Conan O’Brien Talks Late Night, Trump, Fallon, and His Plans for the Future
Conan O’Brien appeared as a guest on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live last night, and in a lengthy after-show clip posted today, O’Brien chats with Cohen about everything from transitioning from a career as a writer behind the scenes to a TV host in front of the camera, taking over Late Night after Letterman, the sweet phone call he got from Robin Williams after the Tonight Show drama went down, whether or not the carpet matches the drapes, and more. Here’s what O’Brien said when asked for his thoughts on Jimmy Fallon’s now infamous Trump interview:
I don’t like to criticize other hosts — it’s not my thing. Everybody handles that situation differently, and he handled it that way. I think too much was made of it, frankly. He was in the moment, and Jimmy was being Jimmy, and that’s what he did, and like, enough already. We’ve got real problems in the world.
And here are his thoughts on the idea of Trump appearing on his show:
Would I have President Trump on the show? Of course I would. He’s the President of the United States. You don’t have to agree with everything that someone says. I would have any President of the United States on the show and ask them questions – that’s what you would do. And I’d hope I would ask him questions that I would want answered. I have two kids, and I would ask him questions about some of the things that he’s doing. But I believe that any host would, and they’d be foolish not to. If you had a chance to interview President Trump, you would, and I think that you would ask the questions that are near and dear to you and to the people that watch your show.
Later in the interview, O’Brien gave shout-outs to Norm Macdonald and Amy Poehler, among others, for being some of his favorite regular Late Night performers in the early days:
Norm Macdonald, when we’d have him on in the early days, to this day I’ve never interviewed anybody like Norm Macdonald. And I was so lucky because Saturday Night Live was right upstairs and these people like Chris Farley would literally come downstairs and burst through the doors and do insane things. I had this great gift in the early years — we used to use Amy Poehler [who] was a struggling actress who did improv. We knew all these young people before they hit, and we would use them on our show in sketches and bits. And we were so blessed to have that in the early days.
O’Brien was also asked about his recent four-year TBS renewal and how long he plans to continue his career as a late night host:
I want to do it as long as it’s fun and feels vital. If it doesn’t feel that way, I would like to, I hope, do something else. And as you know … we have a celebrity-obsessed culture and a culture of people that get in front of the camera and they get the attention and they get kind of addicted to it. I would like to, at some point, wean myself. I like going out and being recognized and making people happy, but I would like, maybe, there to be a good chunk of my life – if I get to live that long – where I am not that, and I have weaned myself off of that, and occasionally I meet people that know me and like me and they’re happy to see me, but no one really cares in this way that we’re supposed to care in America. Because I think ultimately, that’s not a good way to go.
Check out the full clip below: