Conan O'Brien
Television personality
Conan O'Brien
Conan Christopher O'Brien is an American television host, comedian, writer, producer and performer. He is best known for hosting several late-night talk shows, the most recent of which, Conan, premiered on American cable television station TBS in 2010. O'Brien was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, and was raised in an Irish Catholic family.
Biography
Conan O'Brien's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Conan O'Brien from around the web
Conan O'Brien's Fake Donald Trump Can't Quit Bugging Barack Obama On The Phone
Huffington Post - 5 days
President Donald Trump just can’t stop asking Barack Obama for advice in Conan O’Brien’s hilarious spoof telephone calls. As Trump calls with wide-ranging queries including the legalities of invading Nordstrom, arresting a cat for treason and how the line of succession works, the former commander in chief somehow always finds a measured answer. Whether the advice is followed, however, is a totally different matter. Check out the clips below: Check back to see new segments as they become available. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=589c2063e4b04061313bafb7,58820c24e4b070d8cad1ead2,589d661be4b094a129e9c5a8 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
CNN's 'The History of Comedy' Is Funny How?
Huffington Post - 7 days
President Donald Trump derides CNN as fake news. Does that mean "The History of Comedy," an eight-part documentary series premiering on the network Thurs. Feb. 9, is fake jokes? No, this is the real deal; a deep dive into a century of one-liners, pratfalls, and social commentary; of vaudeville, burlesque and nightclubs, of stand-up, satire and silliness. As the title of the first episode, "F***ing Funny," indicates, don't expect the decorum of Ken Burns' "The Civil War," or a strict chronology for that matter. Of the first three episodes viewed, each is more about context, how we got from Lenny Bruce to Louis C.K., from Jean Carroll (forgotten today but an acknowledged inspiration to Lily Tomlin) to Sarah Silverman, and from how comedians take their life into their own hands every time they go on stage, as Larry David observes in episode three, to what Maria Bamford celebrates as "the triumph of a good joke." "It's about how comedians work, the process, and who broke b ...
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Huffington Post article
Conan O'Brien surprises Patriots hero
CNN - 10 days
Running back James White may have scored the winning touchdown for the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI on Sunday, but he didn't win the game's Most Valuable Player award.
Article Link:
CNN article
John Early And Kate Berlant Are The Comedic Duo America Needs Right Now
Huffington Post - 12 days
In times of political and social turmoil, the role of artists and entertainers in our society becomes clear. Creatives can distract us from reality and help us process collective trauma and grief through a comedic lens. Cue John Early and Kate Berlant, two young, emerging comedic talents ― and best friends ― who have won over the hearts of audiences throughout their partnership of many years. The pair made a large foray into mainstream comedy in 2016 through their individual episodes of Netflix’s “The Characters,” a series that brought together eight emerging comedians and gave them each 30-minute slots to showcase a broad range of their own characters. Now, Early and Berlant are involved in a new project: a Vimeo six-part anthology series “555” directed by Andrew DeYoung that showcases their range of talents through a more absurdist, unorthodox perspective than we’ve seen in the past. Made up of 12-minute shorts, the project comes off as a darkly comedic critique of differe ...
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Huffington Post article
Conan jokes that White House alters Trump pics
CNN - 19 days
After a false report that the White House altered a photo of Trump to make his hands look bigger, Conan O'Brien has some fun with new Trump photos.
Article Link:
CNN article
Conan O'Brien Outsources Show To Mexico For A Special Episode
Huffington Post - 24 days
Conan O’Brien is going south of the border in a bid to build bridges. The late night TV host is relocating his show to Mexico for a special one-off episode. “With all of this week’s negative news about the relationship between the United States and Mexico, I thought I would try and do something positive,” O’Brien said Thursday, in reference to simmering tensions between Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and President Donald Trump over the latter’s border wall plan. The special will be filmed by an all-Mexican crew in front of an all-Mexican audience at a Mexico City studio. “Conan Without Borders: Made In Mexico,” which is slated to air on TBS on March 1, will also feature only Mexican guests. “I’m really looking forward to who we’re gonna meet, how it’s all gonna work, it’s kinda fascinating,” said O’Brien, before adding that “if it really gels, maybe that’s where I’m meant to be.” Check out the full clip above. type=type=RelatedAr ...
