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13 Actors Who Got Themselves Banned From Popular Talk Shows

Every star has a duty to promote their movies and television shows through endless interviews. That often means lengthy laps around the talk show circuit. Some actors love getting to shoot the breeze with Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien, and Seth Meyers. Others hate this part of their job description and rarely make any talk show appearances. 

Then there are those actors who aren't allowed to appear on certain talk shows at all. When an actor is banned from a talk show, it's typically because of a previous appearance where something went wrong. Maybe they made inflammatory statements, fought with the host, or were generally just a bad guest. There can be any number of reasons an actor isn't allowed as a guest on a popular show. So don't touch that dial: we're about to count down a list of actors who've been banned from talk shows and get into just what went awry.

1. Vivica A. Fox

In the 1990s, Vivica A. Fox was a major star. She hasn't been part of a blockbuster hit in decades, but she's more than capable of a comeback at any time — except on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," following a bitter feud with its host that has seen her banned as a guest.

It all started in 2005 when Fox was a guest on Kimmel's late-night show, per BET. During his usual snappy, joke-laden guest introduction of the former "Soul Food" star, Kimmel made a crack about one of Fox's close friends, "The View" host Star Jones. What ensued was an awkward and uncomfortable interview that saw Fox pushing back on Kimmel's insults. Though Kimmel defended his position that friendly jabs and jokes go "both ways" and tried to salvage the interview, Fox wasn't pleased, and ultimately walked off the stage midway through.

Speaking to Bravo host Andy Cohen nearly a decade later, Kimmel said he had then banned Fox from the show. He even suggested Fox may have been using drugs during her initial appearance. This didn't sit well with Fox for obvious reasons, and the two Hollywood stars haven't seemed eager to encounter each other since.

2. Dax Shepard

In the mid-2000s, Dax Shepard was something of an up-and-comer, appearing in slacker comedies like "Employee of the Month," "Idiocracy," and "Let's Go to Prison." It was around the time he'd finally cleaned himself up after a struggle with substance abuse, allowing him to achieve a solid career in Hollywood. Before he was able to get sober, Shepard was banned from one of the biggest late-night shows.

During an appearance on the podcast "The Pursuit of Healthiness" (courtesy of Far Out Magazine), Shepard talked about a 2004 interview he did on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" while he was at a particularly low point. "I had done the pre-interview in a blackout, and I woke up to the hotel security shaking me awake," he admitted. After being rushed to the set of the show, a disastrous interview with host Conan O'Brien ensued. "I don't know what he's talking about. I can tell he's queuing me up for stories I've told, but I don't know any of the stories. So, I'm just doing what I can to be funny out there, and I am a mess." he recalled. "So I was banned from that show for some years until I got sober."

Since getting clean, the actor has been on Conan's various shows many more times.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

3. William Shatner

As the captain of the starship Enterprise, William Shatner went boldly where no man had gone before on "Star Trek" as the iconic James T. Kirk. He played the role in the 1960s on TV, voiced him in animation in the '70s, and brought him to the big screen for feature films through the 1980s. While he could defeat alien entities, vengeful madmen, and Klingon warlords, he finally met his match in the form of "The Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson.

Some guests are banned for giving controversial interviews, being belligerent and combative, or even for being under the influence of illicit substances, but not Shatner. No, he was apparently given the heave-ho for not being able to shut up. Though it received little press at the time, Shatner came clean about it in his 2011 memoir "Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large." In a particularly lively passage about his adventures in talk show land, Shatner talked about what happened, saying bluntly, "I was even banned from Carson after a mid-1980s appearance where I talked too much and monopolized our discussion. It seems some of these talk show hosts prefer to be the ones who get all the laughs." 

Despite getting the proverbial boot, Shatner returned to the series years later after Carson had departed, interviewed by the likes of Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon.

4. Howie Mandel

Howie Mandel has been a successful stand-up comedian, actor, and reality show presenter. He's hosted the game show "Deal or No Deal" and even had his own cartoon. Despite his jovial attitude and good-natured persona, he wound up on the wrong side of talk show host Piers Morgan, who was a fellow judge of Mandel's on the reality competition show "America's Got Talent."

In a chat with Access Hollywood Live, Morgan called Mandel "the most annoying man in the history of planet Earth," saying, "I actually want to torture and dismember [him]." Though his desire for violence may be hyperbole, he claimed in 2011 that Mandel was not going to be allowed to appear as a guest on his highly-publicized new talk show when it premiered (per Entertainment Weekly). Mandel did end up appearing on the show in 2012 — but it didn't go well.

Mandel may have gotten the last laugh, because "Piers Morgan Live" didn't last very long, canceled just three years after its launch due to low ratings.

