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Conan O'Brien Questions and Answers 

Questions and Answer from a 1997 Conan O'Brien Interview

line 1.3 Why was Conan so nervous early in the show's run?
You try replacing Letterman and see how cool you are. Seriously, the show was rushed into production to fill the void left by Letterman, and on top of this pressure, Conan didn't have any talk show experience before this job. He was a writer they put in front of the camera. Under this tremendous pressure, Conan was certainly at least a little edgy during his early run. As the show progressed and settled into its own rhythm, coming out of Letterman's long shadow, and as Conan gained on the job training in performing on a talk show, the show has shown a steady improvement that continues to this day.

Even Conan's harshest critics have begrudged that Conan has improved greatly over his early shows. Many have re-discovered the show and now consider his personable interviewing style to be the best on late night television.

"Oh no, this is television! It goes everywhere!" -- Conan O'Brien

1.4 Is Conan Gay ?
Yes, he is a very happy fellow!

1.5 What are some of the recurring skits on the show?
A list of the recurring skits of the show is now its own document. It contains a listing of all the sketches on the show that have appeared at least twice. The list is by no means complete, but it is the most accurate listing currently. A version of it can be found at Joe Shaw's FTP site, Herbert Gambill's web page, and Damone's web page. (See section 1.21 for all the addresses)

1.6 So who's winning, Conan, Dave or Jay?
We are not fighting each other.
Conan and Dave are two separate hosts, with two separate styles, and two separate shows. They aren't even in the same time slot. They appear on each other's show, and compliment each other. In addition, they have done many cross-over events in recent history. Conan has appeared in Letterman sketches and Letterman even sent some of his standby audience over to Conan's show once. The relationship is very cordial, and Dave is very supportive of Conan on and off air, even given that CBS's "Late Late Show" is in direct competition with Conan.

Comparing Conan and Dave isn't necessarily evil, but it probably won't get you very far. Since each show is different, there aren't really too many parts you can compare; comparing shows in general will most likely have you just repeating which style you like more.

1.7 What about Tom Snyder and his other competition?
It appears that Tom and Conan are attracting different audiences, since Conan's ratings have not gone down since "Late, Late Show" has come out. Conanis stronger with youthful demographics, while Snyder has picked up an older audience. The relations between the two remain very cordial, and each have appeared on the other's show and guests regularly appear on both shows. There is definitely no "late night war" on this front.

Up until recently, Conan was also competing against UPN's "Jon Stewart Show" and Disney's "Stephanie Miller Show." However, both the Stewart show and the Miller show were cancelled.

There is something new on the horizon. Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, has signed Jon Stewart to develop a project for CBS late night. Stewart had also been in negotiations with NBC to be a permanent guest host for movie-making Greg Kinnear of "Later," and was a guest host for a few shows. The new project is slated to run at 1:35, opposite of "Later." Letterman has privately expressed some displeasure at Snyder's performance, and the likelihood is that Stewart is being preened to take over the 12:35 time slot opposite Conan. This apparently is also the quiet end of "Lauren Hutton And..", the current CBS 1:35 offering.

Ok, to the numbers: - Conan is averaging around a 2.5 weekly, with an average 12 per cent share. Snyder is averaging around a 1.8 weekly, with a 9 per cent share. - On Thursdays, Conan has been edging up to around or over a 3.0. - Conan has an average 1.4 in key demographics (young adults), and Snyder has a 0.7. - Conan is holding 51% of his lead-in audience, and Tom is holding 41%. - For some perspective, "Late Night With David Letterman" was averaging a 2.7 at the end of its run on NBC. Considering the dropoff Leno took after Carson left, and all the competition Conan is facing, it makes his ratings even more impressive.

In order to clear up some commonly asked questions, here is a brief look at what some ratings terms mean. A "ratings point" is a value set by the Neilsen company. It is slightly less than 1 million viewers, and is an estimation of the total number of viewers who watched a program. A "share" is the percentage of total tv viewers at the time who are watching the show. A "20% share" is different at 8 PM then it is at 11 PM. "Clearance" reflects the number of affiliates who carry the show at its proper time. The higher the number, the better the clearance. "Lead-in" is the rating statistics of the show prior to the rated show. There are often references to the percentage of the lead-in audience that is retained.

"Conan O'Brien is going to get better and better." -- Tom Snyder

1.8 I heard that Conan was cancelled. Is that true?
While it is true that Conan's future was not safe until recently, Conan is now in little danger of being cancelled. As shown above, "Late Night" has been doing consistently well in the ratings even in the face of the increasing competition. NBC has expressed support for the show, bolstered by the felling of competitors like Jon Stewart and Stephanie Miller. The return to the four day schedule, to give Conan more time to tape remote and pre-taped segments, is a great show of confidence by the network. Conan has just been given a year-long contract extension to the end of 1997. In addition, the show has begun to do yearly anniversary specials and the writing staff was nominated for an Emmy.

1.9 How can I find out upcoming guests?
Members of Conan O'Brien's staff periodically post upcoming guest lists to the USENET newsgroup

* Herbert Gambill ( keeps a list of the current schedule for both the regular broadcast shows and the CNBC repeats at the top of his web page. See section 1.21 for the address.

Sue Trowbridge ( has a "Late Night Lineups" page that has up to date info on who's going to be on what late night talk show. It is updated from AP releases by the networks. Its address is:

* Aaron Barnhart ( writes a weekly ezine called "Late Show News" that has information on late night talk shows, including schedules. To get on the distribution list, mail with the message "subscribe late-show-news YOUR NAME" (where YOUR NAME = your real name).

European viewers with access to teletext can find out guest information on page 323.

1.10 Where can I find other electronic information about Conan and the show? and are good newsgroups to look for information related to "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" or for information about Conan himself.

Aaron Barnhart's "Late Show News" (See above in section 1.9) also periodically contains articles and information about the show.

The show used to be part of AOL's "NBC Online" section, but the two comapnies do not have a business relationship anymore.

Subscribers to the Microsoft Network have access to the NBC Supernet (keyword "NBC"). This contains some of the same kinds of materials found on the AOL section, including interview chat sessions. In fact, most of the chat sessions have been moved here. However, participants from the NBC homepage (See section 1.21) can follow the interviews as they go along and submit questions to the participants.

