Craig Kilborn

Craig Kilborn (born August 24, 1962) is an American comedian, sports and political commentator, actor, and television host. He was the first host of The Daily Show, a former anchor on ESPN's SportsCenter, and Tom Snyder's successor on CBS' The Late Late Show. On June 28, 2010, he launched The Kilborn File after a six-year absence from television. The Kilborn File aired on some Fox stations during a six-week trial run. In comedy, he is known for his deadpan delivery.[1]

Craig Kilborn
Kilborn in 2012
Birth nameCraig Lawrence Kilborn
Born (1962-08-24) August 24, 1962
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
MediumStand-up, television, film, books
EducationHastings High School
Alma materMontana State University
Years active1986–present
GenresPolitical/news satire, observational comedy, cringe comedy, blue comedy, insult comedy, deadpan
Subject(s)Mass media/news media/media criticism, American politics, American culture, current events, pop culture
Notable works and rolesSportsCenter
The Daily Show
The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn

Early life

The son of Shirley, a school teacher, and Hiram Kilborn, an insurance executive, Craig Kilborn was born in Kansas City and moved to Hastings, Minnesota, where he was raised, at four years of age.[2] Kilborn was taller than his peers from an early age, standing out on the playground and then the basketball court as he got older, eventually growing to 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m).[3] In the 9th grade, Kilborn was recruited by the Northside Magicians, an all-star basketball team in Minneapolis. He excelled with the Magicians and with the team at Hastings High School as well, earning three letters and multiple all-conference and all-state honors. After graduation, he accepted a scholarship to play for Montana State University, where he earned dual bachelor's degrees in theater arts and media in 1984.[4][5][6][7]



Kilborn began his television career in California as the sports anchor for Monterey County's Fox affiliate KCBA in Salinas. Some of his on-air work included covering the Gilroy Garlic Festival and playing bocce with the locals near Cannery Row. Kilborn lived in nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea. Prior to KCBA, Kilborn was the CBA Savannah Spirits's play-by-play radio commentator in 1986 and 1987.[8]


After several small jobs, Kilborn became an ESPN SportsCenter anchor from 1993 to 1996. He was primarily the anchor of the late broadcast of SportsCenter which he coined "The Feel Good Edition". His numerous catch phrases included "Release, Rotation, Splash", "Jumanji", and "Oh, Precious". He made a return appearance to SportsCenter on August 8, 2004, when he co-hosted SportsCenter with Dan Patrick during ESPN's 25th Anniversary Celebration.

Late-night hosting

The Daily Show

In 1996, Kilborn became host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. During his three-year tenure, The Daily Show was named "Best Late Night Comedy" by TV Guide. Kilborn was also nominated for a CableACE Award for Outstanding Entertainment Host. Popular features Kilborn created at The Daily Show include: "5 Questions", "Moment for Us", "Dance, Dance, Dance", and "Your Moment of Zen" (a feature continued by later hosts).

In a 1997 interview with Esquire, Kilborn made jokes regarding Daily Show co-creator and head writer Lizz Winstead, saying, "To be honest, Lizz does find me very attractive. If I wanted her to blow me, she would."[9] Kilborn apologized publicly and pointed out that the remarks were "said in jest", but he was suspended for a week.

In 1998, CBS and David Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, selected Kilborn to replace Tom Snyder as host of The Late Late Show to run after Late Show with David Letterman. His final Daily Show episode aired on December 17, 1998, ending a 386-episode tenure. On January 11, 1999, Jon Stewart replaced Kilborn as host of The Daily Show.

On August 6, 2015, he made a cameo appearance on The Daily Show as part of Jon Stewart's last episode. It was his first appearance on the show since he left as host.

The Late Late Show

Kilborn hosted The Late Late Show for five years, changing the format to appeal to a younger audience. On the show, he popularized segments such as "Yambo" and "5 Questions". He created several characters, including Sebastian, the Asexual Icon. He also narrated his own introduction and would enter to the sound of the song "Play That Funky Music" at the beginning of his show.

In August 2004, he elected not to extend his contract, referring to it as "early retirement". In a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times Kilborn said "I didn't leave to do anything else, I left to leave. I achieved my career goals and it wasn't all it was cracked up to be."

