Badass Writer of the Week: Conan O'Brien

Conan O'Brien

Conan O'Brien

By Sean Tuohy and Daniel Ford

Tall, lanky, self-deprecating, and the red-haired beacon of late night, Conan O'Brien is a household name for his whacky off-the-wall TBS comedy show.

O’Brien has been making late night stoners pee their pants and given college co-eds something to be pretentious about for nearly 20 years, but started out as a humble comedy writer. He was born in Boston to a lawyer and a doctor and went to Harvard like any good lad with a proper, erudite upbringing. But instead of rubbing elbows and earning gentleman Cs, the red-headed prankster made a name for himself by pulling off several high-profile pranks, including stealing Burt Ward's Robin costume, and becoming the head writer for National Lampoon.

After college, O'Brien received his first writing gig on a little show that’s about to celebrate its 40th anniversary. It was at “Saturday Night Live” that O'Brien's love for comedy and writing came together. O'Brien was even showcased in a couple of skits early on in his career. He was naked in one of them!

His work on “SNL” landed him a job on a new cartoon show. Oh, you want to know which show? “The Simpsons.” Yeah, the show that FXX is currently broadcasting all 552 (!) episodes of and that is showing no signs of being culturally irrelevant anytime soon. It was with everyone’s favorite yellow-skinned family that O’Brien would stamp his presence on pop culture forever.

"Marge vs. the Monorail" premiered during the show’s fourth season and featured with a slick con man selling the town of Springfield on the idea of building a monorail. How did he do this? Singing and dancing! Who wrote it? Sean did. Wait, that’s not the right answer. That’s what Sean tells his dinner guests. It was Conan O’Brien of course!

And the rest is history....

What? It's not. Shit. Okay, well, um, I guess we'll skip through the rest of this. O'Brien became the host of the "Late Night" after David Lettermen left for CBS to torture Jay Leno. He did this job for 16 years (Oh, yeah, Louis CK worked on the show as a writer. Even more badassery for your buck!)

He then became the host of "The Tonight Show" until Jay Leno pulled a reverse Fredo and convinced NBC his chin could continue dryly reading jokes for another billion years, and sent our fair-skinned badass packing.

Smart and talented people don’t stay down long though. O’Brien licked his wounds, formed Team Coco, started a new late night show on TBS, and won Twitter.

I hope I never discover a genie when I’m really hungry, tired, or unhappy with my cell phone reception.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) August 27, 2014
"Nothing like that's ever been attempted before, and probably never will be again." - #Conan#Scrapisode
— Team Coco (@TeamCoco) August 22, 2014

There! Done!