Before transforming into an acclaimed entertainment industry figure, artists explore numerous positions to find their perfect fit. Similarly, Conan O’Brien went from being unemployed to ending up as one of the most popular talk show hosts.

Conan O’Brien
Conan O’Brien on Late Night with Conan O’Brien

Many might think that O’Brien had a smooth sailing career, as he’s considered among the most acclaimed show hosts. However, that wasn’t the case at all. The comedian was left unemployed soon after he departed from SNL for a change and had nothing in mind about his career.

It was in the fall of 1991 when Conan O’Brien was offered to work as a writer for The Simpsons, and despite no experience, the comedian successfully made it to the famous animated show. However, O’Brien’s involvement in the show was short-lived as he only worked for two years, before succeeding David Letterman for Late Night and emerging as one of the greatest talk show hosts of all time.

How Conan O’Brien Went From The Simpsons To Most Celebrated Late Night Host

Conan O’Brien‘s humor and creative mind barely need an introduction. The comedian undeniably has had an interesting transition from being a writer for The Simpsons to becoming one of the most celebrated talk show hosts. It started with leaving SNL for a change, and then getting a call from Mike Reiss and Al Jean, offering O’Brien to join the fan-favorite animated show.

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Conan O’Brien
Conan O’Brien went from The Simpsons to Late Night

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According to Vanity Fair, Conan O’Brien talked about his journey and mentioned being “very nervous” while performing his first task to craft ideas for the show. However, O’Brien ended up creating some of the iconic moments in The Simpsons leaving a lasting impact on the show in just two years. The comedian was involved in the writing and production of the animated show until NBC made a historic decision to offer Late Night to none other than Conan O’Brien.

He described the  sudden change as “harrowing”, as he was set to record an episode for The Simpsons and said:

“We had just finished the table read when a phone rang, and they said, “It’s for you, Conan.” I went over to the phone, and it was my agent, Gavin Palone, and he said, “You’re the new host of Late Night.”

The comedian was in a state of awe, wondering what just happened after he answered the phone call. O’Brien described the feeling as being the “first American to fly to Mars and back”. He was excited but frightened of joining another massive hit show.

Conan O’Brien then finally stepped into Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 1993 and hosted the successful show for almost 16 years. And then started The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, followed by other celebrated shows. It’s been more than two decades since O’Brien became one of the most humorous and creative hosts of all time.

Conan O’Brien Was Asked To Maintain David Lettermen’s Legacy on The Late Night 

Conan O’Brien
Conan O’Brien (Image via YouTube- Team Coco)

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The first episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien came out in 1993, in which NBC suggested the host not to mention David Lettermen. But O’Brien humorously brought him up and found people on the streets telling him “You better be as good as Letterman” (via Vanity Fair). Despite initial challenges, the makers decide to work with Conan O’Brien.

The host also recalled the time when he wanted to change the name of Late Night and replace it with “Nighty Night—or Night Night—with Conan O’Brien”. However, O’Brien’s idea was trashed in seconds, and was told that:

“Late Night has been a very lucrative franchise for us. It has existed for 11 and a half years under David Letterman… there is no way in God’s green earth that you are changing our franchise”

However, in the end, fans ended up loving Conan O’Brien’s unique take on the show, gaining widespread popularity and maintaining the legacy of the successful franchise. To this day, the former Late Night host is lauded for his contribution to making the show even more successful than its initial years.

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