1.11 What printed sources are there about Conan?
There used to be a modest list of early Conan printed sources here. However, this is being changed. Al Bell is currently working on a comprehensive bibliography on Conan. The bibliography and its subsequent updates are also available for download at Joe Shaw's Conan FTP site, and the full text of some of the articles from the bibliography is available at Damone's site. (See section 1.21 for both)

The new and updated version of the bibliography, marked up for HTML, is available at Al's page. (See section 1.21)

Also, certain interviews with Conan and other members of the cast are available in their entirety online at Damone's site. (See section 1.21)

1.12 How can I contact the show?
Via normal (snail) mail, you can write to:

Late Night with Conan O'Brien NBC 30 Rockefeller Plaza New York City, NY 10112 The show used to be reachable through Since NBC and AOL parted ways, AOL revoked the account. However, the show can still be contacted through and is working to get the address back. *Do not* use until then. Both are answered by Lynn Kaplan, a talent coordinator for the show. Remember, use

NBC's general comment phone number is (212) 664-4444.

1.13 How can I write to NBC about the show?
One person is: Rick Ludwin Senior Vice President Specials, Variety Programs and Late Night NBC Entertainment 3000 W. Alameda Ave. Burbank, CA 91523

Others to try: Don Ohlmeyer Gary Considine Michael Zirberg

All at: NBC Entertainment 3000 W. Alameda Ave. Burbank, CA 91523 Phone: 818-840-3718 NBC's homepage also has a page where you can send feedback into the station. The address for that is:

Another e-mail address is This e-mail is sent to and read by NBC Burbank.

Individual affiliates also have their own addresses and phone numbers. A list of affiliates that do not carry Conan (as well as their contact information) is maintained by Jim Ellwanger. (See section 1.21)

1.14 What was David Letterman's Top Ten list to Conan?
Top 10 Tips for the New "Late Night" Host - April 27, 1993

10. A drugged guest is a well behaved guest.
  9. Proper gratuity for Marv Albert: nickel a blooper.
  8. Kids will look up to you; don't let them think it's "cool" to smoke.
  7. Willard's insane.
  6. If you ever have a baby, look out for giant birds.
  5. G. E. executives are "pinheads;" NBC executives are "boneheads."
  4. No one cares about Walter Cronkite's lunch.
  3. Don't panic if you find a strange woman in your house.
  2. When all else fails, just say "Buttafuoco."
  1. Two words: laugh track.

1.15 Who wrote the theme song?
John Lurie of the Lounge Lizards wrote the theme song. He was a finalist for the band leader job (Max's position).

1.16 Is there a Late Night drinking game?
Would there be a question like this if the answer was "no"? A hit with young and old alike, there is a lengthy drinking game for use with "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." A copy of it can be acquired at Damone's web page and at Joe Shaw's FTP site. (See section 1.21 for both) Post any suggestions or additions to this game to

1.17 I want to go to a taping. What should I know?
Here's a couple of tips on getting tickets. It is just as easy to call for tickets as it is to write for them. If you know way far in advance that you are going to go to a particular show, write in for them (use the address in section 1.12). Otherwise, you can just call in and get tickets a reasonable time before the date of the show. The wait *has* been getting longer, so reserve tickets as soon as you know you want to go. Remember, the show now tapes from Tuesday to Friday, so Mondays are no good. Even, and especially, if you are going to write in for tickets, it wouldn't hurt to call NBC to make sure that the show won't be on vacation the dates you wish to go. Standby tickets are given out from the NBC Tour Desk throughout the day of the show, though usually in the morning and right before the show. Outside of those times, you should ask at the desk if there are any left. Three hundred regular tickets (not standbys) are sent out to a mailing list of hotels and universities in Manhatten. Check at your hotel desk or student union to see if they are on the list to receive tickets.

Once you get to Rockefeller Center, there are a couple things to be aware of. You can now start lining up for the show (on the wall by the elevators opposite the NBC Tour Line) at 3:00. Previously, pages used to shoo people aware before 4 PM. If you have standby tickets, be sure to get there extra early to increase your chances of getting a seat. Outside of some occasional VIP seating, it is democratic first come-first serve. It is *strongly* suggested to get there as close to 3:00 as possible, especially for the popular Friday shows. A limited amount of standing- room-only seating is available for the overspill.

A note on younger children: There is currently a prohibition on young children under 16 coming into the studio for a taping. This is obviously to avoid crying babies and pesky children disrupting the show (not to mention the various curses which pass unbleeped in the studio). If a child is old enough to pass for 16, there shouldn't be a problem. If not, and it is a slow night, you may be able to get the child in with sheer persistence. Please, do not force children that you know will be disruptive into the studio.

Here's a couple of technical points on seating. You can pretty much gage where you want to sit. If you want to be seen on camera, you want to be right behind the railing by the bandstand, ideally right behind Max. Also, in the center in back will also likely get you on camera. If you want to dance with Conan or get a hug from Andy, you should sit on the right side on the aisle. They seat left side to right side, so pick your place. Remember: first in the elevator is last out. Sometimes the seating is modified due to VIP lists or the like who get preferential seating.

If you are looking to give gifts or the like to Conan, you have different opportunities. If you are on the left side, give your presents to the pages as they seat you. If you are on the aisles on the right side, you have more of a chance to give your gift directly to Conan. If you miss your chance, give your gift to the pages as they lead you out.

Here is a description of the "standard" warm-up that they do before the show goes on. If you want to be surprised, don't read this:

Mike Sweeney, one of the writers, comes out, and begins doing a warm-up routine. He talks to the audience, engaging them and setting them up for jokes and barbs. He'll pick on people from out of town, from other countries, in groups, etc. After that, he'll introduce Max and the band, who will play for a while. Mike comes back up the stairs and introduces Conan. Conan barges up the stairs, picks out a woman sitting on the isle, and begins singing and dancing with her. After this is over, he will sheepishly apologize to her and everyone for making a fool of himself. He'll then talk to the woman for a while, and then introduce "the man who saved my life in Korea," Andy. Conan will then get Andy to give hugs to the woman and some other people. Conan will tell the band to show some enthusiasm, and then they all go crazy for a while. La Bamba tries to vault up into the crowd, but breaks the top off of one of the posts on the railing. The band, except for Max, then comes up and dances with Conan and the woman. They all go back, and Conan and Andy leave. Mike comes back and gives out the ground rules of behavior, and then Max and the boys play until the show is ready to start.

