Talk show bloopers that were too good to cut

Whether you consider yourself an early bird, a night owl, or an afternoon penguin (that's totally a thing), you've likely found yourself suddenly enthralled by some kind of talk show while flipping through the channels. Considering most talk shows are filmed in front of a live studio audience, you've probably also witnessed your share of on-air mishaps. 

Though many bloopers will often be cut to save face, some television execs actually have a sense of humor. Luckily for us, the following talk show blunders were too entertaining to leave on the cutting room floor.

Andy Kaufman and the slap heard around the world

Though Andy Kaufman was a bonafide celebrity, the comedian maintained a shroud of mystery that surrounds his legacy to this day. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Kaufman detailed how he imagined his own live talk show would play out, complete with fatal trapeze accidents and being held hostage on-air. "But people would always wonder," he told the magazine. "What's real? What's not? That's what I do in my act, test how other people deal with reality."

Perhaps that explains David Letterman's look of sheer fear and confusion when wrestler Jerry Lawler stood up during a joint interview with Kaufman and backhanded the eccentric comedian with such force that Kaufman fell out of his chair. Letterman was visibly uncomfortable as Kaufman stormed around the set dropping some choice four-letter words. If this was one of Kaufman's infamous acts, Letterman certainly wasn't in on the joke.

In an interview with Film Fad, Lawler had only pleasant things to say about Kaufman. Despite the heated spat on Letterman's show, he maintained the two never shared any type of animosity, saying, "Without a doubt, Andy was the greatest thing to ever happen to my career." What even is real anymore?

Drew Barrymore lets it all hang out for David Letterman

It seems that Letterman was a magnet for eccentric guests and some of the most memorable and talked-about moments of late-night television. In 1995, Drew Barrymore was no longer just a child star. She was on the brink of starring in such movies as Scream, The Wedding Singer, and Ever After that would propel her to international stardom. Hollywood was Barrymore's for the taking, and the 20 year old was sure to make the most of every moment. 

That's why Barrymore's spur-of-the-moment decision to jump on top of Letterman's desk during an interview and perform a sultry dance number for his birthday was a shock to, well, no one. The audience clapped and cheered for the young actress as she jokingly shimmied around in what could be a serious contender for the most '90s outfit of all time. Barrymore's innocent little jig quickly changed when she suddenly lifted her crop top and exposed her bare breasts to an unsuspecting Letterman. 

Though the actual flashing lasted for less than a second, Barrymore still looks back on the memory of that fateful appearance with a certain fondness. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the actress and mother recalled her instant "fun chemistry" with Letterman, saying, "He was so accepting of me." It's safe to assume Letterman is quite fond of the memory, as well. 

Paul Rudd can't stop pranking Conan

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times – c'mon, Paul Rudd. 

Lovable talk show host Conan O'Brien seems like a pretty sharp-minded dude, so how does Rudd manage to pull off the exact same prank every time he's a guest on O'Brien's show? That mystery may never be solved. Whatever the answer, we're certainly not complaining at the opportunity to see one of our Hollywood crushes commit the perfect crime — err, prank. 

It's a simple concept. Rudd appears as a guest on O'Brien's show to promote his current project. The two exchange friendly, funny banter for a while before O'Brien asks Rudd to introduce a clip from his newest movie, which the actor happily does. Then, the audience is shown an action-packed (and completely contextless) scene from the '80s cult favorite Mac and Me. 

The clip from the E.T. inspired kid's movie features a wheelchair-bound boy falling from a cliff and into a lake as an alien-like CGI creature watches from afar with wide-eyed concern. The scene is a classic '80s level of cheesy and, you guessed it, never once features Rudd. Good thing O'Brien knows how to take a joke — again, and again, and again. 

