CONAN O'BRIEN Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Name: Conan Christopher O'Brien                                                               
Born: 18 April 1963 Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.                                             
Conan Christopher O'Brien (born April 18, 1963) is an Emmy Award-winning                       
American television host and TV writer, best known as host of NBC's Late Night                 
with Conan O'Brien.                                                                           
Conan Christopher O'Brien was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, a suburb of                   
Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Ruth (nee Reardon), an attorney, and Thomas                 
Francis O'Brien, a professor of medicine and physician.                                       
He later served as managing editor of his school newspaper and interned for Rep.               
Barney Frank.                                                                                 
After graduating from the Brookline High School in 1981 as valedictorian, O'Brien             
entered Harvard University and lived in Holworthy Hall during his freshman year.               
In his three upper-class years, O'Brien lived in Mather House. Throughout                     
his college career, he was a writer for the Harvard Lampoon humor magazine.                   
During his sophomore and junior years, O'Brien served as the Lampoon's president,             
making him the second person ever to serve as president twice, and the first                   
person to have done it in 85 years. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard                 
University in 1985 with a B.A. in History and Literature.                                     
While attending Harvard, O'Brien was roommates with Damon Krukowski, who later                 
became drummer for the indie band Galaxie 500. O'Brien had previously bought                   
himself a drumkit, but had only recently given up playing it and instead                       
concentrated on playing the guitar. He lent his drumkit to Krukowski, who he                   
knew would get more use out of it. O'Brien's drum kit can be heard on many of                 
Galaxie 500's early recordings.                                                               
O'Brien moved to Los Angeles after graduation to join the writing staff of HBO's               
Not Necessarily the News. He spent two years with that show, and performed                     
regularly with improvisational groups like The Groundlings. He also acted in                   
corporate infomercials to earn money during this period.                                       
In January 1988, Saturday Night Live's executive producer Lorne Michaels hired O'Brien         
as a writer. During his 3 years on SNL he wrote such recurring sketches as "Mr.               
Short-Term Memory" and "The Girl Watchers," the latter of which was first                     
performed by Tom Hanks and Jon Lovitz. O'Brien also co-wrote the sketch "Nude                 
Beach" with Robert Smigel, a sketch in which the word "penis" was said or sung                 
at least 42 times.                                                                             
While on a writers' strike from Saturday Night Live following the 1987-1988                   
season, O'Brien put on an improvisational comedy revue in Chicago with fellow                 
SNL writers Bob Odenkirk and Robert Smigel called Happy Happy Good Show. While                 
living in Chicago O'Brien briefly was roommates with Jeff Garlin and lived a few               
blocks away from Wrigley Field.                                                               
In 1989, O'Brien and his fellow SNL writers received an Emmy Award for                         
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy or Variety Series.                                             
O'Brien, like many SNL writers, occasionally appeared as an extra in sketches,                 
including a role as a doorman in a sketch in which Tom Hanks was inducted into                 
the SNL "Five-Timers Club" for hosting his fifth episode.                                     
