Host, 'The Tonight Show'

Who says that a 12:30 a.m. sense of humor doesn’t fly at 11:30 p.m.?

Disproving notions that his comedy was too niche for Jay Leno’s populist followers, former NBC “Late Night” yakker Conan O’Brien took Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, his “In the Year 2000″ bit (now titled “In the Year 3000″) and even his former co-host Andy Richter and unpacked them on the jazzed-up, blue-hued Universal soundstage hosting “The Tonight Show.”

While there’s been plenty of brouhaha recently over David Letterman’s “Late Show” besting O’Brien’s “The Tonight Show” in total viewers, O’Brien beats Letterman in the prime adult demos of 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. Through the beginning of July, O’Brien has drawn 4.4 million viewers in the 18-49 crowd vs. Letterman’s 3.6 million.

And the handoff between Leno and O’Brien couldn’t have been more graceful, with the latter acknowledging on Leno’s last show that he had “big shoes to fill.

O’Brien said in a conference call: “I sometimes think, what is the most important thing for ‘The Tonight Show’? ‘The Tonight Show’ needs to be funny, and I think if ‘The Tonight Show’ is really funny, you can experience it at 11:30 p.m. or you can watch it on your computer the next morning while eating oatmeal.”

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