5. Hugh Grant

British icon Hugh Grant was nominated for an Emmy for best actor in 2020 and 2019 for his roles in prestige dramas "A Very English Scandal" and "The Undoing." While his recent success on the small screen has garnered him accolades, there was a time when he was a bigger name on the big screen, particularly after his leading role in the iconic rom-com "Four Weddings and a Funeral." During the peak of that fame, he was arrested for soliciting a sex worker in 1995. 

Yet no such scandalous behavior got him banned from "The Daily Show" in 2001. As reported by Third Beat at the time, then-host Jon Stewart appeared at a charity fundraiser in Montclair, New Jersey, and talked about never wanting Grant back on the show. He described a frustrating appearance during which Grant complained about the clip they were using from his recent film. "He's giving everyone s*** the whole time, and he's a big pain in the ass," Stewart told the audience before describing the English actor as the worst guest they'd ever had. "And we've had dictators on the show."

In a rare break from celebrities hitting back at a talk show host over a banning, Grant actually admitted he was in the wrong. In 2012, he addressed the situation on Twitter, telling his fans, "Turns out my inner crab got the better of me," and agreed that he was right to have been banned.

6. Madonna

In the 1980s, pop star Madonna was known for her controversial songs, with hits such as "Like a Virgin" and "Papa Don't Preach" riling conservative America. It wasn't this taboo material that got her on British talk show host Piers Morgan's blacklist. He apparently banned her from multiple shows he's hosted. In an interview with Access Hollywood in 2011, Morgan made it clear that his acrimony towards the Queen of Pop was personal, and described what he called "a series of crimes" against him.

"Something has happened with Madonna, a few things have gone down between Madonna and I," Morgan told host Billy Bush. "There's a few things have happened. She knows." Though he once claimed that she was both "boring" and "annoying," it seems the source of his animosity began decades ago and has continued since. "Madonna and I, we've never really seen eye-to-eye," the British presenter 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 ... [ex-] husband, Guy Ritchie, where my brother was the manager."

Morgan hasn't let up in his attacks on the fair-haired pop star either. In 2023, he caused controversy by calling her the "biggest cringe-making fiasco in world entertainment" (per Yahoo).

7. Kelsey Grammer

Piers Morgan seems to have a problem with everyone in Hollywood. Another target of his ire is "Frasier" star Kelsey Grammer, though this time it might be for more understandable reasons. While his feuds with other celebs seem frivolous — stemming from personal dislike or childish antics — Morgan's reason for banning Grammer has its roots in an appearance the sitcom star made in 2012. 

In an incident chronicled by the Huffington Post, Grammer was due to sit in for an appearance on "Piers Morgan Live" and wasn't happy when the show used an image of his ex-wife Camille Donatacci in its opening. Grammer and Donatacci had a troubled relationship and divorced in 2010. While he'd been booked as the featured guest, when the time came, Grammer was a no-show. 

"Never had this happen before," Morgan told his audience on the day, calling the whole affair "weird." On Twitter, he told fans "I like Kelsey Grammer personally, but this was a shockingly unprofessional thing to do. I wasn't even going to mention his ex-wife!" Regardless, as a result of the walk-off, Morgan opted to publicly ban Grammer from the show forever more to prevent a repeat incident.

8. Joan Rivers

Late-night talk shows have spawned plenty of famous fights, from the sparring of Jay Leno and David Letterman to... Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien. Back in the '80s, one of the most famous feuds had nothing to do with Jay Leno, as then-host of "The Tonight Show" Johnny Carson had a well-known grudge against comedian Joan Rivers. In 1965, she appeared as a guest on "The Tonight Show" for the first time, and as the '80s dawned, she became the de facto host any time Johnny Carson needed a night off. But things were never the same when Rivers became the host of her own talk show.

Following Rivers' death in 2014, CNN aired a segment about her relationship with Carson, which included clips of the comedian talking about feeling hurt by Carson's refusal to speak to her after she got her own gig. "Fox came with this amazing offer and we took it," she said, reflecting on how she got her first show. "[Carson] was the first one I called." But Carson wasn't happy that Rivers had gotten her show, and apparently hung up on her, which destroyed their friendship.

From then on, Rivers was banned from "The Tonight Show," a prohibition that continued even when Jay Leno took over. "I didn't want to do it while Johnny was alive out of respect for Johnny," Leno told Access Hollywood in 2014. "I don't think he wanted to see her on the show and that's why we didn't do it." In one of her final interviews before her passing however, incoming host Jimmy Fallon would break the ban, talking with Rivers in her triumphant return to the program.