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Huffington Post article
Conan’s ‘Clueless Gamer’ picked up for a full series, but Conan won’t host
Yahoo News - about 1 month
Over the past few years, Conan O'Brien has endeared himself to the gaming community with the Clueless Gamer segment on his TBS talk show. If you've somehow missed it, the segment is fairly self-explanatory — Conan doesn't know how to play games, but he tries to anyway (typically with a celebrity guest). In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter this week, TBS president Kevin Reilly revealed that, following the success of the segment, production on a  Clueless Gamer TV series is scheduled to begin in February: "We're going into production next month on a new series, Clueless Gamer , based on the viral video he's done where he essentially makes fun of video games, gets celebrities to play and makes commentary on them. We've gotten to the point where video game companies are sending us their new product for us to play and make fun of because it's been such a huge success. We're going to go into production on a series of that." This announcement comes amid rumors that Conan's show might b ...
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Yahoo News article
Comedian Bill Burr Has A Creative Solution To Environmental Problems
Huffington Post - about 2 months
Comedian Bill Burr has an idea to take on any environmental problem, but it might be hard to put it into action. Here’s where it gets dark. “It would probably be a good thing if most of us died,” Burr told host Conan O’Brien, as the “Conan” host and his audience burst out in shocked laughter. Real talk. “Let’s hear him out!” O’Brien says in the clip resurfaced this week on the show’s YouTube channel. (It originally aired in August 2015.) As if you ever needed to worry about Burr holding back his opinions. Check out the rest of the comic’s ideas in the video above. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Huffington Post article
Conan's Spoof Phone Calls Between Barack Obama And Donald Trump Will Never Get Old
Huffington Post - 2 months
What if Donald Trump kept bugging Barack Obama for advice? Conan O’Brien imagines the kind of things the president-elect may be asking the current commander in chief in a series of hilarious spoof telephone calls. From questioning whether Kazakhstan is a meat dish to complaining about the length of the Mexican border, Obama is luckily on hand to answer each of Trump’s queries. Check out the clips below: We will add in the new segments as and when they become available. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=584bbf4ee4b0e05aded42d63,584bad3ae4b0bd9c3dfd0d64,584a808ce4b0bd9c3dfc38e3 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Huffington Post article
Watch Conan freak out trying VR for the first time
Yahoo News - 3 months
There's not many places that you can try out an Oculus Rift in a custom-made space, but YouTube's VR room in New York is one of the best. Getting access as a mere mortal is rather difficult, but if you're Conan O'Brien, it turns out you can turn up and do whatever you want. DON'T MISS:  Today’s your last chance to get a NES Classic https://youtu.be/QqugCQzWOYA The video is simple in concept, and deliciously mean in execution. Conan shows up to the VR studio and is shown around by the head of the VR division -- basically a poor YouTube employee who's worried that Conan is going to break everything. Conan proceeds to strap on an HTC Vive and go for a play in increasingly complicated VR worlds. He starts with a 3D doodling app, and then proceeds to end up playing a really bad cook in a diner. It's funny as a standard Conan-tries-out-new-technology bit, but it should also get you excited for the future of VR entertainment systems. If nothing else, you'll have a legitimate shot in your life ...
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Yahoo News article
Ashton Kutcher Gets Real About The Struggle Of Choosing A Baby Name
Huffington Post - 3 months
Ashton Kutcher is no stranger to the baby name game. Though he and his wife, Mila Kunis, named their daughter Wyatt Isabelle, they’re keeping silent about the name they’ve chosen for baby number two ― a boy, who is reportedly due in mere weeks.  Appearing on “Conan” Wednesday, Kutcher talked about the process of choosing a baby name and why it can be so hard for parents.  “We have a name dialed in that we’ve had for awhile,” the actor said when Conan O’Brien asked if he’d chosen a name for his son. “But the problem is if you get the name too soon, suddenly there’s slight trepidation around the name.” Another baby naming challenge is finding a name that doesn’t remind you of someone you dislike, O’Brien said. “I had a really good name,” the talk show host said. “I like the name Miles and my wife was like ‘I knew a Miles, he was an asshole.’” “That is a real thing!” Kutcher said. “You don’t want names of people that remind you of people who used to beat you u ...
