Full Text of A Conversation with Conan O’Brien at Talks At Google. This event took place at Google’s Mountain View, CA headquarters on May 5, 2010.
Right click to download the audio:
Conan O’Brien: Thank you. Thank you. And please stop doing that. What is your name, sir? Stephen.
Stephen, thank you for playing music usually reserved for a fireman’s funeral. That’s creating a really nice atmosphere for me right now.
How are you all doing, everybody? How are you, Google?
[Cheers and applause]
Vic Gundotra: Conan?
Conan O’Brien: Who the hell are you?
Welcome to Google.
Vic Gundotra: Welcome to Google. It’s absolutely great to have you here.
Conan O’Brien: It’s very nice that you could be here. It’s exciting.
Vic Gundotra: Thank you, thank you.
Conan O’Brien: People are so thrilled to see you.
Vic Gundotra: I noticed that.
Conan O’Brien: What a rare honor for them to see you in the flesh.
Vic Gundotra: Yes, on behalf of all the Googlers, let me –
Conan O’Brien: You call yourselves Googlers.
Vic Gundotra: We do. Aren’t we Googlers? Googlers, yeah.
Conan O’Brien: Let’s start there. We can do better than “Googler,” okay? Something cooler, especially for the guys when they’re walking into a bar, you hear what I’m saying. I’m a Goo-gler. You don’t want to say that to a — like, I’m a “G” man or something. You’ve got to get something else going, because “Goo-gler”!
Vic Gundotra: Welcome.
Conan O’Brien: We’re pretty much done here, aren’t we?
Vic Gundotra: We are done.
Conan O’Brien: You seem stunned. And I am happy.
Vic Gundotra: Yes.
Conan O’Brien: But you invited me, and that’s your problem.
Vic Gundotra: I did.
So you were at Twitter last week.
Conan O’Brien: No. It was a couple of weeks ago. Look it up online. Ha-ha.
Vic Gundotra: This is harder than it looks.
Conan O’Brien: Yes. I love this format. What is this format we’re doing here? This is nice.
Vic Gundotra: It’s kind of like a slow dance. Exactly. Like a slow dance.
Conan O’Brien: Circling me.
Vic Gundotra: It’s like a waltz. Let’s see —
Conan O’Brien: I’m a Goo-gler.
Vic Gundotra: “G” man.
Conan O’Brien: “G” man, yes. So what were you asking me? You asked me about Twitter. Yes, I went by Twitter. Does that bother you guys? Are you guys mad at Twitter or something? I don’t know what the rivalries are here. You have to explain it to me.
Vic Gundotra: It wasn’t a rivalry. A lot of us were wondering the intentions, Intel, Twitter, Googler. Coco, level with me, are you looking for a job in the Silicon Valley. Is that what you’re doing?
Conan O’Brien: Yes, I’m looking for free stuff.
Vic Gundotra: Free stuff. You’ve come to the right place. You’ve come to the right place. Why don’t you have a seat.
Conan O’Brien: Yes, let’s sit in this fake airport lounge that we’ve created.
Vic Gundotra: Yes.
Conan O’Brien: My flight was supposed to board 20 minutes ago. Is this complimentary?
Vic Gundotra: It is.
Conan O’Brien: Then this trip was worth it. So I’m sure you have many questions for me.
Vic Gundotra: I do. But don’t mind me. If you feel like dancing, go right for it.
Conan O’Brien: Whatever you like.
Vic Gundotra: So we have a thing inside Google called a Dory. It basically allows — a Dory, an internal name: You don’t need to know what it is. It allows –
Conan O’Brien: The most condescending man I’ve ever met. Hey, don’t you worry about it. You just relax and let the search engine do the work.
Vic Gundotra: We have 45 minutes. We’re just getting started. Just wait.
Conan O’Brien: I’ve got nowhere else to go.
Vic Gundotra: That’s right.
Conan O’Brien: I am here for the day. Hey, I like this. Look at that, this looks like the club in purple rain. I like everybody — Are you all — whoo! — dancing? When Morris day and the time come out. You kids are young. You’ll figure it out soon.
Vic Gundotra: So Googlers, or “G” men —
Conan O’Brien: And ladies.
Vic Gundotra: — and ladies, submitted a bunch of questions. It’s a very Democratic process. We get to vote on the best questions. And then I cull them and pick the best one, so it’s quasi Democratic, I guess.
Conan O’Brien: It’s not Democratic at all. That’s like Stalin saying, “You guys decide amongst yourselves and then I’ll kill all of you.”
Vic Gundotra: Yeah, I guess you’re right.
Conan O’Brien: How is that Democratic?
Vic Gundotra: You have a point.
Conan O’Brien: You have the illusion of democracy here. Give them some turquoise girl’s bicycles. Give them some free chai lattes, and then grind them for all they’re worth. You’re getting nervous, aren’t you?
Vic Gundotra: No.
Conan O’Brien: You’re wishing I hadn’t come.
