Conan Christopher O’Brien is a famous American comedian, late night show host and also a television producer. He was born on 18 April in Brookline, Massachusetts in an Irish Catholic family. The Irish seem to be quite articulate and fluent at storytelling and Conan is no different. Granted his talents and his way with words lie in a slightly different area than works of the many famous poets that Ireland has produced but there’s no denying that his Irish descent may be one of the reasons for his talent.
His mother Ruth is a partner at the law firm Ropes and Gray in Boston and his father Francis is a professor at Harvard Medical School. He has five siblings and is the third eldest child of the family. He went to school at the Brookline High School and started writing initially for his school newspaper, for which he was the managing editor and also won the National Council of Teachers of English for his story, ’To Bury the Living.’ He graduated as class valedictorian and went on to Harvard to study US History and graduated magna cum laude.
He started writing comedy in his college and worked for the Harvard Lampoon as president. After graduating he wrote for the satirical newscast, The Wilton North Poet and Not Necessarily the News. His professional writing career started with writing the above mentioned two shows; then he went on to work at
Saturday Night Live
as a writer. In 1989 the writers of Saturday Night Live including Conan, received an Emmy award for their writing. During that time he also performed and wrote many comedy skits and sketches such as nude beach, short term memory, and girl watchers. He also put on a comedy show with two other writers
and Robert Smigel which was called Happy Happy Good Show. He occasionally appeared in other comedy sketches as an extra, like many comedy writers back ten did. Conan and Robert then co-wrote a pilot for the show “Lookwell” and despite never being picked up as a series; it became a cult hit and was a personal favorite of NBC chairman Brandon Tartikoff. 1991 was a hard year for Conan because at that time in quick succession his engagement did not work out, Lookwell was not picked up as a series, so disappointed and disheartened he quite Saturday Night Live as well.
He said in an interview that, he just couldn’t go back to work and was in a transitional phase in his life, where he decided he would walk around
and see if any idea came to him. But things got better when he was hired to work as a writer for the show Simpsons. He credited the show for saving him, at the speech he gave for the Class day at Harvard in 2000. He worked for the Simpsons till 1993 and in that time managed to create the most memorable and the finest episodes of the series and changed its format. Initially, it was a realistic family sitcom, but after Conan had come, it took a sudden turn in the direction of the surreal. After that when David Letterman quit, Conan was appointed, on April 26, 1993, as the host of Late Night, which makes today it’s 24 anniversary. Late Night with Conan O’Brien did not get off to a favorable start, and the show was constantly on the verge of being canceled until things slowly began to improve in 1994. The appearance of David Letterman was a huge morale boost for the team, and Conan’s growing comedic talent made it a hugely successful show. As of October 2005, his show had for eleven years continuously attracted an audience of 2.5 million on an average.
The last episode aired on February 20, 2009, to the disappointment of the show’s countless fans. Then there was a brief stint as the host of Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, but due to some issues he came to an agreement with NBC and quit. He announced on his Twitter account that he would go on a 30 city live tour starting from the 12 of April 2010. On September 1, 2010, he announced on the team Coco YouTube channel and also on his Twitter handle that the name of his new show would just be Conan and it has had a successful run of 7 years, TBS recently extended it till 2018. Apart from his late night anchoring Conan has been a writer, a producer, a voiceover artist and has made many guest appearances over the years. What is interesting is that his guest appearances have always been as him and not some fictional character. His career hasn’t been easy. Back in 1993, his biggest competitor was just Tom Snyder, but now he faces challenges from the likes of
, Samantha Bee, Seth Myers, James Cordon,
, and many more.
But Conan has only this to say, in his usual comedic light hearted way he remarked that there were more talk show hosts than jurors in the US. He then went on to add that with more competition, not everything happening around is a huge deal, and since others cover the current issues he is under no pressure to talk about something out of obligation and can focus on topics that are important to him. While almost everyone nowadays is busy taking digs at the current political scenario,
Conan is not too fond of political comedy and keeps a distance from it. He says he likes comedy to be silly and agnostic and about people rather than about their political views or anything else. Conan currently lives in his Pacific Palisades house in Los Angeles with his wife of fifteen years, Elizabeth Ann Powell and their two children, Neve and Beckett.