Questlove gets all choked up

Every fan of late-night talk shows knows that the key to success lies within the house band. Perhaps that explains why Jimmy Fallon is one of the most beloved talk show hosts on television. The Roots, the jazzy hip hop ensemble famously from Philadelphia, signed on to be Fallon's house band a year before the funnyman took over Late Night on NBC. The band's lovable, larger-than-life leader and drummer, Questlove, recalled how Fallon won The Roots over in an interview with Brooklyn magazinesaying, "[Fallon] was so silly that it made us silly."

Silliness is undoubtedly a must when working with Fallon, the guy notorious for breaking character and laughing throughout sketches during his time as a Saturday Night Live cast member. He certainly isn't one to shy away from an opportunity for a good laugh, even if it's at someone else's expense! A perfect example of this is comedy duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele's visit to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2012. 

Peele briefly mentions Questlove's name and the camera cuts to the drummer just as he begins choking on a gulp of water. It's a moment that perfectly encapsulates the beauty of live, unscripted television. Fallon seems to love revisiting the clip as much as we do, proving that a good ol' fashioned spit-take will never not be funny.

Katie Couric falls for James Corden

It's easy to look at the glitz and glam of Hollywood and forget that celebrities are just people like us. It's especially easy to forget if the celebrity in question is as seemingly flawless as celebrated news anchor (and total fitness goals) Katie Couric. 

Formerly the host of her own talk show (Katie), the journalist and bestselling author rarely has a misspoken word or hair out of place. So when Couric stopped by The Late Late Show with James Corden in 2015, fans were expecting to see an impeccably dressed, perfectly poised Couric in all her razor sharp, witty glory. Couric had a different plan. 

As the segment begins, the English host cheerfully welcomes Couric to the show. But Couric doesn't come running – she comes tumbling. That's right, the woman who has quite possibly never missed a beat in her life is suddenly tumbling down a set of stairs like a slinky with far less grace. Concerned, the audience immediately stops cheering as Corden rushes to Couric's side, clearly panicked and dropping a number of choice four-letter words on his way. 

As the host calls for medical attention and worriedly asks Couric if she's alright, the real Katie Couric suddenly appears from behind the curtains like an actual angel and wishes Corden a happy April Fool's Day. The woman on the ground? A Katie Couric stunt double, of course. Judging by his mortified reaction, it's unlikely Corden will ever again forget to check his calendar before a show. 

Everybody gets a broken TV

If there's one thing Ellen DeGeneres is best known for, it's the sheer amount of joy she brings to both her studio audience and the folks watching from home. The notably generous comedian is famous for surprising her fans with lavish prizes and gigantic checks (literally, they're huge). While DeGeneres seems to treat her fans as if it were Christmas every day, she switches to full-on Santa mode when the holidays roll around. 

In The Ellen Show's annual "12 Days of Giveaways" segment, DeGeneres gives away gift cards, all-inclusive resort trips, and state-of-the-art technology to crowds of screaming fans. Seeing unsuspecting audience members jumping for joy and crying happy tears is truly priceless. Not so priceless? A flatscreen. 

In one of The Ellen Show's most memorable moments, Degeneres' helper elf rolls out one of 2008's prizes for "12 Days of Giveaways" — a flatscreen television. The audience can barely contain themselves as he cheerfully wheels out the prize, prancing along to the Christmas tune as a giant cup of coffee dances gleefully behind him. 

All is going according to plan until our elf friend starts to really get into the holiday spirit, accidentally tipping over the television while DeGeneres watches in horror as it shatters. Like true professionals, the elf and his giant cup of dancing coffee saunter away as if nothing happened, leaving Degeneres laughing hysterically and crying happy tears of her own. It's all fun and games until someone breaks a television, kids. Then it's hilarious.

Dance 'til you drop

Dancing takes some serious skill. Dancing in high heels takes some serious courage. Dancing in high heels on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon takes you for a ride. That is, if you're Meghan Trainor. 