Vic Gundotra: Let’s start with the questions. The first one is from a Googler named “Chirp.”
Conan O’Brien: Named what?
Vic Gundotra: It says “chirp.” I’m sorry. It says “Chip.”
Conan O’Brien: Why are you running this thing? “This first question is from Chirp.” Lipslav gibble ja- — Oh, I’m sorry. It’s upside-down. You’re going to be fine. Breathe deeply. We’ll get through this.
Vic Gundotra: Here’s the question: What lessons and wisdom can you offer those seeking to grow a beard as luxurious as yours?
Conan O’Brien: Shots of testosterone helped me. I grew this beard pretty much out of — it was a — a feeling of — for every day for 17 years, I’ve had to shave. And I just — the first day that I didn’t have “The Tonight Show,” I woke up and I thought, at least I don’t have to shave. And then I went with that. And it’s one of those things where you just go with the opportunity. I just stopped shaving. And then, really, very quickly, because I’m all man — I had this beard, literally, within a day, I had this beard. I am very — I am just all man is what I am.
So I say — but, you know, you hipsters and hep cats, you — What generation is this? You’re not “Y” even. You’re past “Y.” How old are you people? Are you all in your twenties? So you’ve, like, never even heard of the television show “chips.” I’m just running a test. You don’t even know what that was. You were all born, like, after “the Cosby show” was off the air. I’m quickly trying to find out who this audience is. You are all in your twenties.
Vic Gundotra: Conan, they don’t even know what “The Tonight Show” is. They watch the YouTube channel, though.
Conan O’Brien: Well that’s good. I like that. Who needs to know what a “Tonight Show” is anymore. It hurts so much. Where are we?
Vic Gundotra: It’ll get better. So this one is from Mike in New York City.
Conan O’Brien: Are you sure you want to read that carefully? It’s from Mitchell in –
Vic Gundotra: I’ve heard that Mr. Burns was your favorite “Simpson” character to write for. What is your favorite Mr. Burns quote of all time, either written by you or someone else?
Conan O’Brien: Boy, I don’t — I can’t — don’t — there’s not one that comes to mind.
Vic Gundotra: You want to make one up?
Conan O’Brien: Well, I guess one of my favorite things that was a repeating joke that we did all the time that always made me laugh was that Mr. Simpson, even though he had had hundreds and hundreds of death-defying encounters with Homer Simpson, never remembers who he is. So I always love it every time Homer is brought into his office, he’s like, “Simpson, eh?” And could never remember who he was. My other favorite thing is that we made him impossibly old. We always — there’s an episode, I think that John Swartzwelder wrote, where Mr. Burns wants to play — assemble his old — a baseball team, and he wants to assemble a baseball team of ringers. So he’s going and saying, “Get Luke Appleby, get Morris Brisby,” all these people who died in 1905. And he can’t believe they’re not alive anymore. He was just the most fun person to write for, because he’s a comedy writer’s fantasy. There’s limitless potential for him because he has unlimited wealth and he’s as old as time, we could do anything we wanted. He could have chambers deep down underneath his house where he would — he could be asleep in a hyperbaric chamber when Smithers comes to get him. Whatever we thought of, we could make happen.
Vic Gundotra: I appreciate your explaining that to me, because if I had to guess what a comedy writer’s fantasy would be, I would have gone elsewhere. But thanks. Now I understand. Good character. Let’s go else — let’s — I’ve apparently left you stunned now.
Conan O’Brien: Do you interact with this man on a regular basis?
Vic Gundotra: Here’s — I won’t even tell who you this is from, except not from me. This is from the audience. Are you interested in working at Google? You can totally have my job exactly five years from today.
Conan O’Brien: I would take that offer at this point. The way things are going, I would take that offer. This seems to be a growth industry, so, yes, whoever you are, I’m very interested. Do I get to choose my — can I bring my own bike here? Is that possible?
Vic Gundotra: Yes. We would do that.
Conan O’Brien: Or choose from one of the Willy Wonka bikes? Out in the factory. No, I think you guys are doing something right here at Google, and I’m all in! about stock, how does it work?
Vic Gundotra: We can work that out for you.
Conan O’Brien: I could get something, I think.
Vic Gundotra: Plus a custom bike. Somebody taking notes? Okay, good. Okay, can you please do a dance for us, the worm, the sprinkle head at the very least.
Conan O’Brien: What the hell is this? What am I, a — seriously, what is this? You guys are so power-mad now at Google. You’re such entitled A-holes, hey, Conan’s in the area, make him come by. Conan, get over here! Get over here before your show, get over here! What do you want, you can have one water. We’ve got a stool for you. Hey, do a dance! Dance around a little bit! Turn around! Let’s see your ass! Yeah, that was pretty good. All right.
Hey, you want my job in five years? Maybe I’ll give it to you, ha-ha-ha. Get out of here! Go do your show! What’s happened you to people? Okay. So about this dance, what do you want? What’s that, you want some string dance?