Variety Streaming Room: Television FYC
“Since I left ‘Late Night,’ I’ve had people on the streets saying, ‘Congratulations on your retirement,'” Conan O’Brien tells Variety. “And they have no idea that I’m as far from retired as you…
“Since I left ‘Late Night,’ I’ve had people on the streets saying, ‘Congratulations on your retirement,'” Conan O’Brien tells Variety. “And they have no idea that I’m as far from retired as you could possibly imagine.”
O’Brien joined Senior TV Editor Brian Steinberg in the Variety Streaming Room, presented by TBS, to discuss ending his legendary 28-year run on TV and what his future holds.
One of his favorite current activities might, in some ways, be considered the audio equivalent of a late-night celebrity interview. “We started doing a podcast just a couple of years ago, and I started on a whim,” O’Brien says. “There’s no polite way to say it — it just kind of blew up. It became a thing. And it’s just been a fantastic experience because I spent 28 years honing these interview skills, and then suddenly I could use them, but in a completely different format.”
O’Brien says he loves the podcast format because it allows him to do things that never would have been possible on “Late Night,” like interviewing President Obama for an hour. O’Brien also hopes to continue his travel series, “Conan Without Borders,” in some capacity after COVID.
O’Brien, whose illustrious career has included stints performing with improv group The Groundlings and writing for “Saturday Night Live,” says he was “floored” when “The Simpsons” celebrated his ‘Late Night’ exit with an animated interview with Homer Simpson.
“If you had told me when I was a writer on ‘The Simpsons’ back in the early ’90s that one day I’d be ending a 28-year ‘Late Night’ career by having these incredible people make this gift, which was lovely… it floored me,” O’Brien says. “We could have done an hourlong episode of Homer just making fun of me, which would have been delightful.”
Watch the full discussion above.