Conan O’Brien Biography
Conan O’Brien (full name: Conan Christopher O’Brien) is an American TV host, comedian, writer, and producer. Since 2010, he is best known for hosting several late-night talk shows, particularly Conan on the TBS cable channel.
He served as president of The Harvard Lampoon while he attended Harvard University, and was also a writer for the sketch comedy series Not Necessarily the News. He comes from an Irish Catholic family.
Conan O’Brien Age
The Conan talk show host was born Conan Christopher O’Brien on April 18, 1963, in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is 55 years old as of 2018.
Conan O’Brien Religion
O’Brien is of the Irish Catholic religion.
Conan O’Brien Family | Parents
He was born in Brookline, Massachusetts as the son of Thomas Francis O’Brien, a physician, epidemiologist, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Ruth O’Brien, a retired attorney, and former partner at the Boston firm Ropes & Gray.
On a 2009 episode of Inside the Actors Studio, O’Brien stated that ancestors from both sides of his family moved to America from Ireland starting in the 1850s, later marrying only other Irish Catholics and that his lineage is thus 100% Irish Catholic.
Conan O’Brien Brother | Sister
He has five siblings: two sisters and three brothers. They are Kate B. O’Brien, Jane O’Brien, Justin O’Brien, Luke O’Brien, and Neal O’Brien.
Conan O’Brien Wife
Conan met Elizabeth Ann ‘Liza’ Powel in 2000 when she appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in an advertising skit involving Foote, Cone & Belding, where she was working as a senior copywriter. They dated for nearly 18 months and in 2002 they tied the knot in Conan’s hometown of Seattle.
Conan O Brien Kids | Children
Conan O’Brien Daughter | Son
Conan and his wife Liza Powel have two children: a daughter by the name of Neve O’Brien who was born on October 14, 2003, and a son, Beckett O’Brien who was born on November 9, 2005.
Conan O’Brien Internship
Conan attended Brookline High School, where he served as the managing editor of the school newspaper, The Sagamore. In his second year, he was an intern for Congressman Robert Drinan and in his senior year, O’Brien won the National Council of Teachers of English writing contest with his short story, “To Bury the Living”.
Conan O’Brien College
After graduating as valedictorian in 1981, Conan entered Harvard University. At Harvard, he lived in Holworthy Hall during his first year and the Mather House during his three upper-class years. He then concentrated in history and literature and then graduated magna cum laude in 1985. His senior thesis concerned the use of children as symbols in the works of William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor.
During college, he briefly served as the drummer in a band called “The Bad Clams”, and was also a writer for the Harvard Lampoon humor magazine. He 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. In his sophomore and junior years, Conan served as the Lampoon’s president. During this time, his future boss at NBC, Jeff Zucker, was serving as President of the school’s newspaper The Harvard Crimson.
Conan O’Brien SNL
Conan moved to Los Angeles after graduation to join the writing staff of HBO’s Not Necessarily the News. He was then a writer on the short-lived Wilton North Report. He also spent two years with that show and performed regularly with improvisational groups, including The Groundlings. Saturday Night Live’s executive producer, Lorne Michaels, hired O’Brien as a writer in January 1988.
During his three years on the show, he wrote such recurring sketches as “Mr. Short-Term memory” and “The Girl Watchers”; the initial one was first performed by Tom Hanks and Jon Lovitz. He also co-wrote the sketch “Nude Beach” with Robert Smigel. On a writers’ strike from Saturday Night Live following the 1987–1988 season, he put on an improvisational comedy revue in Chicago with his fellow SNL writers Bob Odenkirk and Robert Smigel called Happy Happy Good Show. He briefly roomed with Jeff Garlin while living in Chicago. Conan and his fellow SNL writers received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy or Variety Series in 1989.
Like many SNL writers, Conan 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. He returned to host the show during its 26th season in 2001. In 1991, Conan and Robert Smigel wrote the television pilot for Lookwell starring Adam West, which aired on NBC. The pilot never went into a series, but it became a cult hit. It was then later screened at The Other Network, a festival of unaired TV pilots produced by Un-Cabaret. It featured an extended interview with Conan and was rerun in 2002 on the Trio network.