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Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Conan O'Brien
    FIFTIES
  • 2016
    Age 52
    In April 2016, O'Brien visited South Korea in response to a fan letter urging him to visit, as well as a growing fan base online.
    More Details Hide Details His visit included a trip to the Korean Demilitarized Zone, which resulted in O'Brien and Steven Yeun to also visit North Korea.
  • 2015
    Age 51
    With the retirement of David Letterman on May 20, 2015, O'Brien became the longest-working of all current late-night talk show hosts in the United States, at 22 years.
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    In February 2015, following the onset of the Cuban Thaw, O'Brien became the first American television personality to film in Cuba for more than half a century.
    More Details Hide Details Conan O'Brien then visited Armenia.
  • 2014
    Age 50
    O'Brien hosted the 2014 MTV Movie Awards on April 13, 2014 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.
    More Details Hide Details O'Brien hosted the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards on August 27, 2006, to critical acclaim. He had previously hosted the Primetime Emmys in 2002, and co-hosted in 2003. According to Marketing Evolutions, the company that produces Q Scores measuring the familiarity and appeal of celebrities and brands, almost 74% of U.S. consumers are familiar with O'Brien. In spite of that high score, O'Brien hasn't done many commercials for corporate America; two recent examples are a 2009 appearance in a Super Bowl XLIII commercial for Bud Light, and one for American Express, which debuted on the same day as Conan. He donated his proceeds from the Super Bowl commercial to the Fresh Air Fund, a charity which sends inner-city New York children to the country for vacations. According to The Wall Street Journal, O'Brien was paid more than one million dollars to do the American Express commercial, which required him to spend three days in Jaipur, India filming it.
  • FORTIES
  • 2013
    Age 49
    O'Brien provided the voice of talk show host Dave Endochrine in the 2013 DC Universe animated original movie Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Part 2).
    More Details Hide Details Twice Conan has served as the master of ceremonies for the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington, D.C., in 1995 and again in 2013.
  • 2011
    Age 47
    The wedding, between a member of O'Brien's staff and his partner, was held on the stage of the Beacon Theatre on November 3, 2011, and broadcast on Conan.
    More Details Hide Details It was reported that since September 2006, O'Brien had allegedly been stalked by Father David Ajemian of the Archdiocese of Boston, who, despite multiple warnings to stop, had been sending O'Brien letters signed as "your priest stalker" and coming in contact with O'Brien's parents. Frustrated that he had been denied a spot in the Late Night audience, Ajemian sent a letter to O'Brien stating that he flew to New York "in the dimming hope that you might finally acknowledge me." He stated in another letter, "Is this the way you treat your most dangerous fans??? You owe me big time, pal." In another letter, Ajemian seemed to make a death threat, saying, "Remember Frank Costello once dodged a bullet in your building and so can you." Ajemian then tried to forcefully enter a taping of Late Night but was caught and arrested. He was previously warned by the NBC security team to stay away from the studio. After a psychological evaluation, he was deemed fit to stand trial. He has since been bailed out of jail. He was then reported missing by his father on November 10, 2007. He was found and underwent evaluation at a hospital. It is known that the two had attended Harvard University at the same time. He was found fit to stand trial on April 4, 2008. On April 8, 2008, Ajemian pleaded guilty to stalking, stating that he "never meant to cause anxiety or to upset anyone."
    On October 21, 2011, O'Brien was ordained as a minister by the Universal Life Church Monastery, allowing him to perform a same-sex marriage while back in New York (where gay marriage is legal) to tape a week's worth of shows.
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    On June 12, 2011, O'Brien gave a commencement address to the class of 2011 at Dartmouth College.
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    In a March 23, 2011 interview with WWE Champion The Miz on Conan, The Miz dubbed Conan "The Ginja Ninja", a reference to Conan's red hair and the fact that he came back fighting to get his new late-night talk show.
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    In late 2011, he starred as himself in the web series Web Therapy (opposite Lisa Kudrow) for three episodes.
    More Details Hide Details O'Brien provides the voice of the character Kuchikukan in the upcoming "Operation: Lunacorn Apocalypse" episode of Nickelodeon's The Penguins of Madagascar.