1.18 Are there any Late Night zines?
Krunk! is the main (and maybe only) Conan fanzine. It's got articles and interviews and all the sorts of stuff you'd expect to find in a fanzine.

Here'sthe new release on the new incarnation of Krunk!: ************ Krunk!

The fanzine so spanking new the censors don't know what to do with it!

Krunk! is a fanzine dedicated to the television show, "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."

Krunk! took a long nap while Cynthia Gill, the publisher, moved from Colorado to Texas and struggled through the bungee-jumping-like experience of adjusting to a new job. Cynthia has appointed Al Bell as administrative editor to help bring Krunk! back to America's mailboxes.

The exact publication schedule is still under consideration. The staff will start by publishing issues every other month.

We will continue to feature things about the show, such as interviews with stars, writers, and staff; great pics; Q&A with Conan and his staff with questions from YOU the subscriber; fan polls; articles from subscribers; and many other fun and festive features (was that too many "F"s?).

The subscription rate is:

$5.00 for a six month subscription (this includes three full editions of the fanzine)

Krunk! is run on half a shoestring. Given the recent publication difficulties, we suggest you subscribe only if you can live with the possibility that the publication schedule may be erratic. Please send subscription requests to this address:

Krunk! c/o Cynthia Gill PO Box 20063 Fort Worth, TX 76102

Electronic Mail:

1.19 How can I get autographed photos? has posted this:

--- We will be happy to fulfill autographed photo requests. To expediate the process, it would be helpful if you send us a self-addressed 8 X 11 envelope. You don't need to enclose postage.

NBC Late Night with Conan O'Brien 30 Rockefeller Plaza Room 901W New York, NY 10112 ATTN: PHOTO REQUESTS ---

1.20 Is there a Conan comic book?
There isn't a comic book just for Conan, but he has made an appearance in one. Look in "Anima: the Motion Picture #11." Andy makes an appearance too. The cover price is $1.95.

"I can't say that on tv. Let these people go on the Internet and find out." -- Conan O'Brien

1.21 Are there any Conan FTP sites or World Wide Web Pages?
There weren't a little while ago, but there are plenty now.
We cannot keep track of the Conan sites out there any more - too numerous - please use google to find them.

1.22 Am I crazy, or was there another opening montage at one time?
For the first two years of the show, "Late Night" had an animated opening. This opening was a swoop-down into a red-headed animated character's room who was settling in for the night. He walks in with a bowl of snacks, kicks his cat out of the bed, turns on the tv with a remote, and starts munching. The guests for the night would be announced and would appear as pictures in a spotlight over an animated NYC skyline. This opening stayed basically the same for two years. (A huge, winking Conan head was deleted from the opening early on.) At the Conecon, Conan mentioned that some high-up goober-smoochers wanted the show to have a live-action opening instead. Conan would not divulge any more information, except that the new opening was coming. On the second anniversary of the premiere of the show (September 13, 1995), the new, live-action opening also premiered. This opening features Conan bicycling through NYC. The whole opening is very blue and very surreal-ish. Conan bikes through several NYC landmarks, including Grand Central Station, and the dinosaur room of the Museum of Natural History. Over a shot of the Museum, the guests' names appear in text as they are announced. At the very end of the opening (which doesn't always appear on the broadcast version, but shows up in the studio monitors), Conan bikes into the delivery entrance of Rockefeller Center. This opening can still be downloaded in its entirety from the NBC web site. The opening recently underwent other changes. It was shortened up by splicing out some stanzas from the opening theme song and discontinuing Joel Godard's comments. This made space for a "Late Night" promo that is shown between the end of the "Tonight Show" and the start of "Late Night." This was an unpopular, but tolerable change. The week of June 9th, however, the opening was replaced completely and the promo *became* the opening. The theme song played behind clips of the upcoming show while Joel Godard announced the specifics. These changes by NBC Burbank have been greeted with universal hostility by fans of the show.

1.23 A book? Where?
"Late Night With Conan O'Brien" is releasing its first book. _If They Mated_ is written by Conan O'Brien, producer Jeff Ross, and former head writer Rob Smigel. It is based on the sketch in the show where Conan uses advanced computer graphics to see what would happen if two people in the news got together and had a kid. The book will feature the best of the past two years, including Jonathan Goodman and Roseanne, Maurey Povich and Connie Chung, and Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. The book is published by Hyperion Press and was released the first week of December. The book costs $7.95 ($10.95 Canada), and its ISBN number is 0-7868-8156-9. The address for Hyperion Press is 114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011.

1.24 What's with all the "I'm gonna get sued" comments? On October 11, 1993, Conan did a segment based on the Ted Danson-in- blackface incident. A document from the case describes the situation: "This action arises out of a comedy skit performed on the October 11, 1993, episode of the late-night show, 'Late Night with Conan O'Brien' (the 'Show'). In that skit, O'Brien has a conversation with a larger-than-life picture of the actor, Ted Danson. Danson is in blackface and there is a cutout where Danson's mouth would be. A cast member speaks Danson's part while his lips are visible talking through the cutout. O'Brien 'interviews' Danson about his controversial Friars Club 'roast' of Whoopi Goldberg. At one point in this interview, 'Danson,' claiming that his performance was really funny, states: 'Marty Ingalls was peeing in his pants, Freddie Roman was worshipping me, Red Buttons said it was brilliant, Jack Carter was in tears.'" Red Buttons felt that Conan implied he approved of Ted Danson's antics, and sued Conan and NBC for $20 million. The case was dismissed March 14, 1994. A summation of the court's decision, transcribed by Al Bell, is available at Damone's Web page (See section 1.21). Octobers have again proven unlucky for the Synchro-vox bit. On October 9th, 1995, "Late Night" did the bit featuring Pope John Paul II. During the "interview" while the Pope was in the country, the sketch portrayed the pontiff as more laid back than his public image, and, at times, was extremely irreverent to what hard-line devotees would consider appropriate representations of the head of the Catholic Church. The Polish-American Guardian Society of Chicago, led by Leonard Jarzab, has brought a suit against Chicago affiliate WMAQ-Ch. 5, charging that "Late Night" portrayed the Polish Pope as a "buffoon," and that this was the latest in a long line of such stereotypical characterizations by NBC, creating a "hostile" atmosphere to Polish-Americans. Jarzab, although he has not seen the entire sketch, has judged it "obscene." He is sueing for unspecified damages. Neither WMAQ or NBC corporate headquarters has made any official statement on the matter. It has not gone to court yet, and no date is set. The chances of the case winning, however, seem slight. For an article on the case and up-to-the-minute information on its status, you can access this section on Damone's web page. (See section 1.21)