Things changed for him in 1991, when in quick succession, an engagement fell through; Lookwell was not picked up; and, burned out, he then 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. 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, the then dual showrunners of The Simpsons, called him and offered him a job. It was notorious in the writing community at the time; Conan recalls “everyone wanted to be on that show, but they never hired.” He was one of the first hires after the show’s original crew.
He purchased an apartment in Beverly Hills with the help of old Groundlings friend Lisa Kudrow. They were both involved as well, and Kudrow believed he should begin performing rather than writing. Canon disagreed, feeling that Kudrow was overly flattering and asserting he was happy as a writer. In his speech given at Class Day at Harvard in 2000, he credited The Simpsons with saving him, a reference to the career slump he was experiencing prior to his being hired for the show.
The Simpsons Conan O’Brien
Conan was a writer and producer for The Simpsons from 1991 to 1993. When he first arrived at the Fox lot, they temporarily gave him writer Jeff Martin’s office. Conan was nervous and self-conscious when he felt that he would embarrass himself in front of what he regarded as an intimidating collection of writers. He 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, Conan 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, fans, critics, and even those who worked on the show agree that its sensibilities changed following “Marge vs. the Monorail.” The show was originally 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, O’Brien 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. He would spray Diet Coke all over himself, and that was always a source of endless amusement among us.” Sometimes, fellow writers from the show would stop by Conan’s Beverly Hills apartment.
Conan O’Brien NBC
Fox, however, would not let Conan out of his contract. Eventually, NBC and Conan would split the cost to get him out of the contract. After Conan’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.
Conan O’Brien David Letterman
Meanwhile, Late Night host David Letterman was preparing to leave, prompting executive producer Lorne Michaels to search for a new host. Lorne approached Conan to produce; then-agent Gavin Polone stressed that Conan wanted to perform, rather than produce. He arranged with Michaels that he would do a test audition on the stage of The Tonight Show.
Jason Alexander and Mimi Rogers were the guests. The audience was composed of Simpsons writers. Wolodarksky recalled the experience: “Seeing this friend of yours, this guy that you worked with, walk out from behind that curtain and deliver a monologue was like something you could only dream up that you couldn’t ever imagine actually happening.” That performance was beamed by satellite to New York, where Lorne Michaels and NBC executives watched.
Conan O’Brien Late Night
Conan was picked as the new host of Late Night on April 26, 1993. As the writers headed to the voice record for “Homer Goes to College”, Conan 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 post-production supervisor Michael Mendel. “I remember looking at him and saying, ‘Wow. Your life is about to change, in a really dramatic way.'”
On September 13, 1993, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, originating from Studio 6A at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, premiered to unfavorable reviews from contemporary critics. The reception was not completely unsurprising; Conan wrote a self-deprecating The 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 Conan 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.” It was constantly at risk for cancellation; at one low point in 1994, NBC then threatened to put him on a week-to-week contract.
Executives were anxious to replace him with Greg Kinnear, who followed him with Later at 1:30 am. Interns filled the 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.”
Things would improve slowly. Conan’s audience, largely young and male (a coveted demographic), grew steadily and Late Night began to best competitors in the ratings, which it would continue to do for 15 seasons.
NBC aired the last episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien on February 20, 2009. It consisted of a compilation of previous Late Night clips and also included a surprise appearance by former sidekick Andy Richter. Will Ferrell, John Mayer, and the White Stripes also appeared. Conan ended the episode by destroying the set with an axe, and handing out the pieces of the set to the audience. He also thanked a list of people who helped him get to that point in his career. Among those he thanked were Lorne Michaels, David Letterman, Jay Leno, and also O’Brien’s wife and children.
Conan O’Brien Tonight Show
O’Brien negotiated a new contract with NBC in 2004. As part of the deal, he would take over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno in 2009. He was a guest on Jay Leno’s final episode of The Tonight Show. Will Ferrell became Conan’s first Tonight Show guest on the couch and Pearl Jam appeared as his first musical guest on June 1, 2009.
During the taping of the September 25, 2009, episode of The Tonight Show, Conan 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. He was examined at a hospital and also released the same day. A rerun was aired that night, but he returned to work the following Monday and poked fun at the incident.