  • 2010
    Age 46
    On September 1, 2010, O'Brien announced via his Twitter account and Team Coco YouTube page that the title of his new show on TBS would simply be Conan.
    More Details Hide Details TBS has recently extended the show through 2018.
    On April 12, 2010, just hours before the start of his tour in Eugene, Oregon, O'Brien announced that he would host a new show on cable station TBS. The show debuted on November 8, 2010, and airs Monday through Thursday beginning at 11:00 pm ET/10:00 pm CT.
    More Details Hide Details O'Brien's addition moved Lopez Tonight with George Lopez back one hour to midnight ET/11:00 pm CT. Refusing at first to do to Lopez what had happened to him at NBC, O'Brien agreed to join the network after Lopez called to persuade him to come to TBS. In Canada, CTV will air the show and in Turkey, CNBC-e will air the show. Other networks that were reportedly interested in O'Brien include TBS' sister networks TNT and HBO, Fox, FX, Comedy Central, Showtime, Revision3, and even the NBC Universal–owned USA Network.
    On April 12, 2010, O'Brien opened his two-month comedy tour in Eugene, Oregon, with a crowd of 2,500 and no TV cameras.
    More Details Hide Details The tour traveled through America's Northwest and Canada before moving on to larger cities, including Los Angeles and New York City, where he performed on the campuses that house both of the NBC-owned studios he formerly occupied. The tour ended in Atlanta on June 14.
    On March 11, 2010, O'Brien announced via his Twitter account that he would embark on a 30-city live tour beginning April 12, 2010, entitled "The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour".
    More Details Hide Details Co-host Andy Richter, along with members of the former Tonight Show Band, joined O'Brien on the tour. Max Weinberg, however, was not able to join, except for a guest appearance at one of Conan's New York City shows.
    After being prohibited from making television appearances of any kind until May, O'Brien spoke about the Tonight Show conflict on the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes on May 2, 2010.
    More Details Hide Details During the interview with Steve Kroft, O'Brien said the situation felt "like a marriage breaking up suddenly, violently, quickly. And I was just trying to figure out what happened." He also said he "absolutely" expected NBC to give him more of a chance and that, if in Jay Leno's position, he would not have come back to The Tonight Show. However, Conan said he did not feel he got shafted. "It's crucial to me that anyone seeing this, if they take anything away from this, it's I'm fine. I'm doing great," said O'Brien. "I hope people still find me comedically absurd and ridiculous. And I don't regret anything."
    O'Brien has been named to the 2010 Time 100, a list compiled by TIME of the 100 most influential people in the world as voted on by readers.
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    In late May 2010, he surpassed the one million mark for number of Twitter followers, and he has over fifteen million followers.
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    On February 24, 2010, O'Brien attracted media attention for starting a Twitter account.
    More Details Hide Details His tweets, although primarily jokes, amounted to his first public statements since leaving The Tonight Show one month earlier. After about one hour, O'Brien's subscriber list had rocketed to over 30,000 members, and approximately 30 minutes later he was on the brink of passing 50,000 followers, already 20,000 more than the verified @jayleno account. After 24 hours, O'Brien had well over 300,000 followers.
    On February 8, 2010, it was reported that O'Brien was attempting to sell his Central Park West penthouse in New York with an asking price of $35 million.
    More Details Hide Details He had purchased the apartment in 2007 for $10 million. Two years earlier, O'Brien had purchased a home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles for over $10.5 million. Some industry insiders have speculated that O'Brien had chosen to stay on the west coast in order to facilitate a return to late night television and because he did not want to put his children through another move.
    In January 2010, O'Brien appeared in The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice! to honor the show he had written for in the early 1990s.
    More Details Hide Details O'Brien created a superhero character with veteran DC Comics animator Bruce Timm during one episode of Conan. Named "The Flaming C", the superhero bears a likeness to O'Brien, with a typically muscular superhero body and costume with chest insignia, but also with idiosyncrasies arbitrarily suggested by O'Brien like an oven mitt, a jai alai glove, marijuana leaf buckle, golf shoes, sock garters and fishnet stockings. O'Brien later aired a clip in which the character appears in Young Justice. Since 2011, O'Brien has hosted the Christmas in Washington special for TBS' sister network, TNT, featuring celebrity performances and a special appearance by the Obama family.
