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Top 10 Times Late Night Hosts Got Personal

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Zack Sims
Written by Zack Sims These are the times that late night hosts opened themselves up for the world to see. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Times Late Night Hosts Got Personal. For this list, we’ll be taking a look at the moments when a late night host showed a more personal side during their television shows. These instances can involve personal stories or strong emotions toward an issue from any point in television history. Get ready for the feels. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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These are the times that late night hosts opened themselves up for the world to see. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Times Late Night Hosts Got Personal.

For this list, we’ll be taking a look at the moments when a late night host showed a more personal side during their television shows. These instances can involve personal stories or strong emotions toward an issue from any point in television history. Get ready for the feels.

#10: Craig Ferguson Discusses His Sobriety
"The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (2005-14)

Craig never failed to bring the laughs, but he didn't shy away from tackling serious issues either. During a monologue, he began talking about a then-troubled Britney Spears. The audience is expecting some low grade hanging fruit, but Ferguson takes a turn. After talking about Britney Spears entering rehab and her apparent alcohol addiction, he tells his own story of alcohol addiction and his subsequent fifteen years of sobriety up to that point. Ferguson manages to be frank and yet throws in some self deprecating humor too, while giving the audience a glimpse into the mental process and actions of someone with a serious addiction.

#9: John Oliver & Vaccinating His Son
"Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" (2014-)

John Oliver is known for his humorous, yet informative deep dives into important topics. And, Oliver isn’t shy from using his own experiences to help make his point. A great example is his piece about vaccinations. At the end of the almost thirty minute segment about the issue of getting vaccinated and, more importantly, vaccinating your children, Oliver showed a picture of him and his 19 month old son. After giving details about his son’s premature birth, Oliver stated that he was going to go ahead with his scheduled vaccinations, despite being a worried parent like everyone else. He then encouraged others to do the same.

#8: Jimmy Fallon Cries Following His Mother's Passing
"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" (2014-)

Jimmy Fallon's show is known for being fun, upbeat, and lighthearted. Whether it be a rap battle with Justin Timberlake or celebrities trying the latest trend, Fallon manages to give audiences something different and entertaining. That is what makes it more noticeable when Fallon takes a more serious tone, like he did when his mother passed away. Fallon is usually bright and animated, but as he details a special memory of his mother, he is on the brink of tears. Despite being choked up and crying during multiple moments, Fallon managed to still tell the audiences that he hopes to bring them laughter.

#7: Trevor Noah on Philando Castile
"The Daily Show” (1996-)

Trevor Noah is no stranger to serious topics, but, since he’s also the host of the Daily Show, so he is going to make us laugh about them. He even does just that between his planned monologues as well. During one of his off-the-cuff conversations with the studio audience, Noah candidly discusses the death of Philando Castile, who was killed by police during a traffic stop, and the acquittal of the officer who killed him. Trevor uses his own personal experiences with the U.S. police to empathize his points about racism, profiling, and police reform, which manage to be funny, yet extremely alarming.

#6: David Letterman Apologizing to His Wife On Air
"Late Show with David Letterman" (1993-2015)

In the midst of a quashed blackmail campaign, David Letterman used his show to address the matter directly. Addressing his past and allegations of sexual relationships with multiple staff members, Letterman not only took time to apologize to his crew for putting them through such a stressful time, but to his wife as well. In an extremely personal moment, Letterman told the audience he had hurt his wife immensely due to his actions and that he had a lot of work to do to make things “right”. Letterman isn’t a stranger to sincere personal moments, and his tribute to the late Robin Williams alone is proof of that.

#5: Johnny Carson's Final Monologue
"The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962-92)

One of the most revered late night hosts doesn't just go out with a whimper. During his final monologue after nearly thirty years of his late night show, Johnny Carson was met with a standing ovation that lasted for around two minutes; with the ever-modest Carson almost begging the audience to stop. Glassy-eyed and noticeably flustered after the long applause, he still managed to carry himself and make the audience laugh one last time during his monologue. The only time the audience ever stopped laughing was when Carson talked about his departure, then he was met with a very loud “aw” from the crowd.

#4: James Corden & the Westminster Attack
"The Late Late Show with James Corden" (2015-)

After the first of multiple terror attacks in London in 2017, James Corden addressed the audience about the incident that took place in his hometown. During his response, he expressed his sorrow, but more importantly, his homesickness. While choking up, Corden mentioned how it would be natural to assume that he feel better being so far away across the Atlantic. Instead, he wished he could have been there to help Londoners recover. Only a few months later, Corden had to address a second terror attack in London. However, he got to do it his way, from London: helping it recover by celebrating it.

#3: Conan O'Brien on the Las Vegas Shooting
"Conan" (2010-)

Sadly, Conan O'Brien, isn't a stranger to addressing mass shootings in the U.S. Far from it, actually, since multiple and some of the deadliest have occurred in 2017 alone. Despite this, little to no legislative action has happened, which is key to understanding Conan's behavior. Using his monologue to address the Las Vegas massacre, Conan expressed not only his sympathy, but also his anguish. He even remarks how mass shootings occur so frequently that a file exists of his previous responses to them. What's so significant about this moment is Conan's palpable sense of defeat and exhaustion.

#2: Jon Stewart's Monologue After 9/11
"The Daily Show" (1996-)

After the 9/11 attack in New York City, Jon Stewart, known for his declaration of “war on bullshit”, opened his next show with a very emotional monologue about the disaster. Choking up and visibly crying, Stewart mainly focused on the heroic first responders that put their lives on the line to help those affected immediately after the attack. It really gets us when Jon, who was born and raised in New York City, also mentions how the view from his home has drastically changed; with the World Trade Center no longer being visible from his window.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Jimmy Fallon on the Charlottesville Protests
"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" (2014-)

Jay Leno's Last ‘Tonight Show’
“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (1992-2014)

Conan O'Brien’s ‘Tonight Show’ Farewell Speech
"The Tonight Show Starring Conan O'Brien" (2009-10)

#1: Jimmy Kimmel & His Son's Medical Problem
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!" (2003-)

The death of Cecil the Lion famously left Kimmel a bit choked up and bewildered, but family is different. While the debate to repeal Obamacare was steaming ahead, Jimmy Kimmel told a tear-jerking story about his son's health complications when he was born a few days previously. Kimmel emphasized that he didn’t have health coverage, his son wouldn't have been able to receive the care needed to save his life, due to his having a preexisting condition. He later brought his son on the show to help fund the Children's Health Insurance Program, and we all teared up all over again.
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