16 Celebrities Who've Been Banned From Talk Shows
The reasons why these stars were not welcome range from politics to a "bread roll throwing incident."
It's pretty obvious when a celebrity talk show interview isn't going well. Usually, those chats follow the same format: The guest tells a funny story or two about their personal life or career, they promote their latest project, and they end things with a gracious thank you from the host. But, that's not always how a guest appearance plays out. Some talk show interviews take a left turn that can lead to the guest walking off stage or never being invited back. Some stars, like the following 16 celebrities, have been banned from talk shows. For some, it was due to a specific appearance that just went south. For others, it was because the host simply doesn't like them.
Read on to find out how these famous faces ended up banned, including a story about Madonna and a fateful piece of bread.
Joan Rivers was banned from The Tonight Show for nearly 30 years.
The comedian got her start there and had even been a guest host while Johnny Carson sat behind the desk. But, in 1986, Rivers got her own show on Fox, and Carson banned her from ever returning to The Tonight Show, claiming that she wasn't upfront with him about leaving for her own series. Jay Leno then kept the ban in place while he hosted the show "out of respect for Johnny." In 2014, Rivers finally returned to The Tonight Show stage when Jimmy Fallon took over as host. "Being in the studio brought back the most wonderful, wonderful memories of the night that jump-started my career," she told Variety.
Actor Dax Shepard was banned from Late Night with Conan O'Brien for years after a 2004 appearance that occurred while he was struggling with drug and alcohol use disorder. During his time on the show, the Punk'd star broke a small table while jokingly falling over, appeared to slur his words, and didn't stick to the stories he was supposed to tell. "I was banned from that show for some years, until I got sober," Shepard said on The Pursuit of Healthiness podcast in May 2021. He added that he went on to be interviewed by Conan O'Brien a "bazillion times."
During a May 2020 appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Rosie O'Donnell said that she banned former teen idol Leif Garrett from her show, claiming that he had a "fresh wound from a pipe that he used for crack" on his face the only time he came on. She said the injury occurred while he was waiting in the green room before the interview. Garrett disputed O'Donnell's story, however. "I was at that time, for that show, I was sober," he told TooFab.
"I don't know if she's got Alzheimer's or doesn't remember what happened, but it's on YouTube," Garrett explained. "You can watch the clip on YouTube. She said I had a little burn on my face from using crack, which is so not true." He did say that he had a drug use-related wound on his hand at the time, which he had covered with a scarf.
Controversial talk show host Piers Morgan has had a seemingly one-sided feud with Madonna for years, and it involves… bread? In 2011, Morgan explained to Access Hollywood why the pop star was banned from his CNN show.
"Madonna and I, we've never really seen eye-to-eye," he said. "There was a bread roll throwing incident in London in the mid '90s; there was an incident at a hotel in the south of France [at] the Cannes Film Festival involving a photographer and a bodyguard; there's been an incident involving a pub owned by her recently departed husband, Guy Ritchie, where my brother was the manager." He also claimed that when he wanted to break the news of Madonna's pregnancy, he was told by her rep that she wasn't pregnant, but the news broke in another publication the next day.
As reported by Spin, in 2012, Madonna's manager tweeted an email Morgan's U.K. show sent asking Madonna to appear on the show. Morgan then said that Madonna had only been banned from his U.S. show, but was now banned from both.
While being interviewed by Stephen Colbert as part of a fundraiser in 2012, Jon Stewart shared that he would "never" have Hugh Grant back on The Daily Show. As reported by Third Beat Magazine, Stewart said Grant spent his time on the show saying he had other places to be and complained about the clip from his movie, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, that was going to be shown. "He's giving everyone s*** the whole time, and he's a big pain in the a**," Stewart said.
In response, Grant wrote on Twitter, "Turns out my inner crab got the better of me with TV producer in 09. Unforgivable. J Stewart correct to give me kicking."
In 2010, Leno and O'Brien were involved in a talk show conflict so involved that it has its own Wikipedia page. There was a conundrum with both hosts' NBC contracts and O'Brien being promised he would become the new host of The Tonight Show. O'Brien did take over hosting The Tonight Show, but after seven months, Leno was reinstated. O'Brien then went on to host Conan on TBS and said he would never have Leno on as a guest.
"He can come as the musical guest, because that I want to see; no one knows he has an operatic range," O'Brien told Playboy in 2010 (via The Hollywood Reporter). But he added more seriously, "No, there are certain things I will not do, regardless of the price."
Unsurprisingly, there are numerous talk shows that will not have Donald Trump on as a guest. For starters, O'Donnell banned Trump long before his presidency. She told Vulture in June 2021 that she wouldn't have him on her show, which aired in the '90s and early 2000s, because she thought he was a hack.
More recently, Seth Meyers banned Trump from his show amid his 2016 campaign. "We instituted this ban despite the fact that he's never been here, or asked to be here, or would ever be caught dead here, and I just think that takes an amazing amount of courage on our part," Meyers joked.