    A proposal was made that would see O'Brien remain as host of The Tonight Show, which would be moved to 12:05 am with Leno hosting a 30-minute show at 11:35 pm On January 10, NBC Universal Television Entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin confirmed that The Jay Leno Show would indeed end at the start of the Winter Olympics on February 12, 2010, and be moved to 11:35 pm following the Olympics coverage.
    More Details Hide Details Sources familiar with the situation told the New York Post that O'Brien was unhappy with NBC's plan. I did it my way, with people I love, and I do not regret a second it. All I ask is one thing, and I'm asking this particularly of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism; for the record it's my least favorite quality. It doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. On January 12, O'Brien released this statement: "I sincerely believe that delaying The Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t The Tonight Show." On January 21, 2010, it was announced that Conan had reached a deal with NBC that would see him exit The Tonight Show the next day. The deal also granted him $45 million, of which $12 million was designated for distribution to his staff, who had moved with Conan to Los Angeles from New York when he left Late Night.
    On Thursday, January 7, 2010, NBC executive Jeff Zucker met with Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien to discuss how to get Leno out of prime time, where his ratings were lackluster, and back into late night, where O'Brien's ratings had collapsed before Leno's prime time series began.
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  • 2009
    Age 45
    During the taping of the Friday, September 25, 2009, episode of The Tonight Show, O'Brien suffered from a mild concussion after he slipped and hit his head while running a race as part of a comedy sketch with guest Teri Hatcher.
    More Details Hide Details He was examined at a hospital and released the same day. A rerun was aired that night, but O'Brien returned to work the following Monday and poked fun at the incident.
    On June 1, 2009, Will Ferrell became Conan's first Tonight Show guest on the couch and Pearl Jam appeared as his first musical guest.
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    As part of the deal, O'Brien would take over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno in 2009.
    More Details Hide Details O'Brien was a guest on Jay Leno's final episode of The Tonight Show.
  • 2008
    Age 44
    During the writers' strike in 2008, O'Brien staged a mock feud with Comedy Central's Jon Stewart (of The Daily Show) and Stephen Colbert (of The Colbert Report) over a dispute about which of the three were responsible for giving a "bump" to Mike Huckabee's campaign to become the Republican presidential nominee.
    More Details Hide Details This feud crossed over all three shows during the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike. In 2004, O'Brien negotiated a new contract with NBC.
  • 2006
    Age 42
    The apotheosis of the Late Night remotes centered on the realization in 2006 that O'Brien bore a striking resemblance to the then female president of Finland, Tarja Halonen. "We took the show to Helsinki for five days," O'Brien recalled, "where we were embraced like a national treasure."
    More Details Hide Details On February 20, 2009, NBC aired the last episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien. The show consisted of a compilation of previous Late Night clips and included a surprise appearance by former sidekick Andy Richter. Will Ferrell, John Mayer, and the White Stripes also appeared. O'Brien ended the episode by destroying the set with an axe, handing out the pieces of the set to the audience, and thanking a list of people who helped him get to that point in his career. Among those thanked were Lorne Michaels, David Letterman, Jay Leno, and O'Brien's wife and children.
  • 2005
    Age 41
    In 2005, he provided the voice of Robert Todd Lincoln in the audiobook version of Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell.
    More Details Hide Details O'Brien has made multiple voice appearances on the Adult Swim series Robot Chicken, including the specials Robot Chicken: Star Wars, and Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II as the voice of the bounty hunter Zuckuss. On the TV show 30 Rock, O'Brien is depicted as an ex-boyfriend of lead character Liz Lemon, who works in the same building. In the episode "Tracy Does Conan", Conan appears as himself, awkwardly reunited with Lemon and coerced by network executive Jack Donaghy into having the character Tracy Jordan on Late Night, despite having been assaulted in Jordan's previous appearance. O'Brien made an appearance on Futurama in the second-season episode "Xmas Story". O'Brien plays himself as a head in a jar and still alive in the year 3000. O'Brien performs a stand-up routine at a futuristic ski lodge while being heckled by Bender the robot.
  • 2004
    Age 40
    In 2004, O'Brien apologized to Canadians for engaging in Quebec bashing, something which some felt reflected prejudice against Francophones.