1.25 Does the show offer internships?
"Late Night with Conan O'Brien" gives out several internships each semester (and summer) in various departments in the show (research, writing, etc.) They generally last one semester. Applicants should be currently enrolled college students and should send a resume' and coverletter to: Mr. Chris Deluca "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" NBC 30 Rockefeller Plaza New York City, NY 10112 Phone: 212 - 664 - 3737 You can expect to do a lot of drudgework and gopher duties. There is usually nothing glamorous about your jobs. Stocking refrigerators and getting lunch are fairly common duties. However, on the plus side, you get a lot of backstage experience with the show. You get to meet guests and deal with the stars on a daily basis. Many people who work for the show were former interns. There is even a small chance of being featured on the show itself in a bit part. "Hey, no interns in the dressing rooms. Why don't you go find a warm place and go screw yourselves?" -- David Letterman to Conan O'Brien

1.26 What's the connection with "The Dana Carvey Show?"
There are many, from the mundane to the downright spooky. The first connection is that Dana Carvey was one of the people who passed up the job at "Late Night" before Conan was hired. (See section 2.5) Secondly, many of the writers on the "Dana Carvey Show" had worked with on Conan's "Late Night" before, including first Conan head writer Robert Smigel, and writers Dino Stamatapolous, Louis CK, and others. So, in effect, Dana ended up with the writing staff that Conan started with, almost creating a replay of what would have happened if Dana had taken the "Late Night" job when offered it. Many of the writers like Smigel continued working on Conan's show while developing and working on the Carvey show. "The Dana Carvey Show" itself was a sketch comedy series on ABC. Originally, ABC ordered 13 episodes of the show as a winter replacement series. It ended up airing at 9:30 on Tuesdays. Each episode was to be sponsored by a subsidiary of Pepsico, so the title for each episode would be something like "The Taco Bell Dana Carvey Show." This arrangement quickly fell apart as some of the more controversial material on the show (President Clinton using hormones to grow artificial breasts and then nursing puppies on-screen) and unflinching jabs at the sponsors (a glass of Mountain Dew was compared to urine) caused Pepsico to back out of the deal. ABC cut the order of episodes down to nine and pulled the show during May sweeps, with one episode to be aired afterwards. It is not renewed. Reactions were split on the show. Many found it tasteless, unfunny, and innapropriate for its time slot. A minority found it hillarious, but concede it could not survive at that time period. Nevertheless, many elements the writers brough to "Late Night" (weird political humor, costumes and puppets, etc) can be seen in the show. Anyone interested in seeing an episode should contact Steve Saunders (, who has all the episodes on tape and expressed willingness to share them.

1.27 Where can I get "Late Night" merchandise?
Merchandise for "Late Night" can be purchased several ways. The most direct way is to go to the NBC Studio Store at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York. I assume they also sell "Late Night" merchandise in the studio store at 3000 West Alameda Avenue in Burbank. "NBC Studio Stores" are also becoming a chain, like the "Warner Brothers Studio Stores" and other similar chains. They can be found in malls and other outlet areas. Merchandise can also be ordered through the mail. A catalog of NBC merchandise can be ordered by calling 1-800-NBC-8760. It can also be found on the web (with accompanying pictures of the items) at: The items cannot be directly ordered through the web, and orders must be mailed in. Anyone who orders anything form the catalog, including the catalog itself, will be put on the NBC Catalog Mailing List. NBC "shares" (read: sells) their mailing list with other catalog companies. If you do not wish your address to be given out to other companies, be sure to include a request that your address not be given out to other companies when you deal with the catalog for the first time. Several items are currently available. Through the catalog and the web page, you can order a logo jockey cap ($16), a Conan-head jockey cap ($18), a logo sweat shirt ($16), a two-mug set of logo mugs ($16), a logo t-shirt ($18), a silk-screen t-shirt ($16), and the _If They Mated_ book ($8). Merchandise that is also offered at the Studio Store in New York in addition to the above is a logo lapel pin (price unavailable) and a logo key chain (price unavailable). 1.28 What happened to the set? The set has changed little for the first three years of the show. The original set for the show has no windows and a prominent crescent moon on the top. The moon was removed and windows were put in early in the run, leaving everything else in tact. The monologue area had a blue floor and curtain, with the band along the far wall. The interview area was done like a den in light reds and browns. There was a large, simple desk, a couch-chair combo next to it, and a medium-sized coffee table. The windows were normal-sized with blue sashes. Small changes happened in early 1996. The curtains remained open during the monologue, showing the unlighted backstage and band-performance area. The Max Weinberg Seven area was also redone. Max was given a red drum riser and the band got a new, bi-level bandstand. During the two-week hiatus for the 1996 Olympics, the set was completely redesigned. The band and monologue areas were left alone, but the interview area was redone totally. The set now resembles a ritzy apartment as opposed to a den. The set is now in much darker colors. The walls are covered in cushioned panels. All the furniture is now more stylized and smaller (with an almost non-existant coffee table). The back wall was turned into a balcony. Behind the balcony is a somewhat abstracted New York city-scape. The set is not in its final form yet, and has been constantly tweaked and changed since it has been put into service.


Chapter 2: Conan O'Brien Questions "I'm just trying to make my brothers laugh." -- Conan O'Brien

2.1 When was Conan born?
Conan Christopher O'Brien was born April 18, 1963 (that makes him an Aries), third of six children, to Ruth and Thomas O'Brien. Conan was born in Brookline, a suburb of Boston. He has three brothers and two sisters, including Neil, Katherine, Luke, Justin, and Jane. Conan is 6'4". Conan took tap dancing lessons as a child, and also began writing comedic plays early in his life.

