Late-night TV has morphed into new life in recent years. With new comedic hosts, the use of the Internet to help segments go viral, and the current political environment, late-night TV shows are pretty much at the forefront of everything trending.
One thing that has never changed is late-night TV being a platform for shocking moments. Whether it was a wardrobe malfunction, emotional breakdown, or something just plain creepy, we couldn’t keep our eyes off the screen.
We’ve put together 15 of the most shocking late-night TV moments ever seen, ranked from mildly surprising to downright stunning.
15. Paul Rudd’s impressive lip syncing skills
Jimmy Fallon’s lip-sync battles have become a staple on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. However, we’ll never forget the moment Paul Rudd raised the bar in 2014. Though we were shocked by Rudd’s passion and dance moves, we weren’t so surprised when Fallon deemed him the winner.
Rudd hit the stage with Tina Turner’s “Better Be Good To Me,” where his facial expressions were emotional and dramatic. Fallon fought back by rocking out to Foreigner’s “Jukebox Hero.” Following Rudd’s next rendition, which was Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” Fallon knew the competition was over.
14. Sofia Vergara’s underwear stunt
We may have been just as surprised as Stephen Colbert when Sofia Vergara removed her panties while appearing as a guest on The Late Show. Not only did she take them off on TV, but she managed to pull them up through the waist of her skirt like a magician.
Though we’re pretty certain she had an extra pair stashed in there, the shock factor had us paying attention. The panties she pulled out were from her underwear line, EBY (Empowered By You), so we do applaud her advertising initiative.
13. Harrison Ford and Chewbacca end their feud
In 2015, Jimmy Kimmel helped Han Solo (otherwise known as Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca end their feud on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Kimmel claimed he was trying to get the Star Wars costars to mend their friendship after an alleged “cheating incident.” An opportunity presented itself on the set of Kimmel’s show (a coincidence, we’re sure), when Chewbacca was standing on the ledge of a building outside.
When trying to talk Chewbacca out of jumping, Ford showed up out of the blue. At first, Ford was going to let Chewbacca do it, but Kimmel helped Ford remember all the memories they had. Luckily, Ford ran up to the roof and talked Chewie off the ledge, settling their feud once and for all.
12. Jay Leno made Kanye West cry
It’s not often that you see Kanye West apologize for his actions, but even he knew he went too far at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. In case you need a reminder, West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video and proclaimed, “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!”
West felt guilty for stealing Swift’s moment and used The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as a platform for apology in 2009. After West admitted that “it was rude,” Jay Leno may have crossed the line with his next question. He asked West if he thought his deceased mother, who he was very close with, would have been disappointed in him. This took West by surprise and left him speechless and tearful on set.
Since that moment, West has actually gone back on his apology, and his feud with Swift is still going strong.
11. Conan O’Brien schools Jennifer Garner
Conan O’Brien literally taught Jennifer Garner a lesson when she was a guest on Conan. During the 2010 interview, Garner interrupted O’Brien after he mentioned that she “snuck into the room.” Her interruption was to correct O’Brien, claiming the correct term is “sneaked,” not “snuck.”
She refused to believe “snuck” was a word, until O’Brien actually broke out a dictionary to prove he was right.
10. Tina Fey’s parting gift to David Letterman
All of us were sad when David Letterman retired from late-night TV in 2015. After all, his career lasted for 33 years, gaining him the title of the longest-running late-night TV show host in history. Luckily, Tina Fey knew just the right gift for his departure when she was a guest on Late Show with David Letterman.
After receiving multiple compliments on her dress from Letterman, Fey admitted, “I dress up like this out of respect for you.” She decided that she’ll no longer wear fancy dresses on talk shows, because no other host is worth it. She continued, “Because this is my last time wearing a fancy dress on a talk show and conforming to gender norms out of respect for you, my gift to you is I want to give you the dress.”
Fey proceeded to remove her dress (with some help from Letterman), whipped it off, and revealed her impressive collection of Spanx. Her top layer of shape wear had a special message, reading “Bye Dave!” on the front and “#LastDressEver” on the rear.
Fey may have more opportunities to wear fancy dresses, after all. Letterman has announced that he will make his talk show return in 2018. But this time, he’ll be coming to Netflix!
9. Barack Obama read mean tweets about himself … twice
Jimmy Kimmel Live!’s “Mean Tweets” segment has become an infamous outlet for celebrities to read and address mean tweets written about them. During Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House, he was the center of many tweets that weren’t so nice. This led Kimmel to have Obama come on the show and have special “President Obama Edition” segments of “Mean Tweets” not once, but twice.
Obama’s jeans came up in both segments, but in the second one, a tweet came up from none other than (at the time) Republican nominee, Donald Trump. Trump’s tweet read, “President Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States!”
Obama “dropped the mic” after firing back with, “Well, @realDonaldTrump, at least I will go down as a President.” Little did we know.
8. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign announcement
Back when celebrities getting involved in government was unheard of, Arnold Schwarzenegger shocked the world by announcing he’d be running for governor on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2003. Though he wasn’t seen as politician material at first, he ended up winning the election and completing two terms as Governor of California.
Once his governor days ended in 2011, he made his return to acting.
