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14 Famous People Who Got Their Start In Late Night TV

Everyone has got to start somewhere. You might be surprised to see who got their start on late night TV. And you can see the newest example in Deon Cole's Black Box, premiering tonight at 10 PM on TBS.

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1. Amy Poehler

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Long before Amy Poehler became a resident of Pawnee on Parks and Recreation she played Andy Richter's sister on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Which is to say, before she took Saturday Night Live by storm, she was a headgear-wearing geek with a huge crush on Conan from 1996-2000.

2. Imogene Coca

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We all know and love Imogene Coca as the weird Aunt Edna who terrorized the Griswold family in Vacation. While Imogene Coca had a long career as an actress and comedian, she first got her start performing opposite Sid Caesar on the sketch show Your Show of Shows from 1950-1954.

3. Mel Brooks

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While Mel Brooks is best known for his classic film parodies such as The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein, he actually got his start a long while back in late night TV. After serving in the US Army during World War II, he came back to New York to pursue a career in comedy, getting his start as a writer for the NBC show The Admiral Broadway Revue. Eventually, he went on to create Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows.

4. Ross Matthews

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Ross Matthews got more than just college credit as "Ross the Intern" on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where he was a behind-the-scenes intern covering red carpet events. Ross went on to join the E! Network, this time HOSTING red carpet events (like the Academy Awards) while also performing comedy on Chelsea Lately and After Lately.

5. Louis C.K.

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Before Louis C.K. got his own starring role on his self-titled show Louie, everyone's favorite comedian got his start as a late night TV writer. While doing standup on the side, he wrote for Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Dana Carvey Show, and The Chris Rock Show.

6. Joan Rivers

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Joan Rivers is the world's most notorious fashion critic. Before she was handed citations as the host of E! Network's Fashion Police she got her big break in late night TV. She first started making appearances on The Tonight Show back in 1965 and then in 1983 she became Johnny Carson's regular guest host.

7. Demetri Martin

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Before Demetri Martin was performing standup specials on Comedy Central, he was a writer on Late Night with Conan O'Brien from 2003-2004. Demetri has since gone on to have his own show on Comedy Central from 2009-2010—called Important Things with Demetri Martin—and has appeared in movies such as Taking Woodstock and Take Me Home Tonight.

8. John Krasinski

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Before John Krasinski was Jim on The Office he worked in a very different one. After graduating from Brown University in 2001, he moved to New York, where he was a script intern for Late Night With Conan O'Brien.

9. Chris Elliot

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Chris Elliot was a former Saturday Night Live cast member, and in the past he's creeped us all out playing an assortment of weirdos in There's Something About Mary and Scary Movie. However, he got his start as a writer and performer in the late 1980s on Late Night with David Letterman, where he—of course—played an assortment of oddball characters.

10. Jack McBrayer

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Before becoming our favorite NBC page as Kenneth on 30 Rock, Jack McBrayer appeared in over 80 Late Night with Conan O'Brien sketches from 2002-04.

11. Woody Allen

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Today Woody Allen is considered comedy royalty and one of the finest directors of all time. First, though, he had a modest beginning in late night TV, getting his start as a writer for The Herb Shriner Show and earning $25 a week. From there, at 19, he started writing for the Ed Sullivan Show as well as the The Tonight Show.

12. Zach Galifianakis

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We all know and love Zach Galifianakis as the strange and lovable Allen from The Hangover, but before he hung out with tigers and babies he got his start on Saturday Night Live. (Although he was only a writer for two weeks.)

13. Mindy Kaling

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Way before Mindy was on The Office and had her own show, she got her start writing for Saturday Night Live. Like Zach Galifianakis, though, her career there was short-lived, writing only one episode before leaving.

14. Carl Reiner

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Long before Carl Reiner was helping Brad and George rob banks in Ocean's 11, he got his start in late night. Like many of his friends on this list, he also got his start as a performer on Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows as well as Caesar's Hour.

Inspired by Deon Cole's Black Box.

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