Tonight, we say a fond farewell to one of our favorite late-night comedy shows in @midnight with an hour-long special — we don’t want to believe that it’s happening, but there’s only so long one can scream at the heavens in denial.
What this show brought to the TV landscape will likely be perpetually-underrated: Great comedy, joyful escapism, and an opportunity for discovery. This article is about naming our favorite comedians to appear on the show over the past several years, and many of them are people we discovered for the first time while watching it. As a viewer, @midnight was the ideal venue to find new talents: You learned about them, their style, and their point of view in bite-sized doses. Then, after a few episodes, you could then start to seek them out in other venues. You had a personal connection to them and wanted to consume more of their content.
So why only nine? Why not make this a nice round number in ten? BECAUSE WE MAKE THE RULES. Actually, it more had to do with writing down all of the names of the people we absolutely adored over the years. At a certain point, we realized that we’d have about 40 people on this list if we kept going.
Before getting to that list, let’s send a hearty thank-you to host Chris Hardwick for being consistently funny, game for anything, and also heartfelt when he needed to be. One of the reasons for his rise in popularity of the years is his ability to feel like a friend just as much as a television host. He’s so kind and welcoming, and he navigated the madness of this show with both a deft touch and of course jokes about everything from current events to Pierre the Pelican. He was the reason we first watched, and we’re grateful that there were so many other great discoveries that we made along the way.
So thanks, @midnight, for providing a venue to actually get away from the day for a good laugh — and enriching our comedy brain in the process. Now, let’s get to that list.
Doug Benson – He was so successful on the show that eventually, he appeared in a week’s run of episodes. Doug’s highlight reel is impressive, but one thing we want to single out is a “Sweet Emoji” game from years ago with Nikki Glaser and Ron Funches that absolutely killed us. You can probably find it on YouTube; this was one of our favorite games, but this combination of comedians lifted it over the top.
Grace Helbig – Before the show, we actually weren’t too familiar with her work, and that’s why it’s a thrill that we now seek out so much of her content and YouTube and everywhere else. Her comedy comes often from a very human and relatable place — and her Hashtag Wars appearances are outstanding.
Kumail Nanjiani – He’s easily one of our favorite comedians, and someone we’ve enjoyed virtually in every possible venue we’ve seen him. Even when we didn’t see him on the show for a while, his appearances (#butts) stand the test of time. Seeing him here got us into his podcast The Indoor Kids; that hasn’t been around for a while and we miss that probably about as much as we’re going to miss @midnight.
Matt Mira – At one point, Hardwick’s fellow Nerdist Podcast co-host was a writer on the show. To us, one of our greatest @midnight memories was when he spent an entire episode making continuous references to either A) the movie Chappie or B) breadsticks at The Olive Garden. We have no idea why this made us laugh as much as it did, but it was great.
Nikki Glaser – One of the performers we really became a fan of thanks to watching the show. Her timing was just impeccable, and there are a number of appearances where we want to call shenanigans over her not winning — we’re bummed that Not Safe with Nikki Glaser is over, but hopefully, she’ll have another major gig soon.
Rhys Darby – Our favorite performers were often the ones who skewed the format slightly, and Darby provided that here in how his comedic character would react to some of the various games. He brought such a different energy to @midnight every time he turned up, and it was outstanding.
Ron Funches – In many ways, Ron is the patron saint of @midnight. He appeared throughout the run, was hilarious, inspired fanfiction featuring himself and Hardwick, and somehow managed to combine his super-sweet demeanor with hilarious, biting, and clever material. This show helped us love him on Undateable, helped us find his standup, and in general made him one of our favorite comedians.
Steve Agee – Agee’s another performer we didn’t know that well before the show, but what we loved about him was that he was game for almost anything. He would dress up in costume, he would make fun of himself, but beyond having awesome taste in video games, he was just such a consistently warm, funny presence on the show.
Thomas Lennon – He was one of the show’s executive producers, which made the recurring gig of him consistently losing all the funnier. (Sure, he has won, but it’s a relative rarity). We’re just as grateful to him as Hardwick for keeping the show on the air, and he was brilliant every time he turned up.
Who were some of your favorite @midnight guests? Share now in the comments! (Photo: Comedy Central.)