Top 5 Best Talk Show Moments Ever

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When you combine dynamic talk show hosts and eccentric guests with rolling cameras, the resulting moments are sometimes awkward, embarrassing or entertaining. In some cases, the perfect storm hits and a talk show moment becomes iconic, taking on a life of its own.

5 Johnny Carson Eats a Potato Chip

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Johnny Carson had inumerable memorable moments in his 30 years as host of “The Tonight Show.” Few compared to the subtle but startling moment on October 16, 1987, when Carson pulled a fast one on “chip lady” Myrtle Young. As the collector of rare-shaped potato chips briefly looked away after going through the best characters and shapes in her collection, Carson seized the opportunity to crunch on a chip from a bowl nearby. Young’s shocked response and Carson’s immediate efforts to point out that he didn’t damage her prized collection were priceless.

4 Drew Barrymore Flashes David Letterman

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Somewhere between her stages of childhood innocence in films like “E.T.” and her mature adult roles in romantic comedies like 2009’s “He’s Just Not That Into You,” Drew Barrymore showed her wild side on a 1995 Letterman appearance. Barrymore came out for her interview and immediately climbed on Dave’s desk, danced for him and then flashed him. The ostensible motive: it was Letterman’s birthday.

3 Danny DeVito Drunk on “The View”

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Danny DeVito has had a number of fine moments in acting, including his role in the 1987 film “Throw Momma From the Train.” His 2006 appearance on ABC’s “The View,” though, likely won’t go down as one of the finest. DeVito appeared drunk and later acknowledged he was: he stumbled on set, slurred his speech, talked about private sexual encounters with his wife in the White House and aggressively poked fun at then-President George W. Bush.

2 Joaquin Phoenix Letterman Interview

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Joaquin Phoenix has long been recognized as one of Hollywood’s oddest actors. His February 11, 2009, appearance on “David Letterman” was one of the most awkward talk show moments ever. “Gawker” described Phoenix as “either stoned out of his mind or just medically catatonic” in its review of his appearance. During the interview, Letterman repeatedly poked fun at the actor for his lack of responsiveness and seeming incoherence. Debate among entertainment media members centered on whether Phoenix’s interview was genuine or staged as part of a documentary he was involved with at the time.

1 Tom Cruise Jumps on Oprah’s Couch

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Tom Cruise is one of Hollywood’s most celebrated actors. However, his personal reputation has taken quite a hit in the decade since he infamously jumped on Oprah’s couch on a May 23, 2005, episode of “Oprah.” Cruise’s motives were seemingly pure as he was excitedly sharing his love for Katie Holmes with the world. The moment marked a turn toward the weird for Cruise, though, who later made controversial remarks about his involvement in Scientology and his views on psychiatry to Matt Lauer.

neil.kokemuller@top5.com'

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and entertainment writer and content media developer since 2007. He has also been a college marketing professor since 2004. He has four years of additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business, and he holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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