" franchise next year, it will mark the first time that the hosts of the two leading late-night talk shows are both been GRAMMY winners.

Colbert, who has hosted Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" since 2005, has won two GRAMMYs. A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift Of All! took the 2009 award for Best Comedy Album. America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't won Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling) earlier this year at the 56th GRAMMY Awards. (Henceforth, we'll just call it Best Spoken Word Album.)

Jimmy Fallon, who has hosted "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" since Feb. 17, won the 2012 award for Best Comedy Album for Blow Your Pants Off. He was then in the midst of a five-year run as host of NBC's "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon."

These aren't the only GRAMMY winners in late night. Jon Stewart, who has hosted Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" since 1999, has (like his protégé, Colbert) won two GRAMMYs. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents … America: A Citizen's Guide To Democracy Inaction took the 2004 award for Best Comedy Album. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Audiobook) took the 2010 award for Best Spoken Word Album.

Three other hosts of current late-night talk shows have received GRAMMY nominations over the years, though they have yet to win.

Bill Maher, who has hosted HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher" since 2003, has received two nominations for Best Spoken Word Album, for When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden (2003) and New Rules — Polite Musings From A Timid Observer (2006). 

Craig Ferguson, who has hosted CBS's "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" since 2005, has also received two nominations. American On Purpose received a 2010 nomination for Best Spoken Word Album. I'm Here To Help was nominated in January for Best Comedy Album.

David Steinberg, who has hosted Showtime's "Inside Comedy" since 2012, received a 1974 nomination for Best Comedy Recording for Booga! Booga!

Of the scores of late-night talk shows that are no longer on the air, five were hosted by personalities who have won GRAMMYs.

Kathy Griffin, who hosted Bravo's "Kathy" in 2012-2013, won Best Comedy Album in January with Calm Down Gurrl.

Magic Johnson, who hosted the syndicated "The Magic Hour" in 1998, took the 1992 award for Best Spoken Word Album for What You Can Do To Avoid AIDS.

Whoopi Goldberg, who hosted the syndicated "The Whoopi Goldberg Show" in 1992–1993, took the 1985 award for Best Comedy Recording for Whoopi Goldberg — Original Broadway Show Recording.

Les Crane, who hosted ABC's "The Les Crane Show" in 1964–1965, took the 1971 award for Best Spoken Word Recording for his Top 10 hit "Desiderata."

Steve Allen, who was the original host of "The Tonight Show" from 1954 to 1957 and hosted the syndicated "The Steve Allen Show" from 1962–1964, won the 1963 award for Best Original Jazz Composition for "Gravy Waltz," which he composed with Ray Brown.

Many more hosts of defunct late-night talk shows received GRAMMY nominations but have yet to win. Among them:

George Lopez, who hosted TBS's "Lopez Tonight" from 2009 to 2011, has received three nominations for Best Comedy Album: Team Leader (2003), America's Mexican (2007) and Tall, Dark & Chicano (2009).

Mo'Nique, who hosted BET's "The Mo'Nique Show" from 2009 to 2011, received a 2001 nomination for Best Spoken Comedy Album for The Queens Of Comedy, which she recorded with Miss Laura Hayes, Adele Givens and Sommore.

Dennis Miller, who hosted the syndicated "The Dennis Miller Show" in 1992 and HBO's "Dennis Miller Live" from 1994 to 2002, has been nominated three times for Best Spoken Comedy Album, for three like-titled albums: The Rants (1996), I Rant, Therefore I Am (2000) and The Rant Zone (2002).

Chevy Chase, who hosted Fox's "The Chevy Chase Show" in 1993, received a 1977 nomination for Best Comedy Recording (as a cast member on NBC's "Saturday Night Live") for Saturday Night Live.

Rick Dees, who hosted ABC's "Into The Night With Rick Dees" in 1990–1991, received a 1984 nomination for Best Comedy Recording for Hurt Me Baby — Make Me Write Bad Checks!

Joan Rivers, who was a frequent guest host on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" in the early 1980s and hosted Fox's "The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers" in 1986–1987, received a 1983 nomination for Best Comedy Recording for What Becomes A Semi-Legend Most?

Martin Mull, who hosted the syndicated talk show parodies "Fernwood 2 Night" (1977) and "America 2-Night" (1978), received a 1978 nomination for Best Comedy Recording for Sex And Violins.

Dick Cavett, who hosted ABC's "The Dick Cavett Show" from 1968 to 1974 and hosted a revival of the show in 1986, received a 1985 nomination for Best Spoken Word Recording for The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn.

Bill Dana, who hosted United Networks' "The Las Vegas Show" in 1967, received a 1961 nomination for Best Comedy Performance for Jose Jimenez The Astronaut.

Mort Sahl, who was a frequent guest host on "The Tonight Show" in the interim between Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, received back-to-back nominations for Best Comedy Performance, for The Future Lies Ahead (1958) and Look Forward In Anger (1959).

Ernie Kovacs, who hosted "The Ernie Kovacs Show" for the DuMont network in 1954–1955, received a posthumous 1977 nomination for Best Comedy Recording for The Ernie Kovacs Album. (Kovacs died in 1962.)

Johnny Carson, considered by many to be the quintessential late-night host, never received a GRAMMY nomination, but his announcer, Ed McMahon, did. McMahon received a 1981 nomination for Best Spoken Word Recording for "'Twas The Night Before Christmas."

The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen won a 1986 GRAMMY for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big Band for an eponymous album. Severinsen led the band from 1967 to 1992, when Carson retired.

(Paul Grein, a veteran journalist and music historian, writes frequently for Yahoo Music. His Chart Watch blog runs each Wednesday.)

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