9. Kathy Griffin

While there are plenty of celebrities and actors who were banned by hosts of a single talk show, controversial comedian Kathy Griffin says she's been banned from several of them. In fact, she seems to delight in being barred from so many shows, not just because she likes being scandalous or obnoxious, but because she's proud of the reasons she's been prohibited from the likes of "The Talk." 

As revealed by Newsweek in 2022, Griffin told her followers on Twitter that she'd been banned thanks to her vocal criticism of CBS chairman Les Moonves, throwing her weight behind allegations of sexual assault that have dogged him for years. Griffin also spoke about her other bans in a chat with fellow comedienne Rosie O'Donnell in 2012 (via Huffington Post). She discussed her embargo from David Letterman's show in the 1990s and her continued presence on the blacklist over at "The View" (where O'Donnell had also been a host at one point).

That's still not the end of it, as Griffin's ongoing battle with Ellen DeGeneres left her uninvited, if not outright banned. Sparked by Griffin's defense of Joan Rivers, the two wound up nearly at each other's throats, with vitriol apparently hurled both ways (per Variety).

10. Norman Reedus

"The Walking Dead" may be famous for killing off some of its most popular characters, but (spoiler alert) Norman Reedus has proven too much of a fan favorite to get the axe. Reedus' character, the crossbow-wielding, chopper-riding Daryl Dixon, is one of the few characters to live through the entire series — in fact, he's set for a spin-off. Yet Reedus has at least one nemesis: radio talk show host Howard Stern, who Reedus claims refuses to have him on his show.

While appearing as a guest on the podcast Real Ones, hosted by his former "Walking Dead" co-star Jon Bernthal (relayed by Comicbook.com), Reedus lamented the banning, as he is a huge fan of Stern. While he couldn't explain what led to the ban, Bernthal had a theory. According to Bernthal, Stern's dislike of Reedus likely stems from an encounter the actor had with the talk show host's wife Beth Ostrosky, who also happens to be a big fan of the actor. 

As Bernthal described it, Stern has suggested there was some kind of flirtation between Ostrosky and Reedus, though the latter insisted nothing ever happened between them. By Reedus' account, he only chatted with Stern's wife over their mutual love of cats. Bernthal however seems to think that Stern has become obsessed with their meeting, and as a result, wants nothing to do with Reedus.

11. Artie Lange

Dax Shepard wouldn't be the last time that host Conan O'Brien had to bring the hammer down on an actor suffering from substance abuse. It happened again later that same decade when comedian and frequent Howard Stern cohort Artie Lange became the subject of another banning, with Conan and studio executives concerned that Lange might be relapsing into drug abuse. 

In an interview with the New York Daily News, Lange denied the allegations, but according to the paper, producers of the talk show had reason to be cautious as Lange had admitted to some excess the previous year. Yet he continued to insist he was sober, and was confused by being denied a guest spot on "Late Night" after two previous appearances, telling the Daily News "I am sober. I can't be a third guest? I mean, I'm not asking to bump George Clooney."

But the ban wouldn't last forever. In 2012, Lange would appear as a guest on "Conan" on TBS, where O'Brien made clear that past treatment of Lange was out of nothing but concern for his health.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

12. Gilbert Gottfried

The late comedian Gilbert Gottfried is known to many for his wacky, off-the-wall persona and his silly voice. He played iconic roles in "Aladdin" and "Problem Child," but what kids who loved those movies may not have known was his filthy side. In fact, he even had a comedy album simply titled "Dirty Jokes." His vulgarity isn't what got him banned from a talk show. It's still something of a mystery why Gottfried's longtime friend Howard Stern — another funny man known for his foul mouth — refused to have him on as a guest for years.

None other than Artie Lange confirmed that Gottfried was banned, announcing it on Twitter in 2018. Lange suggested it may have simply been because he wasn't a popular draw, while others believe it started with a 2010 incident where Gottfried spit in a batch of cupcakes. Stern himself has yet to comment on why Gottfried wasn't allowed back on the show, and unless he's willing to open up about just what happened between them, this is one ban that may forever remain a mystery.

13. Brad Garrett

It seems that "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson — for all his reputation as a generous man – has a bitter streak that left him holding quite a few grudges. In addition to Joan Rivers and William Shatner, "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Brad Garrett got on his bad side too, and after one infamous incident wasn't allowed back on the show

As mentioned by Variety, Garrett was banned from "The Tonight Show" after defying orders to alter his material while performing his usual stand-up routine. As a result, Garrett was never invited back, proving there was a steep price to pay for crossing Johnny Carson.

That's not the only controversy Garrett stirred up on the show. According to his book "When the Balls Drop: How I Learned to Get Real and Embrace Life's Second Half" (via TIME Magazine), he similarly defied house orders and did an impression of guest host Bill Cosby that drew laughs from the audience but a cold stare from 'The Coz.'