Right now, we’re living in the age of reality TV.
From Love & Hip Hop to Real Housewives, that’s the “real life” that people are turning into.
Little do most people remember that all that “real life” started decades ago with talk shows.
Hosts would interview celebrities or everyday people, and that’s where we would get our entertainment from.
While you won’t see very many Black male talk show hosts on TV today, there have been some who have paved the way for today’s TV.
From Trevor Noah to Montel Williams, here are our top Black male talk show hosts.
Trevor Noah might not be what most of us would’ve considered a talk show host back in the ‘90s, but we’ll say he’s talk show host adjacent.
Noah was born in Johannesburg, South Africa to a Swiss father and Xhosa mother.
He spent his childhood and young adulthood in South Africa climbing his way through network television.
Working on TV and comedy would eventually lead him to the United States in 2011.
He appeared on The Tonight Show as well as the Late Show with David Letterman.
In December 2014, he became a regular contributor on The Daily Show which was being hosted by Jon Stewart.
Upon the announcement that Stewart would retire, he named Noah as his replacement.
During this late night talk show, he uses both comedy and satire to talk about politics and other current events.
He has been the host of the show since 2015.
When it comes to Black talk show hosts, is there anyone that is more recognizable than Montel Williams?
Williams has a very wholesome background.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, he was a good student and athlete.
He would later enlist in the military in 1974 where he joined the United States Marine Corps.
Throughout his tenure, he climbed the ranks until he was Lieutenant Commander.
In 1991, he began his talk show The Montel Williams Show.
He would go on to receive numerous Daytime Emmy Awards.
His show was on the air from 1991 to 2008.
Black Male Talk Show Hosts Arsenio Hall
You probably recognize Arsenio Hall from a few things, but do you remember him for his talk show?
After growing up in Cleveland, Hall eventually moved to Los Angeles.
His career began with a few appearances on Soul Train before he earned a few other small roles including the announcer on Alan Thicke’s own talk show Thicke of the Night.
This would eventually lead him to one of his most notable roles in the 1988 film Coming to America, which he starred in alongside Eddie Murphy.
After a stint hosting The Late Show in 1987, the Fox network realized Hall’s popularity before giving him his own show.
In 1989, he started his own late night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show.
The show was an overnight success, with a very popular following among young people.
Hall would act as the show’s host until 1994.
While you might not know Byron Allen for his talk show, you might recognize him for other aspects of his career.
Allen was born in Detroit and grew up in Los Angeles.
He had exposure to the entertainment world early due to his mother working as a publicist for NBC studios.
Even at the young age of 14, he began working on his stand up comedy and would even appear at amateur nights as comedy clubs.
His comedy act would gain him spots on Jimmie Walker’s writing team alongside Jay Leno and David Letterman.
And while he hosted or co-hosted a few shows, he earned his spot on this list for The Byron Allen Show which aired from 1989-1992.
To be honest, you won’t find much information about it anywhere, but if you still want to check out the talk show host, he currently hosts Comics Unleashed.
Keenan Ivory Wayans
If you know the ‘90s classic In Living Color, then you should know Keenan Ivory Wayans.
Born and raised in New York City, he would go on to attend Tuskegee University for college before dropping out after a year to focus on comedy.
Wayans would go on to have a few roles in movies and TV shows before his big break came.
In 1990, he created, wrote, and starred in In Living Color, a sketch comedy show similar to Saturday Night Live but with the purpose of featuring people of color.
The show ran from 1990 to 1994, but that’s not what earned Wayans a spot on this list.
From 1997 to 1998, he had a short lived late night talk show where he had guests like Samuel L. Jackson and Whitney Houston.
Wayne Brady Is A Black Male Talk Show Hosts
Wayne Brady is one of the most popular faces of daytime television.
Brady was born in Georgia before being raised by his grandmother in Orlando, Florida.
As a teenager, he began performing in community theater before attending the University of Miami.
In 1996, he moved to Los Angeles to focus on his career.
Since then, he has appeared in a number of movies and TV shows.
He has both starred and executive produced the variety show Whose Line Is It Anyway?
He has hosted the Miss America pageant as well as the show Let’s Make a Deal, the latter which he has hosted since 2009.
Brady earned his spot on this list with his talk show The Wayne Brady Show which aired from 2001 to 2004.
He received numerous Daytime Emmy Awards and an American Choreography Award.
Steve Harvey has one of the most decorated careers of anyone on this list.
Born in West Virginia, he was raised in Cleveland, Ohio before going on to attend both Kent State and West Virginia University.
He worked a ton of different jobs before he broke into the entertainment industry.
In 1990, began working as the host for Showtime at the Apollo.
Six years later, he would get his own network show, The Steve Harvey Show, which aired from 1996 to 2002.
The comedian was also part of the popular Kings of Comedy alongside Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, and Bernie Mac.
As if that’s not enough, he has his own syndicated radio show, The Steve Harvey Morning Show.