Ellen DeGeneres is also among those who said they wouldn't interview Trump. "I don't want to give him a platform because it just validates him," the host said on her show.
Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump
Trump isn't the only member of his family banned—his older sons are, too. During a 2019 appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Jimmy Kimmel named Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. as the two guests he would not have on his show. Kimmel didn't elaborate on why at the time, but he did once say on his show of the family, "The president's son, Eric Trump… Is he the smart one? No, there are no smart ones."
Omarosa Manigault Newman
During Kimmel's appearance on Watch What Happens Live, host Andy Cohen also shared names of people he wouldn't have on his show, and one of them was Apprentice star and former aide to Donald Trump Omarosa Manigault Newman. Cohen had previously commented on the idea of the reality star becoming a Real Housewife. "That's a HARD PASS," the executive producer tweeted in 2018.
Vivica A. Fox
Another celebrity who has been banned from Jimmy Kimmel Live! is Vivica A. Fox, but for a far different reason than Trump's sons. When Fox appeared on Kimmel's show in 2005, he made fun of her friend Star Jones, and she ended up walking off before the interview was over, as reported by Hollywood.com. Kimmel then said during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live that he wouldn't have Fox back on. Later, during her own appearance on WWHL in 2015, Fox said, "He dissed my good friend Star Jones, and I had just been in her wedding. And, you know, I'm a ride or die chick. You're not going to talk about my sister." Fox also said she was surprised Kimmel said he banned her because he had already apologized to her at an event.
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All the Kardashians
Watch What Happens Live is the place to share who you don't want on your show. In 2012, Cohen asked Anderson Cooper who he wouldn't have on his daytime talkshow Anderson. Cooper didn't just choose one person, but instead the entire Kardashian family. Anderson also dissed the Kardashians on his show. He called the news of their reality TV show being renewed "depressing" and added, "The guys on it seem dreadful."
Comedian Kathy Griffin has said she is banned from numerous talk shows. During an interview with O'Donnell in 2012 (via HuffPost), Griffin said that she was banned from The Late Show "for years" after David Letterman was offended by her. She also said that she was banned from The View after making a joke about the show's creator and longtime co-host Barbara Walters having sex with Howard Stern. Then, she commented on an incident in which Jay Leno made her cry with a joke during an interview. She said she wasn't asked back to The Tonight Show for "a long time," but that they'd since made up.
Griffin had also claimed she was banned from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but DeGeneres said that wasn't quite the case in a 2007 interview with W magazine. DeGeneres called Griffin "very mean" and said, "I know she had a big thing about wanting to be on the show, and we didn't book her. She did a whole thing that I banned her from the show. I didn't ban her from the show, because first you have to be on the show to be banned."
Morgan has done some banning, and he's also been banned himself. O'Donnell banned Morgan from her OWN series The Rosie Show, which aired from 2011 to 2012. When O'Donnell was asked by Access Hollywood if there was anyone she wouldn't allow to come on, she said, "Yes, I've banned Piers Morgan. He banned Madonna for no reason when his show started, so I'm banning Piers Morgan! I don't have anybody banned, but if I have to make a list, he's on it." Madonna and O'Donnell are friends and worked together on the 1992 movie A League of Their Own.
Stern and Leno have long been embroiled in a feud that kicked off in 1995 when Stern made an appearance on The Tonight Show. According to Entertainment Tonight Canada, Stern brought two adult film stars on stage with him, who proceeded to make out in what Stern said was TV's first lesbian kiss. Leno reportedly said that Stern "s****** in his house," and he called into Stern's show and said that the radio host had "gone beyond the acceptable standards." Stern has been a strong critic of Leno in the years since and once called him a "spineless maggot." No surprise that he wasn't asked back.
And we're back to Morgan once again. Morgan banned Kelsey Grammer from his talk show after the Fraiser actor walked off set prior to a 2012 interview. Express UK reports that Grammer fled the scene after he saw that a photo of his ex-wife, Camille Grammer, was used in the opening for the episode. Morgan tweeted, "So, Kelsey Grammer saw a photo of his ex wife Camille in the open to our show and legged it. Extraordinary. Never had this happen before." Morgan also reportedly said that it would be the last time Grammer was invited. According to Express UK, Grammer's rep said in a statement, "Piers needs to take responsibility for what he did to Kelsey. It's called accountability."
Vince Vaughn was rumored to have been banned from The Ellen DeGeneres Show after appearing in a movie that included a homophobic joke. A trailer for 2011's The Dilemma showed Vaughn's character saying, "Electric cars are gay. I mean, not homosexual, but my-parents-are-chaperoning-the-dance gay." The line was then removed from the trailer, but kept in the movie. Page Six reported that DeGeneres wouldn't have Vaughn on the show afterward, but he did start appearing again a couple of years later. In a conflicting account, a source told Page Six that DeGeneres and Vaughn "love each other" and that he wasn't on the show because he wasn't promoting anything.