I had a bout of the flu, and, naturally, have been catching more television than usual this week. Sitcoms, reality shows, and talk shows have been in heavy rotation.
Turns out, Jonah Hill kind of rules.
As a guest on the late night talk show circuit, that is. Who saw that coming?
He’s funny, genuine, and always seems to have some kooky yet delightful anecdote pulled from his real life to impart upon a live and captivated audience. Did anyone see his interview on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, particularly during guest Whitney Cummings’ segment? Best late night moment in ages.
His stint on The Late Show with Letterman? Charming – but, in a Jonah Hill way.
His manner of discourse, although with the faint echo of the slightest lisp, manages to flow with a natural kind of diction. Sure, he’s not one of the heartthrobs shedding clothes in photo shoots like other actors of his generation, but he has another quality that is harder to come by than a pretty boy wonder; he speaks with an infectious energy, the stuff that charisma stands upon; when Jonah talks, people want to listen. He’s engaging and accessible to people, with sharp comedic instincts to boot.
He’s snarky yet self-deprecating enough to be relatable and likable, an immensely difficult task as he’s a big enough star that wisecracking could be at the risk of alienating the audience, but instead his quips achieve approachability with effortless ingenuity. From calling out Matthew Morrison and sharing tales of prankster Brad Pitt with Letterman to describing the experience of meeting Kate Middleton and calling Prince William a deadbeat on Conan.
I wonder how many people besides me have chalked up Jonah Hill as best celeb guest on late night talk shows. I know I’m not the first to notice.
When I worked as a barista, there was a list of people you could call that were available to cover your shift. If there was a list of Top Celebrities To Book As Late Night Talk Show Guests, or even a List of Back-Up Guests, he’d top mine at the moment. You know what? Let me put that list together. To begin with, at least…
Top Celebs To Book On Late Night Talk Shows.
They seem to smoothly manage entertaining a crowd, comedy, and improvisation.
1. Jonah Hill.
2. Zach Galifianakis. Because of his fun, offbeat, unpredictable antics.
3. Aziz Ansari.
4. Chelsea Handler. You never know what she’s going to say.
4. Justin Timberlake. He always dresses appropriately for the show, an added plus.
Heck, the guest-to-guest chemistry should be noted, too. There’s always that inherent awkwardness when the second guest comes out and joins the couch with the first guest. The second guest wants to use as much of the limited time as possible to banter with the host, promote whatever they’re there to promote, but also not completely ignore the first guest sitting there on the couch beside them. Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake could teach a class on the history of hip hop music. Or something. Or Jonah Hill could put together a manual for would-be guests on late night talk.
Best Guest-to-Guest Banter.
1. Kevin Hart. His visit with Shaq and Justin Timberlake on Leno was a total showstopper. (See the clip.)
2. Jonah Hill’s beef with Matthew Morrison (before some nice banter with Whitney Cummings) (see below) on Jimmy Fallon.
3. Bradley Cooper & Chris O’Dowd on Conan.