Why Do Late-Night Hosts Grow Beards? (Looking At You, Jimmy Fallon)

Why Do Late-Night Hosts Grow Beards? (Looking At You, Jimmy Fallon)

Apparently, Late Night Beard is a hosting rite of passage.  That’s the only logical explanation for that patchy bristle Jimmy Fallon has been sporting lately, a “didn’t have time to trim” shambles that’s giving us real Evil Spock vibes. 

NBC News/Paramount

What plot is Evil Jimmy hatching now?

Is Late Night Beard working for Fallon?  Drew Barrymore says that it’s “so hot,” and the comic jokes that it’s causing “thirst” (and confusion) …

… while Gawker opines that Fallon’s foliage “looks like sh*t.”  Your mileage may vary, but what’s clear is that if one is a member of the after-dark comedy fraternity, Late Night Beard is requisite at some point in your career.  That doesn’t mean it works equally well for every James or Jimmy.  Let’s dive deeper into the brush for an evaluation.

Jimmy Kimmel

Jackhole Productions

Adam Carolla wishes he could grow this beard

Apex Late Night Beard.  The introduction of Kimmel’s face fuzz was essential to his morphing from Man Show shlub to slick Oscar host.  Suddenly, Kimmel had an actual chin, along with a newfound confident charisma.  Halle Berry gushed,You look so good in that beard...Really! You work it well.” The man will never shave again.  

Stephen Colbert

Spartina Productions

The Colbeard shows up like furry cicadas

The Colbeard has come and gone over the years, and Stephen himself seems gravely dubious of those whiskery strangers whenever they come to visit.  The fact that he’s clean-shaven now tells you how he feels about it.  Maybe his ambivalence is due to poll results like these, based on the 2018 version of his face:

Spartina Productions

The haters have spoken

Technically, YES, BEARD was the winner, but 63% of the vote was split between hate responses like THAT’S NOT A BEARD and SECURITY, STOP THAT HOBO!  

Conan O’Brien


A meeting of the comedy beards, with neither side declaring victory

Conan’s Late Night Beard was essentially a middle finger to his former overlords at NBC, a protest growth after ending his tenure at the network.  His new bosses at TBS demanded a shave before he started his new show in 2011, but “the next thing you know, we were taking publicity photos with the beard. And the next thing you know, we kept the beard.”  Conan knew he’d lose the face fungus eventually, predicting it would fall out due to lack of testosterone.   


James Corden

CBS Studios

A comedy neck preparing for winter

If we were Jimmy Fallon and being saddled with grief about beard patchiness, we’d point them in the direction of one James Corden and his Late Night Neckbeard. Of all the late-night hosts, Corden’s chin strap comes and goes in varying levels of full growth -- but truth be told, those cheeks don’t seem to want to sprout.  

Dave Letterman


With a beard like that, who needs an ascot?

The Unabomber of Late Night Beards. Letterman’s impressive Santa-floss brings to mind the lyrics of Broadway’s HairA home for fleas, a hive for bees, a nest for birds, 

there ain't no words.”  Why do we get the idea that Paul Schaffer might be hiding in there somewhere?  The ultimate in “give no effs” facial hair.

Trevor Noah

The soon-to-be ex-host of The Daily Show has somehow resisted the Late Night Beard mandate, despite showing up on Insta from time to time with some scruffy scruff.

Instagram/Trevor Noah

Does this actually qualify as Late Night Beard?

But as for sporting beardage full-time?

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Top image: Broadway Video

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