    More Details Hide Details On March 7, 2006, NBC announced a new adventure/comedy series entitled Andy Barker, P.I., starring O'Brien's former sidekick, Andy Richter. O'Brien was executive producer and co-wrote the pilot. After six episodes and low ratings, the show was canceled despite being named by Entertainment Weekly as one of the Top Ten Shows of 2007. USA Network has handed out a 90-minute, cast-contingent pilot order to the medical-themed Operating Instructions from O'Brien's production banner. O'Brien will serve as an executive producer through his Conaco label. The script comes from Just Shoot Me veterans Judd Pillot and John Peaslee who will also executive produce." NBC ordered two pilots from Conaco in January 2010, the one-hour courtroom drama, Outlaw, and a half-hour comedy. Outlaw was produced in eight episodes and premiered on September 15, 2010. O'Brien's first guest appearance after beginning his late-night career was on the show he used to write for, The Simpsons. He played himself in the season five episode "Bart Gets Famous", interviewing Bart Simpson during his rise to fame as a catchphrase comedian. The episode was produced after O'Brien's audition to replace David Letterman, but before he was hired for the show. O'Brien recorded his part after his own show went on the air, though he believed his show would be canceled by the time "Bart Gets Famous" aired. In 2006, he voiced himself in a short South Park scene as part of the opening of the 2006 Emmy Awards.
  • THIRTIES
  • 2002
    Age 38
    The couple dated for nearly 18 months before their 2002 marriage in Powel's hometown of Seattle.
    More Details Hide Details O'Brien and Powel have a daughter, Neve (born October 14, 2003) and a son, Beckett (born November 9, 2005). O'Brien often affirms his Irish Catholic heritage on his show. On a 2009 episode of Inside the Actors Studio, he stated that ancestors from both sides of his family moved to America from Ireland starting in the 1850s, subsequently marrying only other Irish Catholics, and that his lineage is thus 100% Irish Catholic.
  • 2001
    Age 37
    In 2001, he formed his own television production company, Conaco, which subsequently shared in the production credits for Late Night.
    More Details Hide Details Late Night with Conan O'Brien had for eleven years consistently attracted an audience averaging about 2.5 million viewers.
  • 1997
    Age 33
    In 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2004, he and the Late Night writing staff won the Writers Guild Award for Best Writing in a Comedy/Variety Series.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1996
    Age 32
    Beginning in 1996, O'Brien and the Late Night writing team were nominated annually for the Emmy Award for Best Writing in a Comedy or Variety Series, winning the award for the first and only time in 2007.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1994
    Age 30
    A turning point was David Letterman's February 1994 appearance. "It was a morale boost," said O'Brien. "I'm thinking, If the guy who created the 12:30 thing comes on and says we're smart and funny, let's go."
    More Details Hide Details The show went through a temporary wobble in January 1995 when Robert Smigel, feeling burned out, quit as head writer. The show's quality improved slowly over time, and most credit O'Brien's growing comedic performance. Within a year, a comedic formula began to arise: the show would combine the lewd and wacky with a more elegant, narrative-driven remotes. Regular characters would typically include a "Masturbating Bear" and a famous remote found Conan visit a historic, Civil War-era baseball league. That piece was one of O'Brien's personal favorites, later remarking, "When I leave this earth, at the funeral, just show this, because this pretty much says who I'm all about." O'Brien's audience, largely young and male (a coveted demographic), grew steadily and the show began to best competitors in the ratings, which it would continue to do for 15 seasons. In the early days of the Internet, fans launched unofficial websites, compiling precise summaries of each episode. Even Tom Shales was a convert: he called the show "one of the most amazing transformations in television history."
  • TWENTIES
  • 1993
    Age 29
    Late Night with Conan O'Brien, originating from Studio 6A at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, premiered September 13, 1993 to unfavorable reviews from contemporary critics.