7. Heidi Klum’s undergarment mishap
Late-night TV shows have clearly had their fair share of shocking lingerie moments. In 2003 on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Heidi Klum was set to stun the audience by stripping down halfway through her guest appearance to model her bejeweled undergarments. Reportedly, the bra cost $8 million and the underwear $3 million, both designed by celebrity jeweler, Mouwad.
Klum, Leno, and the audience all ended up shocked when Klum stiffened up and said in a panic, “I think my bra is broken.” Keep in mind that the audience had no idea she had a plan to strip down eventually, so her wardrobe malfunction announcement really seemed to uproot the interview.
The commercial break ended up being Klum’s saving grace, allowing her to get taped up and model the pricey lingerie as scheduled.
6. ‘Make Donald Drumpf Again’
John Oliver tried as long as he could to avoid discussing Trump on Last Week Tonight. However, as Trump began gaining more traction as a presidential candidate in early 2016, Oliver decided he couldn’t evade it any longer. In this segment, Oliver acknowledges some of the reasons why people might like Trump, but he counters each point with a reason not to vote for him.
The part that really stood out was Oliver’s closing piece: “Make Donald Drumpf Again.” Apparently, Trump’s ancestral name is “Drumpf,” which Oliver described as “the sound produced when a morbidly obese pigeon flies into the window of a foreclosed Old Navy.” He continued that Drumpf is “much more reflective of who he actually is.”
Oliver’s “Make Donald Drumpf Again” hats, giant “DRUMPF” light up sign, and passionate rant didn’t exactly leave us surprised when the segment went viral with over 33 million YouTube views.
5. Trevor Noah vs. Tomi Lahren
Trevor Noah made a bold move by inviting conservative commentator Tomi Lahren onto The Daily Show, shortly after Trump won the presidential election. It’s not often that you see a host welcome a guest with polar opposite political views to actually discuss those political views, so we do give both of them credit for stepping out of their comfort zones.
To kick off their debate, Noah showed a clip of Lahren ranting about protestors. He followed up on the clip by asking, “Why are you so angry?” Lahren’s response was that “some people just need to be called on their sh*t.”
Noah was impressively able to keep his demeanor as he continuously challenged Lahren’s arguments. Though they both stood their ground throughout the debate, they handled it in a pretty respectful manner, all things considered.
4. Jimmy Fallon tousling Donald Trump’s hair
Once Fallon placed his hand on Trump’s head, the moment went down as a scandal in The Tonight Show’s history. Fallon wasn’t really one to get political on his show, especially in the midst of many other late-night hosts using their shows as platforms to speak out against Trump. Not only did Fallon have Trump as a guest on his show, but he joked around with him and went so far as to playfully tousle his hair.
People were outraged, causing The Tonight Show’s viewership to decrease significantly. Fallon responded in an interview with the New York Times, claiming, “I’m a people pleaser. If there’s one bad thing on Twitter about me, it will make me upset. So, after this happened, I was devastated. I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just trying to have fun.”
3. Security dragging Andy Dick off Jimmy Kimmel Live!
In an incredibly awkward moment of late-night TV history, Andy Dick and Ivanka Trump were both guests on Jimmy Kimmel Live! back in 2007. While Kimmel was trying to conduct a normal interview, Dick kept creepily touching Trump’s body. If you cringed watching it, imagine Trump and Kimmel trying to stay civil on air.
Kimmel repeatedly told Dick to stop and even got up from his seat to try to make him keep his hands to himself. Kimmel even noted, “Donald Trump will kill both of us.” His multiple efforts didn’t work, so members of security actually had to interrupt the interview and drag Dick off the stage.
2. Seth Meyers’ message to Donald Trump
Many late-night hosts took to their shows to condemn Trump on his response to the horrific events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia. Seth Meyers took it to another level by boldly stating, “He is not a president.”
Meyers criticized Trump’s response to a white supremacist using his car as a weapon against peaceful protesters. He continued that Trump’s response was not only delayed, but didn’t place the blame fully on the white supremacists. Instead, Trump claimed there was violence “on many sides.”
The argument Meyers made was powerful, stating:
The leader of our country is called a “president” because he’s supposed to preside over our society. His job is to lead, to cajole, to scold, to correct our path, to lift up what is good about us and to absolutely and unequivocally and immediately condemn what is evil in us. And if he does not do that — if he does not preside over our society — then he is not a president. You can stand for a nation, or you can stand for a hateful movement. You can’t do both. And if you don’t make the right choice, I am confident that the American voter will.
1. Jimmy Kimmel’s difficult reality
Instead of a comedic monologue like we usually see at the beginning of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kimmel tearfully opened up about a scary moment involving his newborn son, William (nicknamed Billy) in May 2017. On April 21, 2017, Billy was born seemingly healthily, until his discoloration led to tests that revealed he was born with a congenital heart defect.
After being transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and a successful surgery to repair a hole in his heart, Billy was able to go home with his family. While Kimmel’s family was able to get Billy the help he needed, the TV host acknowledged the struggle that so many Americans already face financially, let alone if they didn’t have access to the necessary health care to keep their children alive.
Kimmel pleaded, “If your baby is going die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?” He continued, “No parent should ever have to decide whether they can afford to save their child’s life.”
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