Good Riddance: 95% of Late Night ‘Comedy’ Show Guests Are Liberals

May 19th, 2023 9:00 AM

With the Writers Guild of America going on strike, it is likely that America has seen the last of the first half of 2023’s late night comedy shows. Whether America wants them to return is an open question as 95 percent of their 2023 guests have been liberal, a NewsBusters study has documented.

MRC analysts found that from January 3 through May 1 (the last night of shows before the strike ended production of new episodes), liberal guests outnumbered conservative guests by 77 to 4.

The study looked at the daily six late night comedy shows: ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late Late Show with James Corden (up through its April 27 termination), and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. FNC's Gutfeld! was not included. 

As with previous guest counts, MRC analysts divided guests into two categories: partisan officials and then journalists and celebrities.

When it came to politicians, the count was 20 Democrats to 1 Republican. The Daily Show featured 13 guest hosts, eleven of which got four episodes. The exceptions being Leslie Jones’s three and Dulcé Sloan’s one. These 13 hosts combined to lead the way with ten (two for guest hosts Kal Penn and Jordan Klepper, one for guest hosts Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman, Marlon Wayans, John Leguizamo, Roy Wood Jr., and Desi Lydic), Colbert was second with seven, Meyers came in third with two, Fallon placed fourth with one. Neither Corden nor Kimmel had a politician on their shows during the length of the study, although Kimmel was scheduled to have Nancy Pelosi on in January, but the Speaker battle prevented her from appearing.

The lone Republican to make an appearance was Sen. Lindsey Graham appearing with former colleague Al Franken when he guest-hosted The Daily Show.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Katie Porter each appeared multiple times. Infamous moments included Daily Show guest host Jordan Klepper telling Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that Florida was “urinating on our democracy” and President Biden telling Daily Show guest host Kal Penn that not giving hormones to minors so they could change their gender is “close to sinful.”

Penn also welcomed Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to The Daily Show to promote climate alarmism, but the list of politicians includes only Americans due to the near impossibility of projecting the Republican-Democratic dichotomy onto other countries, especially Pakistan.

As for journalists and celebrities, the results were 57 liberals to 3 conservatives. 

The Daily Show led with 22 liberal interviewees (D.L. Hughley, Roy Wood Jr., and  Desi Lydic with three; Wanda Sykes, Sarah Silverman, Al Franken, John Leguizamo with two; and Leslie Jones, Marlon Wayans, Kal Penn, Jordan Klepper, and Dulcé Sloan with one).

As for the permanent hosts, Colbert was second with 12, Kimmel was third with nine, Fallon and Meyers tied for fourth with six each and James Corden had two.

The conservatives to appear included Kevin O’Leary with Daily Show guest host Hasan Minhaj. Minhaj’s one to zero ratio of conservatives to liberals made him the only host to see conservative guests outnumber liberals. Additionally, actor Kelsey Grammer appeared with NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Mike Lindell appeared on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, although the purpose of that interview was to mock and ridicule him by sticking him inside an arcade claw machine.

The most frequent guests were when the hosts promoted other late night hosts. John Oliver appeared three times while former Daily Show host Trevor Noah appeared twice. 

Here is a breakdown of guests by network:

T1. NBC/MSNBC, Comedy Central: 7

3. ABC: 3 (2 liberals, 1 conservative)

T4. CNN, HBO: 3

T6. The Nation, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, CBS, Washington Post: 1

Zero guests from Fox News appeared on any of the programs.

The moments of the most left-wing advocacy included the Washington Post’s Perry Bacon Jr. urging people to harass Republicans at church and the grocery store and former White House press secretary Jen Psaki previewing her MSNBC show by claiming the network has high standards for factual accuracy.

For a complete breakdown of all the guests, click here.

Methodology: The study ran January 3 through May 1. Journalists were defined as either liberal or conservative regardless of the segment’s subject matter. A celebrity was defined as either a current or former fellow late night host if that host was on to be interviewed, political activist, or anyone famous who discussed politics or a religious project. If a celebrity is known to have strong political beliefs, but did not discuss them, they were not included.

Those whose political affiliations are not easily characterized as liberal or conservative were placed based on the content of the segment.

A politician was defined as any currently or previously- elected office holder, White House staffer, cabinet secretary, their spouse, or any of their children who were on to discuss political matters unless they are currently affiliated with a media outlet. They must also be American.