2.2 What are his parents doing now?
Conan's mom is a partner in Ropes & Gray, a law firm in Boston. She earned her BA from Vassar in 1953, and her law degree from Yale in 1956. She was admitted to the bar in 1957. Conan's father was born in 1929 in Worcester. He earned his medical degree from Harvard in 1954. He interned at Peter Brigham Hospital. He is the head of microbiology at Peter Brigham Hospital, and is also a professor at Harvard Medical School. In 1988 he founded the WHONET BBS to help practicing physicians, researchers, and labs share reports of diseases. Physicians from all over the world are members. One of Conan's father's articles is available on the WHONET Web site. He often talks to reporters about bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and has been quoted in "Newsweek," "Science," "Scientific American," and "US News and World Report."

2.3 Where did Conan go to college?
Conan went to Harvard from 1981 to 1985. While there, he majored in American History and Literature. Conan joined the "Lampoon," the prestigious Harvard humor magazine, in his freshman year. He wrote for the magazine his entire four years, and was elected president an unprecedented two terms in a row in 1993-4. He graduated magna cum laude in 1985.

2.4 What has Conan done since then?
Conan worked on HBO's "Not Necessarily the News" for two years (1985-87). After that, he worked on Fox's "Wilton North Report" (1987-88), a late-night comedy-and-talk show which only aired for four weeks. After that, he worked in the "Happy Happy Good Show" (1988), a stage show in Chicago. He then spent three years (1988-91) writing for "Saturday Night Live," where he won an Emmy. In 1991, he wrote a TV pilot, "Lookwell," that was produced (starring Adam West), but not picked up as a regular series. After that, he wrote for the "Simpsons" (1991-93), until he got the job of hosting "Late Night," taking over for David Letterman. He has also written for the Hanz and Franz movie (no word on if this is dead or if the deal is still being worked on), "Groundlings" (a LA comedy group), and acted in some small films. He was also an actor in industrial films. Some of Conan's previous writing work from SNL includes the Tom Hanks/Jon Lovitz girl-watching skit, the nude beach "penis" skit, "Singing 'Roxanne' in the Elevator with Sting," and "Mr. Short-Term Memory." Conan has also acted in some SNL skits, including the "Irish Drinking Songs" skit, a nude talk show skit, a Twin Peaks parody, and was the doorman at the "Five Timer's Club." Conan is credited with writing four Simpsons episodes: "New Kid on the Block," "Marge vs. the Monorail," "Homer Goes to College," and "Treehouse of Horror IV" (wraparounds). Conan is listed as a co-writer on the "Treehouse of Horror IV" episode. He also worked on many others. "Producer" credits were given to any writer who wrote significant material for an episode, but not enough to be given full writing credits. There is no easily searchable database for "Simpsons" producer credits, but we are collecting them as we go. So far, there are "The Front," "Homer's Barbershop Quartet," "Treehouse of Horror III," (as "Creepy Conan O'Brien") , "Brother From The Same Planet," and "Wacking Day." (Incidentally, "Late Night" has appeared itself on the "Simpsons." Conan interviewed "I Didn't Do It" Bart in "Bart Gets Famous," and Homer flips through Conan interviewing "Kid n' Play" during "Radioactive Man." During the "Treehouse of Horror III" episode, "King Homer" gives an undeniably Conan "rowwl" after he smells Marge's hair.) Conan has an appearance on Adam Sandler's first CD. Conan's Emmy is for "Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program," shared with the entire SNL writing crew, for the 1988-89 season. Conan made his prime time debut on February 1st, as guest character Cameron Duncan on NBC's "The Single Guy." "This job? Piece of cake. They put suits on me and Andy, we come out and babel for an hour, and the checks keep coming." -- Conan O'Brien

2.5 How did such an unknown person get his job?
Conan's previous boss, Lorne Michaels, suggested that Conan try out for "Late Night." The show was offered to Dana Carvey and Garry Shandling, who both turned it down. He tried out April 13, 1993, and was told that he had been accepted April 26, 1993. Conan did win an Emmy for his writing; many of his former colleagues describe Conan as very funny. Also, NBC got Conan cheap. His contract is for five years, with an option to renew at one year. He got only a little over $1 million a year, but a recent raise has bumped that figure up to around $2 million a year.

2.6 Is Conan married?
Since it now has been widely reported publically, it is fair game to report what we already knew. Conan is current dating Lynn Kaplan, a talent coordinator at the show.

2.7 Are there Conan smilies?
Of course there are! Here are some suggestions: >From Michael Gebis ( J:) 6:) >From Carol Gerber (, some "backwards" smilies: [<^:? [<^:9 >From Lore Guilmartin ( y:)] >From Greg Mitchell (, a two-liner: , 6:] >From Sean Russel ( &:) @:) >From Elson Trinidad ( /:^] 6:^] 7:^] Debra Steffen ( offers one for Conan, Andy, and Max: B,: ^ )] S': o )) 7,8 ^ )/ * Mark Diaz ( offers another version of the three: @:-) 2:-) D8-)


Chapter 3: Other People on the Show "I wasn't paying attention."-- Andy Richter

3.1 Who is Conan's sidekick?
Conan's sidekick is Andy Richter. He performs in many of the skits and talks to Conan about many issues. Andy also takes an active role in many of the interviews, although a lot of people think he is not active enough! Paul Andrew Richter was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on October 28, 1966. He was raised in Yorkville, Illinois. His parents are Glenda Swanson (whose job is cabinet sales & design) and Larry Richter, a Professor of Russian Language at Indiana University. He has 2 brothers and a sister. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1984-1986 (his freshman and sophomore years). He was a journalism major. Andy then attended Columbia College in Chicago, where he studied film and video. After that, he studied improvisation in Chicago with Del Close and Mick Napier. He then worked with in Chicago with improvisation groups, including Annoyance Theater, Gambrinus King of Beer, Comedy Underground, and Improvolympia. Andy's first TV role was playing one of serial killer John Wayne Gacey's victims in a "Hard Copy" re-enactment. Andy also played Mike Brady in the NY and LA productions of "The Real Live Brady Bunch." He met his wife on the set of this production. He had a small role in the HBO movie "...Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom" and acted in the movie "Cabin Boy." He was also in the play "Ayn Rand Gives Me A Boner." In a recent interview, Andy revealed that he and Conan first met at Junior's Deli in California where Conan was immediately impressed by Andy's bowl of borscht. He worked for a month and a half writing at NBC before he was asked to work as Conan's sidekick. He started out next to Conan during the test episodes, and never left. Andy Richter is 6'2". He is married to Sarah Thyre, an actress. For the total Andy fan, be sure to check out Scott Erickson's ( Andy homepage: "Andy Richter: King of the Couch." (See section 1.21) "Good grooming is never a distraction." -- Max Weinberg

