The 15 Best Props, Gimmicks and Recurring Gags in the History of Late Night

The 15 Best Props, Gimmicks and Recurring Gags in the History of Late Night


If a late night show is fortunate enough to go the distance, they’re gonna need to fill some time. And what better way than a solid sketch or recurring segment? The classic “monologue, guest, guest, musical or stand-up act” format is classic for a reason, but bits and recurring gags are what sets each show apart. Yes the talented and beautiful guests that come and go are quite entertaining, but we come back night after night for the host and his particular brand of funny.

The best recurring gags are the ones that bring out the overall vibe of the show. The Masturbating Bear would seem out of place on Letterman, and Leno was way too affable to have celebrities read mean tweets. We don’t have a lever that can play a clip, but we can pull the lever on “The 15 Best Props, Gimmicks and Recurring Gags in the History of Late Night.”

Celebrities read Mean Tweets.

Recurring at Late Night Jimmy Kimmel's Mean Tweets A staple of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Mean Tweets first aired in March 2012 and featured Will Ferrell on the toilet. It has featured the biggest celebrities, sports figures, and even President Obama. @BelmarCPA Will Ferrell is overrated. Sorry, but he jus CRACKED


The Wrap

The salty old dog that won our hearts.

Recurring at Late Night Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Created, puppeteered, and voiced by Robert Smigel, Triumph first appeared in 1997on Late Night, and followed Conan to The Tonight Show and his TBS show. Не was nominated for a Best Comedy Album Grammy in 2005. CRACKED


Clip on YouTube

John Oliver shows that some traditions are ridiculous.

Recurring at Late Night John Oliver's How is this still a thing? On Last Week Tonight, Oliver perfectly satirizes outdated traditions like daylight savings time or halloween costumes of other races by showing us just how ridiculous they are. HOW IS THIS STILL A THING CRACKED



Johnny Carson’s love of magic.

Recurring at Late Night Johnny Carson featured a ton of magicians Originally wanting to be a magician, his first performance was as The Great Carsoni at age 14. Не used the show to feature dozens of magicians, and show off his own talents. CRACKED



Top 30 years of Top Ten Lists

Recurring at Late Night David Letterman's Top Ten Lists First airing on September 18, 1985, former head writer Steve O'Donnell credits Jim Downey for writing beautifully stylized lists. Letterman's last show on May 20, 2015 had show regulars reveal Top Ten Things I've Always Wanted To Say To Dave. CRACKED


The New Republic

Jay Leno goes “Jaywalking.”

Recurring at Late Night Jaywalking During Jay Leno's tenure on The Tonight Show, Jay hit the streets, asked people simple questions, and got some ridiculously dumb answers. Fan-favorite interviewees Kip & Kim got their own recurring segment, What Would Kip & Kim Do? CRACKED


Us Weekly

Graham Norton plays Dr. Evil.

Recurring at Late Night graham norton show Graham Norton's Red Chair On The Graham Norton Show, a segment called That's All We've Got Time For has an audience member sit in a red chair and tell an interesting story. If they bore Graham for even a moment, he pulls the lever and the chair flops them away. CRACKED


Clip on YouTube

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