1. Johnny Carson: The Golf Swing
Carson’s trademark was a phantom golf swing at the end of his monologues, aimed stage left toward the studio orchestra
2. Carol Burnett: Ear Tug
Burnett ended her show by tugging her ear, which was a message to her grandmother who raised her. This was done to let her know that she was doing well and that she loved her.
3. David Letterman: Stage Sprint/ Right palm over his right hip/side
1) Stage Sprint: Letterman starts each show by sprinting across stage. He does it as a way of showing the audience he’s beaten what he calls “the devil”.
2) Touch of the Palm: David had a dear friend and also a comedian named George Miller. George died and David paid for Miller’s medical expenses throughout his battle with leukemia. George used to do the hand gesture and David is just mimicking him.
4. Jimmy Fallon Weekend Update: Pencil Throw
Fallon ended each Weekend Update sketch by throwing his pencil at the camera and cheering if he managed to hit it. Until his last show where he tucked the pencil in his pocket.
5. Arsenio Hall: Whoop Whoop
Arsenio created his signature fist pump which became so popular his audience would join him chanting “Roo, Roo, Roo!” The practice soon became such a ritual that by 1991 had become a “pop-culture stamp of approval”
6. Ellen: Dance/ Mint Throw
By now everyone knows the comedy queen of daytime likes to kick off her show with a dance. But Ellen also throws a mint into the air and catches it in her mouth before walking onto stage and starting her monologue. Wonder what kind? Get Your Ellen Mints HERE http://www.ellentv.com/videos/0-nermnmlq/
7. Conan O’brien: String Dance
The O’brien string dance is a little made-up jig where he pulls an imaginary string behind his back, which moves his hips, and finishes by cutting it.
8. Craig Ferguson: Secretariat Cheer
Ferguson created the “Secretariat Dance” which consists of standing and waving the extended arms back and forth repeatedly until the horse has left the stage, which he began to do shortly after Secretariat began appearing and the studio audience is shown doing as well.
9. Jon Stewart: Moment of Zen
As a segue to the closing credits in the form of “Your Moment of Zen”, a humorous piece of video footage without commentary that has been part of the show’s wrap-up since the series began in 1996
10. Stephen Colbert: Run to Guests
Colbert typically leaps up from his desk and bounds across the stage to greet his guests and start the interview.