On January 22, 2010, the final Tonight Show with Conan aired featuring guests Tom Hanks, Steve Carell (who did an exit interview and shredded Conan’s ID badge), Neil Young (singing “Long May You Run”), and Will Ferrell. For Ferrell’s appearance, O’Brien played guitar with the band and Ferrell sang “Free Bird” while reprising his SNL cowbell. Will’s wife, Viveca Paulin, together with Ben Harper, Beck, and ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons, also joined them for this final performance.
Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno
On January 7, 2010, NBC executive Jeff Zucker met with Jay Leno and O’Brien to discuss how to get Leno out of prime time, where his ratings were lackluster, and back into late night. O’Brien’s ratings had collapsed before Leno’s prime-time series began. A proposal was made that would see him remain as host of The Tonight Show, which would be later moved to 12:05 am with Jay 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 on February 2010 at the start of the Winter Olympics. It would be moved to 11:35 pm following the Olympics coverage.
Jay Leno returned to the show following NBC’s coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Under the $45 million deal with NBC, he was allowed to start working for another network as soon as September 2010. His rumored next networks ranged anywhere from Fox to Comedy Central.
Conan O’Brien Show
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 on April 12, 2010. The show debuted on November 8, 2010. It airs Monday through Thursday beginning at 11:00 pm ET/10:00 pm CT. Conan’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, he agreed to join the network after Lopez called to persuade him to come to TBS. In Canada, CTV would air the show and in Turkey, CNBC-e would air the show.
Other networks that were reportedly interested in him include TBS’ sister networks TNT and HBO, Fox, FX, Comedy Central, Showtime, Revision3, and also the NBC Universal–owned USA Network.
Conan announced on September 1 2010 via his Twitter account and Team Coco YouTube page that the title of his new show on TBS would simply be Conan. In 2014, TBS extended the show through 2018. In 2017, the show was then extended through 2022.
Following the onset of the Cuban Thaw, Conan became the first American television personality to film in Cuba for more than half a century in February 2015. Conan then visited Armenia. In April 2016, he visited South Korea in response to a fan letter urging him to visit, as well as a growing fan base online. His then visit included a trip to the Korean Demilitarized Zone, which resulted in Conan and Steven Yeun to also visiting North Korea on a technicality by stepping across the border line at the DMZ. He commented on the significance of the sketch, claiming, “The idea that you and I could be in North Korea, talking and communicating freely, seems like kind of a cool message.”
Conan O’Brien Producer
In 2004, Conan apologized to Canadians for engaging in Quebec bashing, something which some felt reflected prejudice against Francophones. NBC announced a new adventure/comedy series entitled Andy Barker, P.I., starring Canon’s former sidekick, Andy Richter on March 7, 2006.
He was the executive producer and co-wrote the pilot. After six episodes and low ratings, the show was canceled despite it being named by Entertainment Weekly as one of the Top Ten Shows of 2007. The USA Network handed out a 90-minute, cast-contingent pilot order to the medical-themed Operating Instructions from his production banner. Conan served as an executive producer through his Conaco label. The script came from Just Shoot Me veterans Judd Pillot and John Peaslee who also executive produced.
In January 2010, NBC ordered two pilots from Conaco, the one-hour courtroom drama, Outlaw, and a half-hour comedy. Outlaw premiered on September 15, 2010, was produced in eight episodes.
Conan O’Brien Salary
Conan is paid around 12-15 million dollars annually.
Conan O’Brien Assistant
Conan O’Brien’s assistant is Sona Movsesian. She has worked with Conan for a number of years.
Conan O’Brien Quotes
- Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.
- Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.
- There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized.
- If life gives you lemons, make some kind of fruity juice.
- This Halloween, the most popular mask is the Arnold Schwarzenegger mask. And the best part? With a mouth full of candy you will sound just like him.
- A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills than men. I just want to say to the authors of that study: ‘Duh.
- Starbucks says they are going to start putting religious quotes on cups. The very first one will say, ‘Jesus! This cup is expensive!’
- You know why the French don’t want to bomb Saddam Hussein? Because he hates America, he loves mistresses, and he wears a beret. He is French, people.
- Republicans have called for a National African-American Museum. The plan is being held up by finding a location that isn’t in their neighborhood.
Conan O’Brien IQ
According to IQ-test.net, Conan’s IQ score is 160. It is reportedly the same as Stephen Hawking’s.
Conan O’Brien Height
Conan stands at a height of 1.93m.