3.2 Who is the band?
The band is "The Max Weinberg 7." The members are: Max Weinberg: leader/drums Jimmy Vivino: guitar Mark "Love Man" Pender: trumpet La Bamba: trombone Jerry Vivino: saxophone Scott Healy: keyboards Mike Merritt: bass Max Weinberg is the former drummer of the E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen's major band. His snare drum from the "Born In The USA" tour, "The Big Beat," is on display at the Hard Rock Caffe in NYC. Max started up his own record label and production company in 1990 called Hard Ticket Entertainment. He produced the albums by Killer Joe on this label. He recently released an album called "Let There Be Drums," a 3 CD collection of Max's favorite drum tracks from the 50's to the 70's. Max recently regrouped with the rest of the E Street Band for Bruce Springsteen's "Greatest Hits" album. He has done several performances with Bruce and the band since then, and is featured in the video for "Murder Incorporated," one of the two new songs on the "Greatest Hits" album. Max has also appeared with Bruce when he has performed surprise shows at Jersey shore clubs. Max also has a one-man show called "Growing Up On E Street" that he has shown on over 150 college campuses across the country since starting it in 1986. It contains three films that Max produced, and a question and answer session. In 1990, he expanded the program to include motivational seminars. Max went back to Seton Hall after a 15 year break to receive a B.A. in communications in 1989. He also received a HERO award from the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America for his contributions to the organization in October, 1990. Max lives with his wife, Becky, and their two children in Middleton, NJ. There used to be a incomplete discography of the band members here. Grace Nall ( has created an expanded discography, videography, and background information on the members of the band. She is also working on a web page for the band. You can view the full text of the discography at Damone's web page or Joe Shaw's FTP site. (See section 1.24 for both)

3.3 Who plays the characters on the show?
Here's the people that play some of the regular characters on the show: Tommy Blacha (Gaseous Wiener, Siamese Twins) is a writer for the show. Greg Cohen (Audience Request) is a writer for the show. Tom Davis (Dippy The Hippy) is a former writer for the show and "SNL." John Deyle has plays "The People's Scientist, Ray Burns." Kevin Gee plays the Lenny Bruce of China. Stephen Lee appeared as the translator. Lee died. Michael Gordon plays Dizz. Frank Houston Saari plays "Billy Tyler, the kid that no one loves." Brian McCann (Pimpbot 5000, Loser at the Beach, Gargoyles, Moths, Synchro-vox) is a writer for the show. Brian is also an active stand-up comic and performs with the Asscats comedy troupe in NY. He has also done some commercial work, including Barq's Root Beer. He hosted a comedy program in Chicago on WLUP ("The Loop") called "Sunday Funnies" and was in local comedy group Improvolympic. Marie McMichaels (The Ooh To Ahh Lady) is an accomplished actress. She has appeared in several movies, such as "Awakenings," and is a very popular older model. Jack Plotnick plays Slim Organbody. William Preston is Carl "Oldy" Olsen. He started an acting career later in life, giving up his career as a bookkeeper in a Philadelphia trucking firm to begin acting at 47. He has extensive stage experience, performing in over 60 Shakespeare productions as well as being nominated for Florida's state supporting actor award. Among his many movie roles, he played John, the bum, from "The Fisher King," a blacksmith in "Far and Away," and the flask mourner in "Family Business." More recently, he has appeared in "WaterWorld," "Reckless," "Blue In The Face," and "The Crucible." William was born on August 26, 1921 in Columbia, PA. He has a Master's degree in English literature from Penn State. Nipsey Russell appears regularly as himself. Nipsey was a popular comedian during the 1970s, known for his funny poems. He was a regular pannelist on game shows and Friar's Roasts. Mitch Semel appears quasi-regularly as the Jerry Seinfeld impersonator. Chuck Sklar appears as David Copperfield. Michael Stoynov appears as the Devil in the "Moral Dilemma" sketch. Robert Smigel (Synchro-vox [Clinton, Dole, others]; Ira, Conan's Publicist) was the first head writer for the show and a close friend of Conan. He worked for a Chicago improv group called "All You Can Eat." Before working on "Late Night," he was a long-time writer on "SNL," writing sketches like the "Star Trek Convention," and performing in ones like "The Moron's Perspective" (on the News) and "The Superfans." He was head writer for the short-lived variety show, "The Dana Carvey Show." He is now working at SNL again, producing weekly animated segments, while making frequent appearances on "Late Night." Frank Smiley (Interview Hints, Siamese Twins) is a segment producer for the show. Dino Stamatapolous (Tomorry The Ostrich, Johnson The Scientology Chicken, Kiss-Ass Turkey, Skull Juice, The Americlan) was a writer for the show. He also worked on "The Dana Carvey Show." He still appears regularly. Mike Sweeney (Todd, Moths, priests) is a writer for the show. He also does the nightly warm-up of the studio audience. Abe Vigoda regularly appears as himself on the show. Abe was a prominent actor from the 1970s, playing Tessio in the first two "Godfather" movies and appearing as the incontinent Detective Phil Fish on TV's "Barney Miller" and its short-lived spin-off, "Fish." He continues supporting cast work in feature films to this day.

