Creating a great Variety Talk Series is difficult — very difficult. You have to have the right balance of great comedy, good information, and memorability that makes coming back every night or every week necessary. There’s also so much competition out there that you have to find a way to do just that.
Below, you can find our personal Emmy picks for the six best shows that figured out a way to be funny, timely, and creative in 2017 — whether you agree or disagree, we want to hear from you both in the poll and the comments below!
The 2017 Emmy nominations will be formally announced on July 13. The results of all of our CarterMatt Emmy polls will be formally revealed on July 12 at 9:00 a.m. Pacific. They will officially close in the minutes leading up to that time.
Variety Talk Series – Our Nominees
@midnight with Chris Hardwick (Comedy Central) – It’s pure silliness, and sometimes that’s what you need: The opportunity to make fun of people on the internet on a nightly basis. Hardwick is consistently funny as the host, and what makes the show so fun is that every night you do get a different chemistry and vibe courtesy of some of the different guests.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS) – In 2017, pushing the envelope is what gets you far in late-night television, and it is routinely a pleasure to see Sam take risks and have fun and deliver field pieces that are incredibly edgy and interesting. Her send-up of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner was fantastic, and the more you watch her show, the more you wonder why she didn’t get her own late-night show before recently.
Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC) – Kimmel does the best monologue in late-night right now — it’s timely, it’s silly, and when it needs to, it’s meaningful. We know that he very much idolized David Letterman as a child, and his style is almost a combination of him and Craig Ferguson. He’s got this wonderful ability to be personal when he needs to be, but also an old-school late-night host that understands that the audience is often looking for an escape.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) – We’ve seen him discuss at length everything from Vladimir Putin to illegal drugs to third parties to Bolivian zebras. That’s right — BOLIVIAN ZEBRAS. Anyhow, few shows alternate between being funny to informative to completely random quite like this one, and are anywhere near as daring with their content. Oliver is a stellar host, and he and his writers find a way to make his show a conversation-starter every week.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS) – Even as a Colbert super-fan, we’ll be the first to admit that The Late Show got off to a rough start and his Super Bowl episode was somewhat disappointing. This past year, though, has ratcheted things up a notch. He’s kept his smart, often-informative interviews, but focused more on one of his strong suits in political humor. While he may be polarizing to viewers depending on your party, it’s certainly better to be bold than to play it safe.
The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS) – We don’t want to say that there is too much made of Carpool Karaoke, but there probably is in the sense that it overshadows some of Corden’s other strong skills as an interviewer and performer. His show combines a little bit of the sketch elements of a Saturday Night Live with smart discussions that aren’t often just about promoting a subject. The way he carries himself is also perfect, since he feels like a friend you want to see every night and hug.
Now, we leave it to you to vote!
Remember that to see some other Emmy categories posted throughout the month, be sure to visit the link here. (Photo: Emmys.)