Late-Night Lately: Best of 2016

8:00 AM 12/31/2016

by Jennifer Konerman

THR's Late-Night Lately: Best of 2016 edition rounds up the most watched, most loved and most popular sketches of the year.

The Hollywood Reporter's Late-Night Lately is a one-stop shop for all of the most memorable moments of late-night TV, coming to you each Saturday morning to ease you into your weekend. This special edition takes a quick look at some of the most-watched sketches and moments from your favorite late-night hosts. 

So fill up your coffee, set your DVR for the week and sit back. Below are a few of the year's best, funniest and strangest late-night moments you can't afford to miss (in alphabetical order by show). 

  • 'Conan'

    Screengrab/TBS

    Conan and the rest of Team Coco continued a few successful franchises this year, building on "Clueless Gamer" and his international trips, visiting South Korea and Berlin. 

    On his trip to Seoul with The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun, the late-night host showed off his dance moves in a K-pop music video with pop star J.Y. Park. "I didn't want to leave before making my mark on one of Korea's biggest exports," according to O'Brien. The video even features Park trying out O'Brien's signature "string dance."

    In his "Clueless Gamer" series, O'Brien tried out the game Overwatch with Game of Thrones' Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey, all while sitting on the Iron Throne, in another one of his most-viewed segments. 

  • 'The Daily Show With Trevor Noah'

    Screengrab/Comedy Central

    The Daily Show's Trevor Noah found his footing on Comedy Central this year, covering the election by comparing Trump to an African dictator, taking on conservative pundits and trying to break down the American political system from an outsider's perspective. 

    In March, Noah assumed "the GOP must be asking themselves how the f— we got here." So he looked into it, in a segment called "How the F— We Got Here." "Republicans, open your eyes. Donald Trump is the man of your dreams," he joked, advising the political party to take him "by the tiny little hand" and "put on some Fox News and chill." 

    By far Noah's other most-viewed video online was his contentious interview with Tomi Lahren, discussing Trump protesters and Black Lives Matter in December. "For somebody who's not racist, you have to spend a lot of time a lot of time saying, 'I'm not racist,'" Noah told TheBlaze pundit. 

    "To me, true diversity is diversity of thought, not diversity of color," Lahren said later. "I don't see color," which the audience audibly reacted to as she continued, "I go after Hillary Clinton, and she's as white as they come."

  • 'Full Frontal With Samantha Bee'

    Courtesy of Myles Aronowitz/Turner Entertainment

    Former Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee launched her own late-night show on TBS this February, bringing her spirited political insight to a volatile election cycle. 

    Full Frontal became her platform to speak forthrightly and powerfully about the issues of the day, so it's not surprising that her most popular videos of 2016 include a "day after" discussion of the election and many, many takedowns of Donald Trump. In October, she followed the Access Hollywood hot mic tapes with a blunt discussion. "Let's do this," she began the segment called "Pussy Riot." "Oh yeah, I'm going in on this like a bitch." 

    Calling their ride "the adolescent boner bus," she criticized both Trump and Billy Bush for their words in what she called a literal "vagina monologue": "In fact, 'take a tic tac and grab them by the pussy' is the closest thing to a plan Donald Trump has described this entire election." 

    Later that month, she responded to the year's fake news stories that spread online to create one of her own, in a video called "A Totally Real, 100% Valid Theory." "After seeing how easy and fun it is to take random scraps of evidence and spin them into ridiculous conspiracy theories, we decided to try it ourselves," Bee said, proposing the idea that Trump might not be able to read. 

    The day after the election, she delivered a powerful message to the country. "America is still a great country and it is still worth fighting for," Bee said. "We still have millions of nasty women who aren't going away, and as along as women over 25 are still allowed on television, I'll be here cheering them on." 

  • 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!'

    Screengrab/ABC

    Jimmy Kimmel had a big year in 2016, launching his (unsuccessful) campaign for Vice President, expanding his annual Halloween candy prank to include his own daughter and forcing even more celebrities to see the mean things people say about them online. 

    In the 10th edition of "Mean Tweets" this September, Kimmel took down Paul Rudd, Melissa McCarthy, Ryan Gosling, Margot Robbie, Judd Apatow, Zac Efron and more A-listers. Chris Evans may have enjoyed the tweet directed at him the most. The Captain America star couldn't stop laughing as he read, "Chris Evans is a stupid bearded sweater-wearing dumb dork." President Obama even took part in his own "Mean Tweets" a month later. 

    During this year's version of Kimmel's prank, which involves fans telling their kids they ate all their kids' candy, the host turned the camera on his own 2-year-old daughter, who answered her dad's joke very bluntly. 