3.4 Who are the behind-the-scenes people?
Lorne Michaels, the executive producer of LNwCOB, also produces many other projects, including "Saturday Night Live," and nearly all of the spin-off projects from it. He was also the producer of the wildly popular "Kids In The Hall" programs. The musical guests are picked by Jim Pitt, a talent director. About the type of music on the show, he says, "I'm pretty much left alone ... I hear music. I like it. I put it on TV." Here's a list of credits, that are complete and up-to-date as of 4/10/96: Executive Producer: Lorne Michaels Producer: Jeff Ross Consulting Producer: Mitchell Semel Directed By: Until recently, the show was directed by Dana Calderwood. Soon after the 400th episode, Dana left the show. The interim director was Morris Abraham, but the new director is: Liz Plonka Head Writer: Johnathan Groff Written By: Chris Albers Thomas Blacha Greg Cohen Janine Ditullio Michael Gordon Brian Kiley Brian McCann Conan O'Brien Brian Reich Andy Richter Mike Sweeney Associate Producer: Graphics Coordinator: John Irwin Charlie Wilke Talent Executives: Assistant To Mr. Michaels: Paula Davis Christine Rubin Kim Friedman Jim Pitt Assistant to Jeff Ross: Jacqueline Ytuarte Segment Producers: Frank Smiley Assistant To Mr. Semel: Michael Weinberg Cecile Schwartzman Talent Coordinators: Assistant Scenic Designer: Gina Battista Chryss Hion Lynn Kaplan Art Director: Music Director: Dianne Duthie Max Weinberg Casting: Assistant Directors: Jennifer Low Sauer Tracy King Maureen Smith Music Coordinator: Debbie Wunder Production Associate: Brenda Ventura House Band: Jerry Vivino Set Designers: Scott Healy Keither Ian Raywood Mike Merritt Jimmy Vivino Lighting Consultant: Mark "Love Man" Pender Phil Hymes La Bamba Technical Consultant: Assistant Musical Director: Stacey Foster Jimmy Vivino Writer's Coordinator: Graphical Consultant: Ellen Barancik Bob Pook Costume Designer: Graphics: Deborah Shaw Mike Collins Kevin Frank Technical Director: Doug Zider Jim Marshall Anne Elbagali Pierre Bernard Jr Stage Managers: Gary Natoli Outside Properties: Steve Hollander Bill Tull Paul Saraceni Production Designer: Bobby Ber Studio Properties: Bob Bowman Scenic Designer: Daniella Perna Head Carpenter: Joe Gorta Lighting Director: Joe Geores Head Electrician: Randy Savitch Production Electrician: Peter Ehrhardt Scenic Artist: Joe Konopka Senior Audio: Fred Zeller Wardrobe: Tina Ryan Music Mixer: Julie Perez Make-up: Andrea Miller Audio: Glen A. Arber Hair: Joe Aebig Liza Hazel Jimmy DeVito Bruce Leonard Cue Cards: Barbara Byrd Video Cue Harta Hogan Brain Kaman Melanie Winderbaum Video: Carl Henry III Photographers: Baskin Studios Special Effects: Norman Ng Neal Schatz Lesly Weiner Technical Manager: Main Title Theme: Frank Garafalo Howard Shore John Lurie Studio Manager: George Mendez Announcer: Joel Godard Cameras: Carl Eckett Production Staff: Mike Bennett Kimberly Simon George Ciliberto Haleigh Safran Bailey Stortz Michael Hammek Jordan Schlansky Videotape: Steve Skorupka Production Accountants: Roger J. Miletic Electronic Graphics: Dawn Massy Carol Collings Chris Williams Editors: Production Consultant: Chuck DeJan Key Aymong Katherine Babiak Ed Hinch Music Equipment Provided by: Mark Jankeloff Amplification, Inc. Drum Workshop Maintenance: Yamaha Marty Carver Mackie Steve Sirivanta Gibson Ed Wieczorek Kurzwell/Young Paul Kopcienski Chang Lexicon Assistant To Mr. O'Brien: Diaz Maysie Anderson Executive In Charge Of Production: Script Coordinator: Gary Considine Susan Santamauro Tickets for "Late Night With Conan O'Brien:" Production Coordinator: Write: NBC Tickets Geoffrey Added 30 Rockefeller Plaza Research: Or Call: (212) 664-3056/3057 Mariah Notaras Amy Roth Broadway Productions Eliza Minot NBC

3.5 How can I write to other people on the show?
Write to: (Person) c/o Late Night with Conan O'Brien NBC 30 Rockefeller Plaza New York City, NY 10112


Chapter 4: Newsgroup-specific Information "Don't go virtual on me." -- Conan O'Brien

4.1 What is the newsgroup?
The newsgroup is This newsgroup is a forum for discussion about any aspect of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," including criticism, praise, questions, and general discussion. 4.2 So what is acceptable newsgroup-type behavior? The newsgroup welcomes any intelligent discussion about the show, its cast and crew, or tangential information about any of the above. It is asked that basic rules of netiquette are followed pertaining to things like the prohibition of all caps, multiple postings of the same message, etc. Spams, velveta, and other inappropriate or illegal postings (like ponzi schemes) are also obviously prohibited. Criticism *is* allowed, but not flames. The newsgroup would get boring if all it contained was mindless praise. The difference is that criticism requires an ounce of thought and can lead to a discussion, while flaming lacks any mental effort. Criticism is: "I don't like Conan's style of humor because..." Flaming is: "You're all dorks for watching this show." Do *not* post joke or sketch ideas for "Late Night" to the newsgroup. People from the show do occassionally read and post to the group and would have to stop for legal reasons if unpublished comedy material were posted to the group. The only acceptable way to submit comedy ideas to the show is through their offices and via an agent.

4.3 Man, what do I do about this [spammer/flamer/etc]?
The first and most important rule to any of the above is to *not reply to the spammer or flamer*. For the most part, all these people are trying to do is disrupt the newsgroup by starting a fight and drawing in as many people as possible for the longest time. Do not reward them by doing so. Obviously, never send any money to someone posting a ponzi scheme or similar con. Sometimes, the infraction is a little more serious. In the case of spams or ponzi schemes ["MAKE MONEY FAST"], you should take the header of the post and mail it to the postmaster of the user who posted it at: Tell the postmaster what happened in your mail. Be polite. Just plain flamers are a different story. The best and only thing you can usually do is to ignore them and not reply. If a particular person upsets you tremendously, you can put them in a "kill file," a file that filters out and deletes posts by a certain user before you see them. Ask your internet provider about how to set one up for your particular newsreader. There are only a pair of consistent flamers who, like an ugly rash, never seem to go away. You will eventually run into them. Once they are in your killfile, 98% of flames on the newsgroup will disappear for you. However, a flamer can go to far. If a flamer begins to harass you, either on the newsgroup or through e-mail, take the offending posts or e-mails and send them to the user's postmaster, using the same method described above.

