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.
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?
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.
And I said, you know what, that doesn’t really work for me, I think, in a fairly polite way. They — there was suddenly a huge reaction from people — you know, some of the people in this room, a lot of people like you across the country said, “Wait a minute, we like this person, and this person kind of, you know, is — we’re with him.” And they started reacting on the Internet. And the first thing that happened at my employers, they saw this huge explosion on the Internet and they thought that I was doing it. And they really had this attitude of, “Make him stop.” “Why is he doing this?” And they didn’t understand what was happening. I think they still don’t understand what’s happening. And my feeling is, what I’ve learned is, I had nowhere else to go, so I started on Twitter because I literally had no other option. I was — I was and am legally prohibited from appearing on television, radio, and doing performances on the Internet. So it was just, literally, like a prisoner in a 14th-century cell writing little things on a scrap of paper and throwing them out the window — and hoping a peasant would go by and, “Hey, what’s this? He’s in the tower!” So I started to do that and send out these little things. And it exploded overnight. And at first, I started to hear a little bit of stuff from the other side saying, “We’re not sure you should be able to — allowed to — because of the –” and then they realized the absurdity of shutting down my Twitter account. So that started with that. And then I started to think about the tour, which I’m allowed to do. And so we started this idea for a tour. And then what was fascinating is, by the time we launched the tour, or announced the tour, I did not do one — I didn’t spend one penny on advertising. I sent out one tweet that directed people to a website where you could buy your ticket. That was it. And the show sold out in a couple of hours across the country. And that’s got everybody, a lot of people, rethinking how things are marketed. And there’s not one billboard. There’s not — I didn’t have to go to one radio station and sit with morning deejays, like, and hawk my show. I didn’t have to do any of that. It was one tweet. And I think people are starting to understand that the world has completely changed. And, you know, it has. And it is changing. And I think we can do better! Sorry.
Vic Gundotra: That was great.
Conan O’Brien: — forgot I wasn’t running for something. But — but I think that’s what’s — what — the biggest lesson that I’ve learned in the last three and a half months, is just a good life lesson. And I’m not trying to sound corny or anything, but these things happen to you, and you think you’ve been dealt a terrible hand or had bad luck. And when you go with it and start improvising, suddenly, you realize that you stumble upon some of the best things that have ever happened to you. And what’s interesting about Twitter is that because you’re limited to I think it’s 140 characters — someone is going to correct me right now — “Not so!” — you’re all going to rush the stage, beat the crap out of me. But because you’re limited, it’s actually a great comedy writing tool. You are forced, there’s economy of words. I’m constantly writing things and then I run them past [Big Blair], who is taking the pictures over there, as if he doesn’t have enough photos of me. But — He’ll say, “Well, that’s actually three words over.” And it forces you to look back at the sentence, and it forces you to crystallize your comedy idea, which is fascinating.
And the other thing is, I’ve been – this whole tour wouldn’t have happened. This tour is a dream come true for me. I’ve always wanted to — it’s half rock show, half comedy show, and then it’s this fantasy to get to do this. So the last three and a half months have been the most interesting time in my entire career, and I wouldn’t have traded this for anything in the world. And so three and a half months ago, what looked to everybody like bad luck has become amazingly good luck. And I think that is a lot of what we’re — what relates to everybody here, a lot of you are in your twenties, and you take for granted that this is the way the world is right now. But from my perspective, it’s changed dramatically in just seven years. And I don’t even know where we’re going to be five years from now. So I don’t know what television’s going to be five years from now. There’s a lot of people who think you’re just going to experience it all through your server. And people don’t even know how the business is going to change. There might not be, really, network television as we know it. Wouldn’t that be sweet!
So you know what I mean? Who knows? So, you know — seize the day, carpe diem. I hate it when people say carpe diem that. I just wanted to work it in. I’m going to keep talking to you. Ask another question.
Vic Gundotra: I think your point about, you know, with “The Tonight Show” fiasco, ended up one of the best things you could ever imagine happening to you. Look, you’re here, taking questions from me.
Conan O’Brien: Again, incredible arrogance from you people. Incredible arrogance to say that, yes, you’re right, this is the best thing that ever happened to you.
Vic Gundotra: Yes.
Conan O’Brien: Because you made it to Google with us Googlers.
Vic Gundotra: “G” men. Jay Leno has a big chin, you have a giant head –
Conan O’Brien: Ha-h — can’t talk about that other guy.
Vic Gundotra: Has a big chin. You have —
Conan O’Brien: Legal restraints, legal restraints. “Hey, why can’t you” — “I didn’t do anything. I did as I was told.”
Vic Gundotra: Thank you. So this other guy –
Conan O’Brien: That’s my impression of Rapper Ludicrous. We all on the same page on this? That’s my ludicrous impression. Check out my new outfit, May 5th. Rapper Ludicrous. Later, in court, “Yes, Your Honor, that is ludicrous.” You okay? How are you doing? I worry about you.
Vic Gundotra: I’m doing well. Any of you want to ask questions, there’s mikes. So —
Conan O’Brien: Well then what’s the point of this? Once again, I don’t understand what’s happening here. I have some prepared questions from people who have been preselected. But if anyone wants to shout something out at random, go ahead.
Vic Gundotra: That’s right.
Conan O’Brien: You’ve taken the initiative. Yes.
Audience: Pleased — whoa, that’s loud. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to touch your hair. So —
Vic Gundotra: Yeah, about you working here.
Conan O’Brien: I solved that problem.
Vic Gundotra: Guys, no more touching questions, please.
Conan O’Brien: What are you talking about? