Who should host ‘Late Night’ post-Jimmy Fallon

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Comedian Aziz Ansari leaps in a promotional photo for “Get Him to the Greek.”

Rumors are swirling that Jimmy Fallon is going to replace Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show” next year (at least until Leno decides he wants his old job back and Fallon becomes the new Conan O’Brien). It’s a change we’ve been long awaiting as Leno and his infinite chins are unfunny and not too great at interviews either. Fallon was an outside-the-box pick for NBC when he took over “Late Night” four years ago. Here are Cadenza’s top picks to take over the “Late Night” mantle.

Aziz Ansari

To say the least, late night talk shows can be a little monochrome. Aziz Ansari would make a great addition to the current lineup of hosts. His vibrant personality would be a bit different from the usual style, but that by no means indicates it wouldn’t work. A popular comedian for his work on “Parks and Recreation,” he did get his start in stand-up, so he could easily make the transition to working as a host, and he would bring in a new, younger generation to watch his show. “Parks and Recreation” is even on NBC as well, so he hopefully wouldn’t even have to choose between the two. –Trevor Leuzinger

Maria Bamford

Maria Bamford is the longest of long shots as she is a little-known comedian from Minnesota. But you’ve almost definitely seen her on your televisions before—she starred in Target commercials for two years as an eager holiday shopper. But it’s her stand-up comedy that I find to be the most compelling reason to give her a chance on “Late Night” Her self-deprecation and honesty could draw out the same from the celebrities she would interview. Plus, she does amazing voices, and she loves pugs. Imagine if part of the show each night was just pugs in costumes or pugs doing human activities like trying to use a typewriter. There’s no way that wouldn’t be highly rated. –Georgie Morvis

Tina Fey

Now that “30 Rock” is over, Tina Fey should have lots of time on her hands to start a new project. She hosted the Golden Globes with finesse, always got laughs on “Saturday Night Live”’s Weekend Update and took the book world by storm with her successful memoir, “Bossy Pants.” “The Tonight Show,” compared to her lifetime career in comedy, seems like a logical, safe bet for a comedian who’s been around the block (kind of like Jimmy Fallon minus the childish grins at the camera). Where Jimmy’s enthusiasm and telltale facial expressions failed, Tina’s deadpan humor would certainly succeed in the talk show format. She’s capable of intelligent current-events humor, unlike some of her other female comedian counterparts (I’m looking at you, Chelsea Handler and Whitney Cummings), and she is beloved by the comedy and TV communities. Frankly, I’d also really like to see a lady sitting on Johnny Carson’s late-night talk show throne. After Betty White in 2011 became the first woman to win the Jack Benny Award for Comedy, it’s high time that women in comedy make another leap in a male-dominated industry. –Julia Zasso

Marc Maron

For much of his career, Marc Maron was a nobody, a comedian’s comedian whose sardonic wit and penchant for existentialism relegated him to a cult curiosity. On his last legs, Maron started a podcast called “WTF,” in which he conducts revealing interviews of artists from across the cultural spectrum. The podcast eventually became a hit, exposing Maron to a wider audience and landing him a show on the Independent Film Channel. Despite his prickly demeanor, Maron has an uncanny ability to get his guests to let their guards down and speak with a candor rarely seen on the talk show circuit. His rambling monologues are also top-notch as he works out his own fears and insecurities with unflinching honesty. While the late-night game could use his subversive, no-nonsense style, these qualities will almost certainly prevent him from getting the gig. –Mark Matousek

Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers seems to be perfectly happy over at “Saturday Night Live” right now, but we’d love to see him follow in Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien’s footsteps by making the transition from “SNL” to “Late Night.” Like Fallon, Meyers has anchored “SNL”’s Weekend Update for years, giving him plenty of talk-show experience. He’s also been the show’s head writer since 2006, so he obviously knows how to write jokes, too. Above all, Meyers has enough charisma to appeal to a mainstream audience without sacrificing his biting sense of humor. Hopefully Lorne Michaels—the executive producer of both “SNL” and “Late Night”—will keep the hosting gig in the “SNL” family by having Meyers fill the coveted seat. –Katharine Jaruzelski

Graham Norton

It’s true we already tried importing one English talk show host in Piers Morgan, and we all can see how that worked out. Frankly, though, Piers never had the appeal or charisma to even be popular in his homeland. None of that can be said for Graham Norton. Arguably the liveliest chat show host across the pond, you’ve probably at least seen one clip from “The Graham Norton Show” because his magnetism and personality are perfect for drawing out the quirkiness in all of his guests (his is the only chat show interview of Kristen Stewart that doesn’t make me want to rip my hair out). In addition, half of the fun of his show consists of the mismatch of different celebrities who sit on his couch and the ensuing conversations and hijinks that occur—one week included Sarah Silverman, Mark Wahlberg and Michael Fassbender. If anything is need on the late-night scene, it’s a shake up, and bringing on Norton and his idiosyncratic format would be perfect. –Kayla Hollenbaugh

Maya Rudolph

According to trade outlets, Maya Rudolph has been shopping around a variety show. Why not just take those ideas to NBC and “Late Night?” Rudolph is one of the supremely multi-talented performers of her generation: equally at home in comedic and dramatic roles, with a great voice as well. She’d be a magnetic host, and any time a “Saturday Night Live” alum came on, the Internet would spontaneously combust from being so excited. Plus, her extensive repertoire of “SNL’”s recurring characters could provide for fun interview opportunities. Rudolph’s Oprah interviewing the real Oprah would be must-see TV. Rudolph is also partners with and has three children with iconic director Paul Thomas Anderson. He could direct shorts in his spare time and pick up a few Emmy nominations along the way. –Georgie Morvis

  • Rachel

    Graham Norton is Irish, through and through. Even though it’s a Cadenza article, you probably should do a modicum of fact-checking.