  • 'Last Week Tonight'

    Eric Liebowitz/HBO

    John Oliver's Last Week Tonight has covered one subject extensively this year: Donald Trump. But that's not the only area where the former Daily Show correspondent (and temporary host) shined. This year also brought Brexit. 

    In June, Oliver criticized Brexit, using it as an example to warn the U.S. about a Trump presidency. "You might think, 'Well that is not going to happen to us in America. We're not going to listen to some ridiculously haired buffoon peddling lies and nativism in the hopes of riding a protest vote in power.' Well let Britain tell you, it can happen. And when it does, there are no f---ing do-overs."

    Back in February, he debuted his all-out Trump takedown, which concluded with Oliver revealing that Trump's name may have been changed at one point from Drumpf, sparking Drumpf-related merchandise, a Chrome extension and the hashtag #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain. 

    “If you are thinking of voting for Donald Trump, the charismatic guy promising to ‘Make America Great Again,’ stop and take a moment to imagine how you would feel if you just met a guy named Donald Drumpf: a litigious, serial liar with a string of broken business ventures and the support of a former Klan leader who he can’t decide whether or not to condemn." 

  • 'Late Night With Seth Meyers'

    Screenshot/Late Night with Seth Meyers/YouTube

    Seth Meyers' "Closer Look" segments have been especially relevant this year during the election, and they also happen to be his most-viewed videos online. The Late Night bits feature the host at his desk, simply breaking down the latest Trump tweet or consequences to his most recent feud. 

    Among his most-viewed segments are reactions to the first presidential debate, Trump's sexual harassment allegations and his response to the election, which included a hopeful message to the country's young women, especially parents. "A lot of them, like me, probably thought Hillary would be our first woman president, but she won’t be. But that does mean that someone’s daughter is out there, right now, who will one day have that title," said Meyers. "Whoever you are, I hope I live to see your inauguration."

    On the more playful side of his show, Meyers succeeded this year with Game of Thrones stars, especially when he took the character Melisandre to a baby shower this February, to awkward and hilarious results. 

  • 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert'

    Courtesy of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

    As Stephen Colbert left his Comedy Central character behind, it's only natural that some political messaging came through on CBS' Late Show this year, as his most popular moments were Trump or election-related. 

    Colbert's most-viewed YouTube video was actually not his at all, but his old colleague Jon Stewart's. In July, Colbert spoke about Roger Ailes leaving Fox News after sexual harassment claims. Stewart joined the host at his desk, speaking to the GOP and Fox News about their embracing of Trump. 

    Another popular video of Colbert's this year featured a spot-on impression of Melania Trump, also in July. Laura Benanti appeared as Melania to defend the Convention speech that was criticized for being blatantly plagiarized. "This is truly the best of times," she began, promising that she really wrote this speech. Quoting Dr. Seuss, the Fresh Prince and Braveheart, she promised, "they will never take our freedom!" 

  • 'The Late Late Show With James Corden'

    YouTube/The Late Late Show with James Corden

    The Late Late Show's James Corden has made musical sketches his bread and butter, with his "Carpool Karaoke" segments becoming more popular each time around this year, and his new "Drop the Mic" segment growing from Anne Hathaway and Cara Delevingne to Olympian Usain Bolt. 

    On the Hollywood-inspired sketch side, he continued his brief film career series with Tom Cruise, acting out parts of every Cruise film, from Top Gun to every Mission Impossible movie. 

    Over on his "Carpool Karaoke," it's no surprise that his most popular carpool of the year was his ridealong with Adele, which included hair advice, Christmas gossip, stories of holiday drinking and their love of the Spice Girls.

  • 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'

    Screengrab

    Jimmy Fallon has seen his viral success skyrocket with popular guests playing off-the-wall games and taking part in sketches only Fallon could create. Two of The Tonight Show's most-viewed sketches this year had some help with social media superstars Demi Lovato and Jennifer Lopez.

    J. Lo acted in his "teen show", Ew, back in February, and Lovato tried out his "Wheel of Musical Impressions" just days later. The singer received loud applause from the audience (and 35 million views on YouTube) when she nailed a spot-on impression of Christina Aguilera while belting out the theme song of SpongeBob Squarepants.

    While President Obama "slow jamming" the news was close, the other popular video for Fallon was when he and Kevin Hart went on a field trip to a haunted house for Halloween. As they screamed at every turn, Hart cautioned viewers, "If at any point you guys watch this and it looks like I am afraid, it's because I am an actor."

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