A Conversation with Conan O’Brien at Talks At Google (Full Transcript)

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.

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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.

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