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

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?

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Vic Gundotra: How do I do this?

Conan O’Brien: Lick your fingers first.

Vic Gundotra: I can do that.

Conan O’Brien: Okay. And a little right here. Grab the string, right side first. Loosen this up. Loosen that up and then you go like that. Then you have to cut the string. Then if you’re feeling really crazy, you can pull up on this one and cut it, pull that one and cut it. And just go to town.

Vic Gundotra: I like it.

Conan O’Brien: Come on, speed it up, Conan. I’m late for my hacky sack in the courtyard.

Vic Gundotra: So this is from George, also from New York. Conan, you have the power to change the game on YouTube. What are you waiting for?

Conan O’Brien: What does he mean exactly, what am I waiting for? Like, clarify, please.

Vic Gundotra: Unfortunately, George is in New York.

Conan O’Brien: Oh, okay. I’m not waiting for anything. I’m going with the flow. That’s what I’m doing right now. I’ve been through a transformative event in the last three and a half months, just really nice way of saying I got screwed. You have no natural reflex.

Vic Gundotra: Yeah, my wife –

Conan O’Brien: They built you here, didn’t they? There’s some nerd way in the back, “The program’s faulty.”

Vic Gundotra: I have to admit —

Conan O’Brien: It’s not reading correctly.

Vic Gundotra: You’re pretty impressive to pick up on that. My wife didn’t realize that until after we were married. Okay.

Conan O’Brien: We’ve really got to fix this thing!

Vic Gundotra: So what sketch have you always wanted to do that wasn’t safe for network television? And will you bring it to life on cable?

Conan O’Brien: I — wow. Okay. Well, we’ve had many thoughts over the years about things that we weren’t sure we could do. But I have to say, for the most part, I got away with murder. There’s this illusion that, oh, you know, these men in suits restrained and shackled Conan. They never really let him grow a beard or do comedy that was weird. And the truth is, because for a long time, for the majority of my career, I was on at 12:35 at night, nobody that I worked for watched my show. They didn’t see it. And so we just ran with it. We just — I mean, I think about all the things we did over the years that are just completely absurd, obscene, weird. They didn’t go through any filter whatsoever. And often, every now and then, they assign a lawyer to watch the show and give us notes. And they were constantly missing the incredibly obscene thing we were doing and giving us notes about pronunciation of something completely unrelated or — and so there’s not a lot that I couldn’t do. I think it’s more about the tone. I think the tone might change a little bit now. Because like I say I’ve been through this event. And the last three and a half months has been all improvisation. The groundswell of Internet support from a lot of young people that are in this room completely took my network by surprise. They don’t know what hit them. They — I think there’s a lot of people in broadcast television that are very dismissive or have been very dismissive about the Internet. And they’re also afraid of it. And they tend to deride what they don’t understand. So when this explosion happened on the Internet, when they announced that, well, okay, maybe we’re going to slide Conan over to accommodate this other gentleman who’s having his difficulties in another time period, and I won’t get into specifics, you’ll have to look it up.

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