There are many things you’re probably missing from two-plus weeks quarantining, but here’s one you probably never thought would be absent from your life: talk show sets. A fair amount of late night television has moved to the personal homes of its many stars. One of those is Conan, whose main host promised he’d figure out a socially distancing way to get back on the air. And, on Monday night, O’Brien debuted the new, super low-tech, temporary version of his beloved show.
“I’m Conan O’Brien, and yes, that was the least professional opening I’ve ever done for a TV show: I just came in and sat down on a stool,” he said as he awkwardly lowered himself into a chair in front of a webcam. “And here comes the unbelievable part: I’ve been practicing that move for two weeks.”
O’Brien will be recording from his Los Angeles home — in front of two guitars, a bust of Teddy Roosevelt, and what looks like an old-timey drawing of Abraham Lincoln — until the COVID-19 outbreak dies down enough for all of us to fear the outdoors and each other. His maiden voyage features a Skype-ing guest, one Adam Sandler (though that part hasn’t gone live just yet), as well as longtime sidekick Andy Richter, recording from what appears to be his living room. The Conan self-deprecation, however, remains in-tact.
“Please do not worry about me. I’m fine. I’m perfectly healthy. This is just the way I look,” he said about his not-too-disheveled looks. (His hair remains fantastic.) He said his home broadcasts will not provide helpful information about the novel coronavirus. “These shows will tell you nothing, they will contain no information,” he said, adding, “You’ll probably be stupider after you see these shows than you were before.
“All I can promise you is this will be a highly unprofessional endeavor, night after night,” he joked.
In an attempt to pretend things are still semi-normal, there was some banter with Richter, as well as some Simpsons trivia: Turns out one of O’Brien’s most beloved scripts for the cartoon giant, the Season 4 titan “Marge vs. the Monorail,” was originally written not with Leonard Nimoy as a guest but George Takei. “He said, ‘I can’t do it because I’m on the board of public transportation,’” O’Brien said, then, as proof, showed an old PSA the erstwhile Sulu recorded about the glories of taking city buses.
You can watch the first segment above, and O’Brien’s viral chat with Sandler will be live at 5:30am right here.