    More Details Hide Details This reception was not completely unsurprising; O'Brien wrote a self-deprecating New York Times piece titled "O'Brien Flops!" on the day of the show's premiere. Critics attacked O'Brien: Tom Shales of The Washington Post suggested that "the host resume his previous identity, Conan O'Blivion." Generally, critics viewed O'Brien as nervous and fidgety on-camera, and that he was "too smart, too East Coast, too sophisticated, too young and even too tall to be successful." The show was constantly at risk for cancellation; at one low point in 1994, NBC threatened to put him on a week-to-week contract. Executives were anxious to replace him with Greg Kinnear, who followed O'Brien with Later at 1:30 am. Interns filled empty seats in the audience while affiliates began to inquire about replacement hosts. In one installment after a short stretch of reruns, sidekick Andy Richter described his vacation activities as follows: "I sat back and reminded myself what it's like to be unemployed." The in-joke referenced the rumors floating in the trades that NBC was near canceling the program.
    O'Brien was picked as the new host of Late Night on April 26, 1993.
    More Details Hide Details As the writers headed to the voice record for "Homer Goes to College", O'Brien received a phone call from Polone informing him of the decision. "He was passed out facedown into this horrible shag carpet. He was just quiet and comatose down there on that carpet," recalled postproduction supervisor Michael Mendel. "I remember looking at him and saying, 'Wow. Your life is about to change, in a really dramatic way.'" Fox, however, would not let O'Brien out of his contract. Eventually, NBC and O'Brien would split the cost to get him out of the contract. After O'Brien's departure, the writers at The Simpsons would watch videotaped episodes of Late Night at lunch the day following their midnight broadcast and analyze them. During his time at The Simpsons, O'Brien also had a side project working with Smigel on the script for a musical film based on the "Hans and Franz" sketch from Saturday Night Live, but the film was never produced.
  • 1991
    Age 27
    From 1991 to 1993, O'Brien was a writer and producer for The Simpsons.
    More Details Hide Details When O'Brien first arrived at the Fox lot, they temporarily gave him writer Jeff Martin's office. O'Brien was nervous and self-conscious, feeling that he would embarrass himself in front of what he regarded as an intimidating collection of writers. O'Brien would pitch characters in their voices as he thought that was the norm until Reiss informed him that no one did such. He fit in quickly, commanding control of the room frequently; Josh Weinstein called it a "ten-hour Conan show, nonstop". According to John Ortved, one of his fellow writers ventured that if Conan hadn't left to do Late Night, he was a shoo-in to take over as showrunner on The Simpsons. When not contributing to others' scripts, O'Brien managed to craft what are regarded as some of the series' most memorable and finest episodes: "Marge vs. the Monorail" and "Homer Goes to College". Generally, critics, fans and even those who worked on the show agree that its sensibilities changed following "Marge vs. the Monorail." The show was initially a highly realistic family sitcom; after O'Brien's debut, the show took a rapid shift in the direction of the surreal. Along with those episodes, he has sole writing credits on "New Kid on the Block" and "Treehouse of Horror IV", on which he wrote the episode wraparounds. Wallace Wolodarsky described a "room character" Conan put on for the writers: "Conan used to do this thing called the Nervous Writer that involved him opening a can of Diet Coke and then nervously pitching a joke.
    Things changed for O'Brien in 1991, when in quick succession, an engagement fell through; Lookwell was not picked up; and, burned out, he quit Saturday Night Live. "I told Lorne Michaels I couldn't come back to work and I just needed to do something else," O'Brien recalled. "I had no plan whatsoever.
    More Details Hide Details I was literally in this big transition phase in my life where I decided, I'll just walk around New York City, and an idea will come to me." Mike Reiss and Al Jean, then dual showrunners of The Simpsons, called O'Brien and offered him a job. The series was notorious in the writing community at the time; O'Brien recalls "everyone wanted to be on that show, but they never hired." O'Brien was one of the first hires after the show's original crew. With the help of old Groundlings friend Lisa Kudrow, O'Brien purchased an apartment in Beverly Hills. He and Kudrow became involved as well, and Kudrow believed he should begin performing rather than writing. O'Brien disagreed, feeling that Kudrow was being overly flattering and that asserting he was happy as a writer. In his speech given at Class Day at Harvard in 2000, O'Brien credited The Simpsons with saving him, a reference to the career slump he was experiencing prior to his being hired for the show.
    O'Brien and Robert Smigel wrote the television pilot for Lookwell starring Adam West, which aired on NBC in 1991.
