13 Of Hollywood’s Best TV Chat Show Entrances

From Sean Connery in a jet pack to Bruce Willis in a pope hat

by Ali Plumb |
Published on

Footage of Nic Cage cartwheeling onto Terry Wogan’s chat show in 1992 resurfaced on the internet this week{ =nofollow}, leading to many discussions of whether The Artist Formerly Known As Nicolas Kim Coppola throwing wads of cash at an amazed audience is the finest chat show entrance of all time. It's a tough call, and to help you make it, here are 13 other joyfully ludicrous on-screen handshakes from Hollywood’s great and good.

Interviewee: Steve Martin

Interviewer: Jimmy Fallon

***Gimmick: ***Meandering (with style)

The Jerk that he is, Steve Martin takes his sweet goddamn time when Jimmy Fallon calls him to the stage. Playing the prancing prince backstage, he makes love to some mirrors on his way, fitting in some tap-dancing, a few high-fives and a good right hook to Death’s noggin for good measure. There’s also an excellent gag that’s so meta it almost deserves to go on this list but we won’t spoil it for you, and instead direct you towards the play button above.

Interviewee: Jim Carrey

Interviewer: Ellen

Gimmick: A trapdoor

After a carry-on involving a blatant plug for his film, A Christmas Carol, as well as a reference to that weather balloon incident that set the internet ablaze in 2010, Jim Carrey springs onto Ellen’s chat show through a trapdoor by the audience’s seats. Incidentally, the song that accompanies his arrival is 'Jimmy’ by M.I.A.{ =nofollow}, and yes, it will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

***Interviewee: ***Bruce Willis

Interviewer: David Letterman

Gimmick: Cycling as a form of public transport

After Bruce Willis’ jaw-droppingly awkward interviews in the UK – including but not limited to The One Show and ourselves – it’s easy to forget that the yippee-kayaker is perfectly capable of a smile, a bon mot or even a joke. Here’s just one for you, where he nicks a New York Citi Bike off a Late Show production assistant stranger and uses it you pedal his way into the studio over the road. For more humour from John McClane’s representative here on earth, enjoy this interview{ =nofollow}, where he sports a pope hat. Okay, fine, a mitre.

Interviewee: Sean Connery

Interviewer: David Letterman

***Gimmick: ***Flying in, Thunderball-style

Considering 007 #1 is the man who dropped the C-bomb – or, rather, the shee-bomb – on Parkinson{ =nofollow}, perhaps it’s not surprising that on one of his other chat show appearances he flew in via a rucksack propulsion system. It’s possible the glamorous female assistants handling the jetpack may have been a deciding factor for the world’s biggest Andy Murray fan, but that’s for him to say.

***Interviewee: ***Sam Rockwell

***Interviewer: ***Jimmy Fallon

Gimmick: DANCING!

Sam Rockwell loves to dance. He loves to dance so much that if you’re watching a Sam Rockwell movie, you’re guaranteed to see him dancing at one point or another – as this supercut proves, in fact. Outside of your local cinema, Rockwell’s jonesing for a jive gets a public fix most often on the set of Jimmy Fallon’s chat show, where he always brings the boogie. Things reached a peak when Fallon and Rockwell went head-to-head for one segment called “Improv Dance” last year. In other words, prepare to find out what a “Sassy Lasso” looks like and be sure to set up sufficient netting to catch all your blown mind.

***Interviewee: ***Dan Aykroyd

Interviewer: Jimmy Fallon

***Gimmick: ***Singing the blues

Many interviewers talking to Dan Aykroyd spend most of the conversation resisting the urge to shout “I LOVE THE BLUES BROTHERS” at his face, so kudos to Jimmy Fallon for going the whole hog and asking him to sing ‘Born In Chicago’ before settling down for a chat. Incidentally, if you ask for the same favour from him on the street, he will politely turn you down.

Interviewee: Charlie Sheen

***Interviewer: ***Conan

***Gimmick: ***A TANK

When you’re Charlie Sheen, you’re naturally reticent about appearing on Conan’s show. The bequiffed question wrangler’s studio is on the Warner Bros. lot, and Warner Bros. run Two And A Half Men, the sitcom Sheen was unceremoniously fired from years earlier. The solution: a tank. Also, two typically glamorous girls, but it’s mainly the tank you should be concentrating on.

***Interviewee: ***Bill Murray

Interviewer: David Letterman

***Gimmick: ***Bill Freakin’ Murray

The king of the overly-involved chat show entrance is Bill Murray. He’s been appearing as a guest on David Letterman’s show for over four decades, and recently he’s enjoyed turning up in a variety of outfits – as documented in our Bill Murray: 58 Unbelievable Moments Of Awesome feature – such as Peter Pan (see above) and Liberace. At one point, he was bound and gagged and “abducted” into the studio, but that’s now been taken down from YouTube. This is possibly payback from George Clooney for stealing his out-Neverlandish idea, as revealed here…

Interviewee: Bill Cosby

***Interviewer: ***Jimmy Fallon

Gimmick: Walking into the crowd

At 76 years of age, Bill Cosby has earned the right to do the doddery elder statesman gag whenever he feels like it. In this example, he blunders in front of the camera before sitting next to an audience member as if his host wasn’t there at all. He ends up pretending this unsuspecting stranger is Jimmy Fallon himself, making sure by looking at the hair on his legs (for some reason). He’s also done something similar with Jay Leno{ =nofollow}, but with marginally less funny results.

***Interviewee: ***Peter O’Toole

***Interviewer: ***David Letterman

Gimmick: A camel and a can of beer

It’s hard to overestimate the classiness of Peter O’Toole. Witness this truly legendary entrance to David Letterman’s mid-‘90s UK edition of The Late Show, where the eight-time Oscar-nominated actor ambles in wearing a three-piece suit and smoking a cigarette in a natty black holder. Also, he’s riding a camel. Offered a stepladder to help dismount, he leaps off all by himself before opening up a tin of Heineken and offering it his mount. His mount gratefully accepts.

***Interviewee: ***Martin Scorsese

Interviewer: Jimmy Kimmel / Guillermo

***Gimmick: ***One single take

Let’s call it a noble failure. Though it was no doubt a good idea on paper, actually filming a tracking shot of Martin Scorsese moseying through Jimmy Kimmel Live’s corridors before being “interviewed” – read: “asked to leave” – by Kimmel’s assistant Guillermo doesn’t quite work. A tip of the cap to Scorsese for being game, but for genuine LOLs from Marty, check out his work with Jonah Hill and Jimmy Fallon. #ShutTheFuckUp

Interviewee: Mel Gibson

Interviewer: David Letterman

***Gimmick: ***A horse and a hammer

Braveheart was one hell of a film, and it deserved one hell of a press tour. Enter Mel Gibson, on a horse, wielding a massive hammer. On his way, a pedestrian, a hotdog seller and even a cameraman are blessed with the blunt thump of Mjölnir's little brother, and an overawed audience duly stand up and clap him and his equine acquaintance up onto the stage. Also, David Letterman is wearing shorts, which is nice for him (if not for us).

Interviewee: Kevin Bacon

Interviewer: Jimmy Fallon

***Gimmick: ***Dancing with loose feet

Though he enjoys dancing with Sam Rockwell more than anything else in the universe, Jimmy Fallon decided to ban foot-tapping outright for just one night. "Say it ain't so!" and so forth. But with Kevin Bacon in the studio for an interview, it made sense

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