40 First Guests of Late-Night TV
Mike Vicic - March 2, 2009
The test shoots are over, the pickle has passed from David to Conan to Jimmy, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is ready for its debut. That can mean only one thing! Robert De Niro will earn a 'First Guest' medal tonight.
De Niro will join quite an exclusive club. Of course, Bill Murray, is the consummate First Guest of late-night TV, having received that medal three different times. But who else has been a late-night First Guest? TV Tango went through the archives and found 40 First Guests of late-night TV — all since Late Night with David Letterman premiered back in February 1982.
Check out the list below and see who was the First Guest on your fave late-night talk show. We only included series that started at 11PM or later; so you won't find Dogg After Dark or any other primetime (or daytime) talk shows. If we found a clip of the premiere episode, we included a link for that video.
Oh, and by the way, if you want to know the story about the pickle, just scroll to the bottom and watch the embedded video.
40 42 First Guests of Late-Night TV
- Feb 1982: Bill Murray on LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (video: YouTube)
- Sep 1983: Joan Collins1 on THICKE OF THE NIGHT
- Jun 1984: Frank Sinatra on THE JERRY LEWIS SHOW
- Sep 1986: Jim McMahon on NIGHTLIFE
- Oct 1986: David Lee Roth on THE LATE SHOW STARRING JOAN RIVERS (video: YouTube)
- Jun 1988: Arnold Schwarzenegger on THE MAGIC HOUR
- Aug 1988: Linda Ellerbee on LATER WITH BOB COSTAS
- Jan 1989: Brooke Shields on THE ARSENIO HALL SHOW
- Jan 1989: Chevy Chase on THE PAT SAJAK SHOW
- Jul 1990: Charlie Sheen2 on INTO THE NIGHT STARRING RICK DEES
- Aug 1990: John Madden on OVERTIME...WITH PAT O'BRIEN
- Jan 1992: Tom Hanks on THE DENNIS MILLER SHOW
- May 1992: Billy Crystal on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO (video: NBC)
- Sep 1992: Elizabeth Taylor on THE WHOOPI GOLDBERG SHOW
- Aug 1993: Bill Murray on THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (video: YouTube)
- Sep 1993: Goldie Hawn on THE CHEVY CHASE SHOW (video: YouTube)
- Sep 1993: John Goodman on LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN
- May 1994: Julia Louis-Dreyfus on LATER WITH GREG KINNEAR (video: YouTube)
- Jan 1995: Candice Bergen on THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH TOM SNYDER
- Sep 1995: Gabriel Byrne on LAUREN HUTTON AND...
- Oct 1996: Dennis Rodman on THE RUPAUL SHOW
- Aug 1997: Jada Pinkett on THE KEENEN IVORY WAYANS SHOW
- Aug 1997: Anthony Edwards3 on VIBE!
- Jan 1999: Michael J. Fox on THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (video: TheDailyShow.com)
- Mar 1999: Bill Murray on THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG KILBORN
- Feb 2001: Tom Hanks on ON THE RECORD WITH BOB COSTAS
- Aug 2001: Edie Falco on THE SANDRA BERNHARD EXPERIENCE
- Jan 2002: Alicia Keys on LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY
- Mar 2002: Foo Fighters on LATE WORLD WITH ZACH (video: YouTube)
- Jan 2003: George Clooney4 on JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE
- Jun 2003: Adrien Brody on THE ORLANDO JONES SHOW
- Jan 2004: Bill Cosby on TAVIS SMILEY (audio: PBS)
- Jan 2005: David Duchovny on THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (video: YouTube)
- Jul 2005: Sean Hayes on WEEKENDS AT THE D.L.
- Aug 2005: The Crystal Method on TOO LATE WITH ADAM CAROLLA
- Oct 2005: Stone Phillips on THE COLBERT REPORT (video: ColbertNation.com)
- Sep 2006: Andy Richter on TALKSHOW WITH SPIKE FERESTEN
- Apr 2007: Steve Schirripa on THE BRONX BUNNY SHOW (video - language NSFW: Amazon on Demand)
- Jul 2007: Steve-O5 on CHELSEA LATELY (video: MetaCafe)
- Mar 2009: Robert De Nero on LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (video: Hulu)
- Jun 2009: Will Ferrell on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (video: Hulu)
- Jul 2009: Danielle Staub on WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE
1"Thicke of the Night" had Barry Manilow by satellite before the first in-studio guest interview.
2"Into the Night" had Wilson Phillips as the musical act before the first guest interview.
3"Vibe" had President Clinton by satellite to start the show plus a few brief celebrity appearances before the first in-studio guest interview.
4"Jimmy Kimmel Live" introduced Snoop Dogg as the guest host for the week before the first guest interview.
5"Chelsea Lately" had a roundtable with Chyna and others before the first guest interview.