    More Details Hide Details The pilot never went to series, but it became a cult hit. It was later screened at The Other Network, a festival of unaired TV pilots produced by Un-Cabaret; it featured an extended interview with O'Brien and was rerun in 2002 on the Trio network.
  • 1989
    Age 25
    In 1989, O'Brien and his fellow SNL writers received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy or Variety Series.
    More Details Hide Details O'Brien, like many SNL writers, occasionally appeared as an extra in sketches; his most notable appearance was as a doorman in a sketch in which Tom Hanks was inducted into the SNL "Five-Timers Club" for hosting his fifth episode. O'Brien returned to host the show in 2001 during its 26th season.
  • 1987
    Age 23
    While on a writers' strike from Saturday Night Live following the 1987–88 season, O'Brien put on an improvisational comedy revue in Chicago with fellow SNL writers Bob Odenkirk and Robert Smigel called Happy Happy Good Show.
    More Details Hide Details While living in Chicago, O'Brien briefly roomed with Jeff Garlin.
  • 1985
    Age 21
    He concentrated in history and literature and graduated magna cum laude in 1985.
    More Details Hide Details O'Brien's senior thesis concerned the use of children as symbols in the works of William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor. During college O'Brien briefly served as the drummer in a band called "The Bad Clams", was a writer for the Harvard Lampoon humor magazine, and developed a spoof of the popular video game One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird in which the Boston Celtics play against a classical ballet troupe. During his sophomore and junior years he served as the Lampoons president. At this time, O'Brien's future boss at NBC, Jeff Zucker, was serving as President of the school's newspaper The Harvard Crimson. O'Brien moved to Los Angeles after graduation to join the writing staff of HBO's Not Necessarily the News. He was also a writer on the short-lived The Wilton North Report. He spent two years with that show and performed regularly with improvisational groups, including The Groundlings. In January 1988, Saturday Night Lives executive producer, Lorne Michaels, hired O'Brien as a writer. During his three years on Saturday Night Live (SNL), he wrote such recurring sketches as "Mr. Short-Term memory" and "The Girl Watchers"; the latter was first performed by Tom Hanks and Jon Lovitz. O'Brien also co-wrote the sketch "Nude Beach" with Robert Smigel, in which the word "penis" was said or sung at least 42 times.
  • 1984
    Age 20
    He has been a staunch Democrat since casting his first vote for President in 1984 for Walter Mondale, although he considers himself a moderate on the political spectrum.
    More Details Hide Details O'Brien's longtime friend and former dormmate in Mather House at Harvard is Father Paul B. O' Brien, with whom he founded Labels Are For Jars, an antihunger organization based in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and helped open the Cor Unum meal center in 2006. The two are not related. In January 2008, after his show was put on hold for two months owing to the strike by the Writers Guild of America, he reemerged on late-night TV sporting a beard, which guest Tom Brokaw described as making him look like "a draft dodger from the Civil War." After leaving The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien on January 22, 2010, O'Brien again grew a beard, which he kept until May 2, 2011, when it was partially shaved on the set of his TBS talk show, Conan, by Will Ferrell with battery-operated clippers (and completely shaved off-screen by a professional barber). The event was dubbed on the show as "Beardocalypse", and included a contest for fan-submitted artwork.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1981
    Age 17
    After graduating as valedictorian in 1981, he entered Harvard University.
    More Details Hide Details At Harvard, O'Brien lived in Holworthy Hall during his first year and Mather House during his three upper-class years.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1963
    Born
    O'Brien was born on April 18, 1963 in Brookline, Massachusetts.
    More Details Hide Details His father, Thomas Francis O'Brien, is a physician, epidemiologist, and professor of medicine at Harvard. His mother, Ruth O'Brien (née Reardon), is an attorney and partner at the Boston firm Ropes & Gray. He is the third of six children. O'Brien's family is Irish Catholic; some of his Irish ancestors immigrated before the American Civil War. In a Late Night episode, O'Brien paid a visit to County Kerry, Ireland, where his ancestors originated. O'Brien attended Brookline High School, where he served as the managing editor of the school newspaper, The Sagamore. In his second year, O'Brien was an intern for Congressman Robert Drinan and in his senior year, he won the National Council of Teachers of English writing contest with his short story, "To Bury the Living".
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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