To add to that, he has also appeared in numerous TV shows and films.
His hosting jobs continue with the Essence Awards and his long stint as the host of Family Feud, which he has been hosting since 2010.
With all that, the celebrity had his own talk show, Steve Harvey, that aired from 2012 to 2017.
When it comes to comedy, Chris Rock is often considered one of the greats.
Although born in South Carolina, Rock grew up in Brooklyn, as many can see from his popular TV show Everybody Hates Chris.
He was often bullied in school, and when it escalated, he eventually dropped out and earned a GED.
The comedian was doing comedy occasionally which eventually landed him a job on Saturday Night Live.
He would later go on to appear in other TV shows and movies as well.
Rock would have numerous other comedy specials, some that were praised and others considered controversial.
After his many successes with HBO, the cable network gave him a weekly talk show, The Chris Rock Show.
The series aired for five seasons from 1997 to 2000.
Depending on when you first heard Michael Strahan’s name, you’d think two different things.
If you heard it now, you’d probably think, talk show host.
If you heard it during the early 2000s, you’d instantly think football.
Born in Houston, Strahan didn’t play football until he was a senior in high school.
This was enough to get him a scholarship to Texas Southern University.
His college career would lead to him getting drafted by the New York Giants in 1993.
Strahan’s career highlights include a Super Bowl championship as well as NFL Defensive Player of the Year and a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
After his retirement, he would go on to host Live! With Kelly and Michael from 2012 to 2016.
After becoming a regular contributor for Good Morning America, he now co-hosts Strahan, Sara, and Keke.
Introducing the world’s most fabulous drag queen.
RuPaul has been snatching edges for decades, and there’s no stopping him.
His life began in San Diego before he moved to Atlanta with his sister at 15 to study performing arts.
He would go through a series of projects including variety shows and films that didn’t pan out for him until he appeared in The B-52’s video for “Love Shack.”
He would release his first album in 1993 called Supermodel of the World which would lead to him appearing on other talk shows.
The success would lead to his very own talk show on VH1, The RuPaul Show.
He interviewed celebrities like Diana Ross and Mary J. Blige.
While his show only lasted for two seasons, it made history because it made Ru Paul the first openly gay host of a nationally televised program.
The RuPaul Show ran from 1996-1998.
Eric Andre is a comedian that was born in Boca Raton, Florida.
Following his youth, he would study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts.
He has appeared in a few TV shows and movies since the start of his career including The Internship as well as the voice role of Azizi in the live-action remake of The Lion King.
While his appearances are numerous, he has had his own talk show since 2012.
The Eric Andre Show appears on Adult Swim and acts as a parody of low-budget public-access talk shows.
Eric Andre is joined by his co-host Hannibal Buress.
Larry Wilmore is another person on this list with a decorated career that you might not even realize.
After growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles Country, he attended California State Polytechnic University before he dropped out to pursue acting and comedy.
Some of his smaller roles include appearances on The Facts of Life.
More notably, he has worked as a writer for In Living Color, Sister, Sister, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and The Jamie Foxx Show.
He would even create and produce The Bernie Mac Show and Whoopi.
More recently, he worked as the “Senior Black Correspondent” for the Daily Show from 2006 to 2014.
The show that earned him the spot on this list is his own talk show The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore which featured over 250 episodes between 2015 and 2016.
Born in New Orleans, Bryant Gumbel might be one of the most famous talk show hosts.
After earning a degree in Russian history from Bates College, he would become the editor of Black Sports Magazine in 1971.
A year later, he would become a sportscaster in Los Angeles.
Bryant Gumbel would then become known for his sports coverage.
After being hired by NBC Sports, he would host events for Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and college basketball.
After leaving NBC, he would move to CBS.
While Gumbel has had an illustrious career, you have to mention his HBO series Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
Earning him a Peabody Award in 2012, the show has also earned him 32 Sports Emmy Awards.
D. L. Hughley, A Black Man Who Hosts Talk Shows
D. L. Hughley was born in Portsmouth, Virginia before growing up in South Central, Los Angeles.
While he fell into gang life, he would eventually leave it before earning his GED and getting a job with the Los Angeles Times.
His career really began in 1992 when he became the host of ComicView.
His resume also includes The Hughleys, the sitcom he wrote, produced, and starred in.
The series aired from 1998 to 2002.
While he mostly worked in comedy before, he is now often considered a political commentator as well.
He now hosts his own talk show, The D. L. Hughley Show, which has been on the air since 2019.
Black Male Talk Show Hosts, Conclusion
I don’t know about you, but this list makes me miss the day where talk shows were popular.
There’s something so nostalgic about sitting down and watching an hour of your favorite talk show.
And while you might not do it anymore, feel free to try on your next day off.
The hosts on this list will probably give you a few laughs, and if you want more, you can check some of them out on our list of the best Black stand up comedians with Netflix comedy specials.