Watch Conan O’Brien’s Farewell to Late Night
Conan O’Brien has been a fixture on late night television since 1993. He was given the job replacing David Letterman at 12:35 on NBC when he was an unknown comedy writer and despite disastrous early reviews (and O’Brien’s own tentative performance at first) he grew into one of the most beloved talk-show hosts of his generation.
After 28 years on the air, Conan called it quits last night, retiring his late night show on TBS, where he’s been since 2010 and his notoriously short-lived stint hosting The Tonight Show. His farewell extravaganza included an appearance by Homer Simpson, who O’Brien wrote during one of his pre-Late Night gigs as a Simpsons staff writer. During his “exit interview” for TBS, Homer even mentioned the famous monorail episode of The Simpsons that Conan wrote. (Naturally, Homer thought it was dumb.)
Conan’s farewell was typically Conan; sincere, gracious, and full of silly jokes. At one point he compared his staff taking their bows to sexual predators. Conan!
Best of all was Conan’s final guest, Jack Black, who was supposed to do an elaborate musical number in celebration of Conan’s late night career. The plan was Jack would feign an injury, be carried off to an ambulance, then refuse to go to the hospital, and bound back into the show. Except Black actually got hurt during the taping. Instead, he sang a moving tribute to Conan to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”
Conan isn’t retiring from television, just from this particular iteration of his show. At some point later this year, he’s expected to launch a “weekly variety series” for HBO Max. He’ll also continue producing Conan Without Borders travel specials, along with his Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast. So you’ll still have plenty of Coco in your life. You just won’t have Paul Rudd playing Mac and Me clips. Which, let’s be honest, really hurts. But we’ll muddle through as best we can.