“When someone saw my show when I was doing The Late Night Show, they usually gave me an explanation first as to why they were up that late. People would say, ‘I saw what you did last night it was amazing, you see I have this rash and I have to put this cream on it every two hours so I had to get up,” joked Conan.
As part of the New York Comedy Festival, the beloved late-night show host of 25 years, Conan O’Brien, sat down with CNN Correspondent Jake Tapper for a Q&A session in Sony Hall last Thursday.
O’Brien spoke about his first multi-city tour since 2010, Conan & Friends, the famous international Conan Without Boarders specials, his upcoming Earwolf podcast called Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend that will be released on November 19, and lastly, announced that his current TBS show with the youngest late-night audience, Conan, will return next year with a 30-minute slot (22 minutes without commercials) instead of the usual 60 minutes (44 minutes). Looking forward to this change, O’Brien explains his vision of the show becoming more accessible across digital platforms and having much more room for audience and guest interaction.
“Part of what we’re trying to do in this new shift is you should be able to see what I’m up to almost 24 hours a day,” O’Brien said, making it very clear his new show will not air with the purpose to “kill time”. “What I’d like to do is shoot the show a little longer than 30 minutes, have it be very loose and playful, put out the best version of the linear show, and put the rest out online, so they will work off of each other.”
Known for his pure comedy, O’Brien explains to Tapper that the political orientation of most late night shows on the air makes him feel less pressure to make the show political, thus making Conan unique. “We don’t avoid politics, we address what’s happening,” O’Brien asserts, “but, I don’t want to try and force a style upon myself that I don’t think is organic and that I also don’t think is even necessary.”
“My favorite thing to do is get away from the desk, get out in the field, get to another country, get out there and let people touch me,” O’Brien half-jokes. This love of traveling and being in the field and can be seen on his show as he travels throughout Cuba, Haiti, and even Japan which can be seen in an episode that premieres on November 28. Spoiler alert: He rents a Japanese family, a norm apparently, and makes the Japanese father apologize for things his own father had done to him in the past. “He apologized to me very sincerely and I felt I had a breakthrough with my own dad,” O’Brien said as he chuckled.
“This isn’t something I try to do to make people happy, it’s a natural extension of who I am,” says O’Brien. Be sure to listen to episode one of Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend guest starring Will Ferrell, and look out for updates on the new and improved Conan coming in 2019.