After 28 years hosting a late-night comedy talk show, Conan O'Brien said goodbye on Thursday night. Before being tapped to host Late Night in 2013, O'Brien was head writer for The Simpsons, and TBS got Homer Simpson to do Conan's exit interview. Amid the banter, they slipped in a nod to what Conan has said is his favorite episode he ever wrote for The Simpsons, "Marge vs. the Monorail."
Conan's final guest was Jack Black, who was wearing a leg cast. "I wanted to be the best guest of all time for your final episode, and instead I am literally the lamest guest of all time," Black lamented. The accident actually "felt fitting for our show," Conan said. "When Carson went off, and Letterman, and all these legends go off the air, everything is meticulous. Of course we would think of a bit with Jack where Jack pretends to get hurt and while shooting it, Jack gets hurt."
"Johnny would have had Jack shot," sidekick Andy Richter chimed in. Black couldn't dance, but he did sing.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Conan's final farewell mostly involved thanking his team. Richter, he said, was the best sidekick in late-night TV because he gave as good as he got. "It would have been nice if you, like, fake laughed once," he added. "Oh, I did, I did," Richter deadpanned. O'Brien also slipped in a bit of the history of this three late-night shows and his comedy philosophy.
"This is very hard for young people to understand, but in 1993, when I was chosen to replace David Letterman, people thought it was a bats--t crazy, stupid idea," O'Brien said. "I had no experience, I really shouldn't have had the job," but Saturday Night Live's Lorne Michaels "put his credibility on the line" and convinced NBC to hire "the writer with the weird hair," and Lisa Kudrow convinced Conan to take the job.
"And then I'll just close with this one thought: I have devoted all of my adult life, all of it, to pursuing this strange phantom intersection between smart and stupid," Conan said. "And there's a lot of people that believe the two cannot co-exist, but God, I will tell you, it is something that I believe religiously. I think when smart and stupid come together, it's very difficult, but if you can make it happen, I think it's the most beautiful thing in the world."
Create an account with the same email registered to your subscription to unlock access.