The world of late night talk shows isn’t often one of fluid tumultuousness and frequent reorganization, but the last couple of years have seen nearly constant changes on all fronts. Some desk-bound stalwarts are leaving, some have already left, and new faces are here to take their places. It’s a far different time from the days when Jack Paar and Steve Allen were the cream of the crop, and so we thought we’d pay tribute to the after-hours hosts by ranking the 15 greatest late night personalities of the modern era.

No, you won’t find the still-in-its-youth Last Week Tonight here, nor the ridiculously short-lived Chevy Chase Show. But we’ll certainly be seeing another Saturday Night Live vet in here somewhere.

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15. Tom Snyder
Because of his newscasting background, Tom Snyder could sometimes come across as the driest of all the late night hosts, but it also meant that he was capable of delivering an interview that you just wouldn’t see on anyone else’s program. As the chainsmoking host of Tomorrow with Tom Snyder, he interviewed the Sex Pistols, John Lennon and Charles Manson. And when he debuted as host of the newly-formed Late Late Show in 1995, he kept the no-audience interviews going, perhaps most notably with a pre-arrest Robert Blake. Nobody did cool like Tom Snyder.

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