Conan O'Brien has officially ended his epic Late Night run with a send off finale fit for a king. And he was joined by some special guests and big surprises, before heading off to his new home at HBO Max. During his final opening monologue, Conan grappled with the fact that the end of the show had arrived. He had this to say to his audience and longtime fans.
"It's hard to believe, it's hard to say, it's our final show on TBS. Every night, I always said, 'Tonight we have a really great show' and I have to tell you I was often lying. But tonight we really do have a great show! And if we don't, what are you going to do about it? I'll be long gone."
He told this to his live audience at Los Angeles club Largo. He went on to reflect on how he's done over "4,000 hours of television." And then he snapped into it.
Before Conan hit the stage, fans were treated to a sketch of The Simpsons with an animated O'Brien giving an exit interview to Homer Simpson. Conan asks Homer of his favorite moments from the show, Homer narrows it down to a moment that an actor gave a, "mildly interesting anecdote" from the set of a movie that made Andy Richter fall asleep. "Homer, you pretty much described all the shows I've ever done," O'Brien said. Later, O'Brien told Homer he wanted to reveal something he's "never shown anyone before," only to unveil he's bald.
Conan's entire last week was an emotional, hysterical, nostalgic send-off to a man and his partner in crime, Andy Richter. It culminated in Will Ferrell who joined via Zoom to tease his upcoming project. "I'm shooting a secret project. I wish I could talk about it but you know how those things go," Will Ferrell explained to O'Brien as to why he couldn't attend the final show in person, only to later reveal, "It's Batman."
All joking aside, as far as Ferrell can come close to anyway, he shares, "I'm truly excited to see what comes next," and felt honored to be on both of his show's finale episodes. He finally admits it's "exhausting" to always have to deliver a farewell speech. "I love you Conan but if you don't mind, can I just pre-tape a few goodbyes and you can just use them when your next several shows flame out? We can just get it out of the way." Ferrell then goes on to give five farewell monologues for future shows, even one for O'Brien's upcoming HBO Max show. Jack Black joins the send-off telling the story of his first late night talk show appearance which happened to be Conan's.
"I was scared as hell. I was petrified. I had never been in front of a late-night audience before. You were so smart, and funny and kind. It was the best way to enter the late-night television world and I will always feel a special connection with you and worship you...and the most amazing incredible sidekick of all time."
They both shared the story of the day before, during rehearsals, they planned to have Jack Black fake an injury during his performance, but bravely carry on with the show. "The crazy thing is I actually injured myself for real," Black said of spraining his ankle, which explained his cane.
Conan O'Brien adding, "The funniest part is we had an ambulance there and so I'm yelling at these two guys, 'We got to help him. We got to help him.' And they were like, 'No, we're actors,' " and also this is a "fake ambulance" on set. Black says the actors took that fake ambulance to save the day in the end. "It was a really quick run to CVS. They made it in record time," Black said.
Then, Jack Black, in true Tenacious D style ends the segment with a serenade to Conan and Andy, bringing the house down with a Sinatra-inspired homage, 'Cone's Way.'
Conan also reminisces, "In 1993 when I was chosen to replace David Letterman people thought it was a batshit crazy, stupid idea. They didn't know me the way you do. I had no experience. I really shouldn't have had the job. One guy changed my life, Lorne Michaels at Saturday Night Live. He said, 'I think that guy' and NBC said, 'The writer with the weird hair?'... Lorne put his credibility on the line," O'Brien said. "Lorne saw something in me. I'd like to think he was right. He changed my life and I'll owe him forever. He's a great man."
Conan waxes poetic in the end, sharing these final words.
"I have devoted all of my adult life to pursuing this strange phantom intersection between smart and stupid. There's a lot of people that believe the two cannot coexist. But God I will tell you that it is something that I believe religiously, when smart and stupid come together it's very difficult, but if you could make it happen, I think it's the most beautiful thing in the world. I am so grateful to all of my staff and to the fans in this country and around the world who have joined me in this really crazy and seemingly pointless pursuit to do things that are kind of stupid but have something smart in there somewhere and there's a little tiny flicker of what is kind of magic... My advice to anyone watching right now is it is not easy to do but try and do what you love with people you love and if you can manage that, it's the definition of heaven on earth."
Until we meet, again, Consie (which should be soon with his new series on HBO Max). To lighten the mood, please enjoy watching Conan share a marijuana cigarette with Seth Rogen on Wednesday. Oh, it brings the coughs and giggles.