In a June 2010 interview, promoting his new show The Kilborn File, Kilborn stated that he left late night television due to his thinking that the late night timeslot was "crowded" and "the formats repetitive" and that he wanted to be part of "the first comedy show at dinner time". Kilborn's last episode of The Late Late Show aired on August 27, 2004. The Scottish-born American comedian Craig Ferguson took over the show on January 3, 2005."[3][10]

The Kilborn File

Craig Kilborn returned to television on June 28, 2010 after six years off the air, when his new half-hour show The Kilborn File debuted on select Fox stations.[11] The show aired for a six-week test run on a 7:00 pm time slot in most markets, but was not well received.[12] Christine Lakin was his sidekick. The show brought back many of the hallmark segments from his time on The Daily Show and The Late Late Show, such as "5 Questions" and a segment similar to "Yambo" (with some minor rule changes and a name change to "Kilbo" and later to "Kilbyashi").[13][14] The show was not renewed.

Other work

In 2003, Kilborn had a role in the movie Old School, as "Mark", the philandering boyfriend of Ellen Pompeo's character. In the 2006 film The Benchwarmers, Kilborn played Jerry, the bully to Jon Heder, David Spade, and Rob Schneider's nerdy roles, and in 2011, Kilborn played the villain in an episode of the television show Chuck during its final season.

Kilborn guest hosted The Artie Lange Show on November 6–8, 2013.

He appeared in a TV commercial for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in 2016.[15]



Year Title Role Notes
2003 Pauly Shore is Dead Himself
2003 Old School Mark
2005 Cursed Himself
2006 The Shaggy Dog Baxter
2006 The Benchwarmers Jerry
2007 Full of It Mike Hanbo
2014 The Extendables Kilborn
2015 The Bronze Heath Parker


Year Title Role Notes
1993–1997 SportsCenter Himself 500 episodes
1996–1998 The Daily Show Himself (host) 386 episodes; also writer
1999–2004 The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn Himself (host) 1,190 episodes; also writer
1999 The Bold and the Beautiful Nurse Episode: "1.307"
1999 Martial Law Lewis Episode: "The Friendly Skies"
2000 JAG Himself Episode: "JAG TV"
2001 Yes, Dear Himself Episode: "Kentucky Top Hat"
2002 Resurrection Blvd. Himself Episode: "En un Momento"
2010 The Kilborn File Himself (host) 30 episodes; also creator, writer, executive producer
2011 Chuck Roger Bale Episode: "Chuck versus the Zoom"
2015 BoJack Horseman Michael Morgan (voice) Episode: "Chickens"
2017 Workaholics Kurt Fossil Episode: "Party Gawds"


  • The Daily Show's Five Questions from Comedy Central (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1998) ISBN 978-0836253252

Awards and nominations

Year Award Nominated work Result
1997 CableACE Award for Best Entertainment Host The Daily Show Nominated
2003 Teen Choice Award for Choice TV – Late Night The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn Nominated
2004 Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Late Night The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn Nominated


  1. Lel, Richard (31 May 1997). "The Deadpan Zone". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  2. "Craig Kilborn Biography (1962-)". Retrieved 2012-05-30.
  3. Flint, Joe (2010-06-28). "Craig Kilborn breaks his silence - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2012-05-30.
  4. "Where are they now: Craig Kilborn". Mslacat's Blog. May 20, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  5. "Kilborn thrown to the Wolves". ESPN Page 3. February 13, 2004. Archived from the original on September 4, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  6. "Kilborn was an 'all right' guy, says former coach". Daily Courier. Prescott, Arizona. Associated Press. April 1, 1999. p. 6A.
  7. "Craig Kilborn: Host to dedicate show to alma mater". Sunday Star-News. Wilmington, North Carolina. March 11, 2001. p. 2A.
  8. "FOX Sports on MSN - NBA - Focused O'Neal, Tinsley can carry Pacers". Retrieved 2012-05-30.
  9. Colton, Michael (1999-04-04). "Lizz Winstead Returns ... and So Does Marv". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on 2010-09-08. Retrieved 2010-01-17.
  10. "Craig Kilborn on Good Day LA (The Kilborn File)". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  11. Fox to Test Kilborn in Seven Markets This Summer Broadcasting & Cable May 19, 2010
  12. Five Weeks In, 'Kilborn' Ratings Stand Still Broadcasting & Cable August 3, 2010
  13. The Kilborn File - Alex Meraz 2/2 YouTube July 6, 2010
  14. The Kilborn File - Mia Wasikowska 2/2 YouTube July 16, 2010
  15. "Kraft Mac & Cheese Conducted World's Largest "Blind Taste Test"". Business Wire. March 7, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
Media offices
New show Host of The Daily Show
Succeeded by
Jon Stewart
Preceded by
Tom Snyder
Host of The Late Late Show
Succeeded by
Craig Ferguson
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