4.4 Does Conan know about this newsgroup? (now takes mail from people for Late Night. conanshow has posted a few times on a.f.c-ob, including once when she said, "I'm not Conan, just his assistant. He knows about this newsgroup and thanks you all for your support. I enjoy reading the messages and will tell Conan about points I feel he should know about. He doesn't have time to read this stuff himself." Conan himself has written and said, "I don't read the Internet computer network daily, but several of my staff members do and they give me the gist of the comments." However, according to at least one recent article, Conan has been forcing himself to get more computer-friendly, and has been learning to use the Internet. He has even taken a tour around the World Wide Web. Whether this will lead to more Conan involvement on-line is uncertain, but Conan does have a busy schedule (the show and all) that would preclude him spending any outrageous amount of time online. Elson Trinidad interviewed Conan, and says, "Of interest to you people, I told him about THIS NEWSGROUP, and asked if he would make a guest appearance on here, which he seemed very willing to do. He is definitely aware of a.f.c-o, though he's never been on, due to his busy schedule and that he admits to not being much of a computer person, but he told me that his staff prints out postings to him and that he reads them." There are several staff members who read the group regularly, and some contribute to the discussion from time to time. At the Conecon, it was revealed that more members of the staff are planning to become active on the internet, reading and possibly contributing to the newsgroup. "I'm a technological kinda guy." -- Conan O'Brien

4.5 What if I don't get this newsgroup?
Complain fiercely. :) If you don't get news, ask your system administrator if you can. It does take a lot of time and effort, not to mention disk space and computer resources. However, if your site administrators know that enough people from your site want it, they may be able to get it. If you get news, but you don't get alt groups, ask your system news administrator. Many admins don't like the "alt" groups because of their size. However, your news administrator may decide to get them if enough people ask. If you don't specifically get while getting the other alt groups, ask your news administrator to add it. It is a fairly low-volume group and he should have no qualms about adding it. There are some public access newsreaders available via telnet or gopher. They frequently close due to overuse, so if you are desperate enough to need one, you will have to hunt pretty hard to find one. They do, however, exist. Your system administrator may be able to help you find one. Several resources exist that allow you to post to a newsgroup via e-mail. For information on one of these services, mail: Some Conan web pages have links to the newsgroup in them. However, you usually have to have a local news connection to use them. See section 1.21 for a list of Conan web pages. There are also web pages that specifically archive posts and give access to USENET newsgroups.

4.6 What's this about #krunk?
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) lets groups of people discuss things in real time -- that is, it's more like a real discussion than a bulletin board. Groups of'ers (and others) often meet on the IRC channel #krunk to talk about the show. You can drop in any time and someone may be there. Once fallen into disuse, the channel has become quite active recently. Nights are generally more active than the days. Virtual Cone-cons have been decided to be held on Sundays evenings, approximately 10PM EST. This is when the most people are likely to be on the channel. If your provider does not directly support IRC, there are some sites where you may access it via telnet. Ask your system administrator for help in locating these sites.

4.7 Is anyone doing episode summaries?
Herbert Gambill ( began an episode capsule project with episode #401. He has gathered a stable of volunteer capsule writers who are still churning out capsules to this day. If you would like to help with this project, e-mail him at the address above. The capsules used to be housed at both Herbert and Damone's websites. The sheer volume of capsules has precluded that effort. The capsules are posted to as they are written, and then are archived directly to Joe Shaw's FTP site. (See section 1.21) Although specific links to the capsule sections of the FTP site are at both Damone and Herbert's sites, Herbert still has some sections of information about the capsule project at his site. He has short bios on the capsule writers, a tabular, linked listing of most of the capsules, and other info. (See section 1.21 for the address)

4.8 What was all this about a Conecon?
The First Tenth Annual Conecon was held on Friday, August 18th, 1995. Approximately 30 or so Conan fans from all over the country from Oregon to NYC went to the taping of this show. Afterwards, the group was treated to a pizza party with all of the cast and crew. In addition to the people who were at the show itself, a smaller group who couldn't join them in New York gathered on #krunk to share in the experience. There is an official Conecon page, maintained by Joseph Nebus. (See section 1.21) An audience picture with identification markers to various people is available as a subsidiary to Herbert Gambill's ( page at:The First Eleventh Annual Conecon II was held in New York on Friday, August 9th, 1996. A slightly larger group came and even included people from Canada. Due to time contraints placed on the show by the new set, Conan and head writer Jonathan Groff were only able to talk briefly with the group after the taping of the show. All indications seem to suggest that this will be a yearly event. Check out the Conecon webpage and the newsgroup to check on when the next one is being planned.

4.9 Hey, I need an episode! What should I do?
Many people find out about guests that they wanted to see but missed, or bits and the like. Or their VCRs failed in their task. You get the idea. There is recourse for you. You can post requests for tapes to Include as much information as you can about the episode. You will probably be asked to pay for the tape and postage. Another resource is the Conan Video Project. In addition to posting to the newsgroup, you may want to use this as well. It is a place on the web that lists the episodes that people want with e-mail links to them. If someone has an episode someone wants, they can e-mail them and arrange it. It is a part of Damone's page. (See section 1.21)


Chapter 5: Information on this Faq "Mmm. Heavy. Filled with knowledge." -- Conan O'Brien

5.1 Who compiled this faq?
Joseph Gebis ( is the creator of this faq, and wrote some of what you see here. Damone ( did all revisions from 1.2 on, however. I wrote most of the stuff new for these versions.

5.2 How do I submit additions, comments, and corrections?
Posting suggestions and information to the newsgroup is the most accepted way of submitting information. You may, if you wish, mail it directly to me at as long as I retain editorship of the faq.

5.3 How do I get the latest version of the faq?
Now that posting has resumed on the *.answers newsgroups, the most current version of the faq is archived as it is posted. It can be found on the FTP site in /pub/usenet/news.answers/tv as "conan-obrien-faq." The current version of the faq is also available at Joe Shaw's FTP site. (See section 1.21) If you don't have FTP, you can use the ftp-by-mail service. Send email to with "help" and "index" (on separate lines) in the body of the message. An older version is available by ftp from Joseph Gebus' machine ( when it's up, in /pub/docs.