The biggest news in late night comedy this week has nothing to do with anything being broadcast on the airwaves. Conan O’Brien, the former host of “The Tonight Show” who walked away from his post at the beginning of the year in a storm of controversy and Jay Leno, kicks off his tour on Monday night (April 12). He’ll begin in Eugene, Oregon and cover over a dozen cities across the country. It will be interesting to see what he rolls out and how it plays into his potential return to television later this year.
But there are things happening on television too. Last week was a remarkably great few days for live music on talk shows, and this week is no different. “The Late Show with David Letterman” is on hiatus this week (perhaps they’re all taking the next few days off to celebrate the host’s birthday, which is today), but there are plenty of other people burning the midnight oil in an effort to entertain the sleepy and the unemployed. On “The Tonight Show,” Leno will have sets from Sade on Monday, Lady Antebellum on Tuesday (April 13) and Collective Soul on Friday (April 16). He’ll also chat with “30 Rock” star Tracy Morgan, Nicolas Cage, Hugh Jackman and Betty White.
“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” will follow with another fantastically eclectic group of musical guests, highlighted by the Specials on Tuesday, Kaki King on Wednesday (April 14) and the Flaming Lips on Friday. He’ll also talk to NFL prospect Ndamukong Suh, Green Day (to talk about “American Idiot”) and “Greenberg” breakout star Greta Gerwig.
But Jimmy Kimmel will top them all, as “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” features two nights worth of music from Them Crooked Vultures. The power trio — consisting of Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, Queens of the Stone Age mastermind Josh Homme and legendary Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones — will play both Monday and Tuesday night. And just to kick it up a notch, Kimmel will have Spoon play a song on Thursday’s show.
What is your favorite talk show for live music? Let us know in the comments!