From 1991 - 1993, O'Brien was a writer and producer for The Simpsons,                         
credited as writer or cowriter of four episodes Of all the episodes he wrote,                 
he considers "Marge vs. the Monorail" to be his favorite. Years later, in his                 
speech given at Class Day at Harvard in 2000, O'Brien credited The Simpsons                   
with "saving" him, a reference to the career slump he was experiencing prior to               
his hiring for that show. As of 2004, O'Brien's office at The Simpsons was                     
being used as storage.                                                                         
O'Brien closes out his audition on the set of the The Tonight Show with Jay Leno               
at NBC Burbank Studio 1                                                                       
On April 25, 1993, Lorne Michaels suggested O'Brien try out to be David                       
Letterman's successor as host of Late Night with David Letterman, with Andy                   
Richter signed on to be his sidekick. O'Brien auditioned on the set of The                     
Tonight Show, where he interviewed Mimi Rogers and Jason Alexander. O'Brien                   
resigned his position on The Simpsons, despite the fact that his contract had                 
not expired.                                                                                   
Premiering on September 13, Late Night with Conan O'Brien received generally                   
unfavorable critical reviews for the first 2 to 3 years after its debut. O'Brien               
himself, an almost total unknown among the general public before being named                   
host, was seen by many as not being worthy of the program. NBC even poked fun at               
this perception in a radio ad which aired shortly before the show's debut and                 
had O'Brien relaying an anecdote where someone recognized him on the street and               
said, "Look, honey, there's the guy who doesn't deserve his own show!" Another                 
source of criticism was the fact that O'Brien himself appeared to be very                     
nervous and awkward during the show's early days. As a self-deprecating nod to                 
this, the original opening sequence for Late Night With Conan O'Brien was                     
animated and featured a caricature of O'Brien who sweated and pulled at his                   
collar nervously.                                                                             
Conan's rise to Late Night is well documented in the 1994 book, "The Late Shift",             
by New York Times television critic Bill Carter.                                               
The show remained on multi-week renewal cycles while NBC decided its fate. By                 
1996-97, O'Brien's writing and comedic style was thought to have improved, and                 
he began to develop a growing fan base, especially with high school and college               
students, as well as the respect of critics and his peers. O'Brien would later                 
poke fun at the first three years of the show when on his 10th Anniversary                     
Special, Mr. T appeared to give O'Brien a gold necklace with a giant "7" on it.               
When O'Brien tried to point out that he's actually been on the air for ten years,             
Mr. T responded, "I know that, fool...but you've only been funny for seven!"                   
Since then, O'Brien and the Late Night writing team have consistently been                     
nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Writing in a Comedy or Variety Series, and               
finally won in 2007. In 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2004 he and the Late Night                 
writing staff won the Writers Guild Award for Best Writing in a Comedy/Variety                 
In 2001, he formed his own television production company, Conaco, which has                   
since shared in the production credits for Late Night.                                         
On the first episode after September 11th, O'Brien went out of character and                   
told a story of how he went to pray for the first time in eight years, the                     
previous time was after he was announced as the host of Late Night. O'Brien was               
reported to have been shaken up and talked about a need to have faith.                         
After meeting Finnish actor/director Lauri Nurkse on October 11, 2005, O'Brien                 
discovered that he was popular in Finland, and began a long running joke that he               
resembles the first female President of Finland, Tarja Halonen. After joking                   
about this for several months (which led to the recurring segment "Conan O'Brien               
Hates My Homeland" and his highly advantageous endorsement of her campaign), O'Brien           
traveled to Finland and appeared on several television shows, and met President               
Halonen. The trip was filmed and aired as a special.                                           
O'Brien ad libbed the fictional website name "" on December 4,                 
2006, after a sketch about the fictional manatee mascot and its inappropriate                 
web-cam site. NBC opted to purchase the website domain name for $159, since the               
website did not previously exist. The network was concerned that someone might                 
register the domain name and post content with which NBC would not wish to be                 
associated, or that people would get upset and sue NBC when they found out the                 
website is fictional. NBC now owns the rights to for 10                   
years, as per Conan O'Brien. According to O'Brien, it was decided that, since                 
NBC owned the name, they might as well create the website. Late Night has since               
developed an actual website, which now has received millions of hits, reaching 4               
million page views in four days. People send in "horny manatee" artwork, poems,               
and other content. According to the Alexa website ranking system,             
has had over 10 million web hits.                                                             
A popular recurring bit on the show is Pale Force, a series of animated episodes               
in which comedian Jim Gaffigan and O'Brien are superheroes who fight crime with               
their "paleness." As Gaffigan introduces each new episode, O'Brien protests the               
portrayal of his character as cowardly, weak and incontinent.                                 
As of October 2005, Late Night with Conan O'Brien had for eleven years                         
consistently attracted an audience averaging about 2.5 million viewers.                       
In 2004, O'Brien was named as Jay Leno's replacement when he leaves the "Tonight               
Show" in 2009. Leno stated on the show that he wanted to avoid a repeat of the                 
controversy and hard feelings that resulted when he was chosen by NBC to host                 
the Tonight Show over David Letterman.                                                         
In 2008, Conan O'Brien staged a mock fight against Comedy Central's Jon Stewart               
and Stephen Colbert over taking credit on giving Mike Huckabee's campaign a "bump."           
This fight crossed over all three television shows and across two networks.