The "All About That Bass" songstress stopped by 30 Rockefeller Plaza to perform her new song, "Me Too," along with some killer dance moves. Trainor is mesmerizing as she effortlessly glides and strides across the stage, exuding nothing but grace and confidence as she dons skyscraper heels. As her band plays the final notes of the song, the popstar shimmies with her back turned toward the audience before whipping around to grab the microphone, losing her balance, and immediately falling to the ground. 

What could have been an incredibly embarrassing moment for Trainor was partly salvaged by Fallon as he happily joined the singer on the floor, laughing with her and helping her up before closing out the show. Kudos to Trainor for being able to laugh at herself, and kudos to Fallon for making it seem like busting your butt in front of all of America is no big deal. We'll take his word for it!

Emma Stone really, really wants to spice up her life

What girl doesn't love the Spice Girls? No matter how old you get, you'll never be too much of an adult to sing every word to "Wannabe" at the top of your lungs in rush hour traffic. Emma Stone is every girl of the '90s when she adorably admits her undying love for the English pop group during a visit to The Graham Norton Show. Norton jokingly asks Stone if her rumored obsession with the girl band is real, to which she responds with an impassioned "Yes, it's real!"

"I was a fiend," Stone says. "I was obsessed with the Spice Girls. They taught me about girl power and I love them." After letting Stone gush about her favorite Spice Girl, Emma Bunton, Norton mischievously asks, "Have you ever met a Spice Girl?" His mysterious, mischievous tone is not lost on Stone, who promptly begins to freak out as Norton continues to hint that a Spice Girl is in the building. 

"As you know, it is very rare for more than one Spice Girl to appear together," Norton says to Stone as she scans the room with eyes that are all at once hopeful and horrified. A drum roll commences, Stone freezes in anticipation, and Norton finally spills the beans. "They're not here," he says, single handedly crushing the hopes of not only Stone, but every woman who knows all too well the struggles of being a hardcore fan girl. Stone is quite possibly the most relatable celebrity on Earth.

Tom Cruise is crazy in love on Oprah

If there's one thing nearly every American can agree on, it's that Tom Cruise absolutely lost his marbles when he spilled the beans about his relationship with Katie Holmes on The Oprah Winfrey Show. When was the last time you thrust your arms toward the heavens, fell to your knees, then jumped around and laughed hysterically like someone who just won a car on The Price is Right? If your answer is "never," you are not alone. If your answer is "that one time on Oprah," you are Tom Cruise.

Cruise's interview with Oprah is an entertaining (and uncomfortable) lesson in how to not play it cool even a little bit. "I honestly haven't had this kind of feeling before," Cruise says before jumping on Oprah's couch again. In a very Jim Halpert move, Oprah then looks directly into the camera. "The boy has lost it," she says. Years removed from the couch jump felt 'round the world, Oprah is still not impressed. In an interview with TV Guide, the beloved Queen of Daytime said she never thought Cruise's appearance would "turn into the brouhaha that it did." 

Cruise might have permanently damaged his career (and that couch) on that fateful afternoon, but you know what they say, "One man's loss is America's favorite YouTube video."

Zip it, Kelly

The term "wardrobe malfunction" quickly became a staple of the English language after an unfortunate experience with Justin Timberlake during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII left one of Janet Jackson's breasts exposed. Society has been using the term to describe the slightest fashion-related mishap ever since, though a "wardrobe malfunction" certainly carries different severity. 

Jackson's Super Bowl show was a level three wardrobe malfunction. The run in your panty hose is a level one wardrobe malfunction (though a level infinity on the scale of mild annoyances). Kelly Ripa's zipper debacle on Live! With Regis and Kelly is a level two wardrobe malfunction. 

If you haven't seen Ripa struggle to zip her skirt on-air, maybe it's because you were too busy trying to zip your skirt. Being a woman is tough, and zippers don't make the job any easier. Always one to lend a helping hand, cohost Regis Philbin gives it a go before delivering some crucial information. "I really think the zipper is stuck," he says in a surprise to no one. Zippers: the real feminine mystique.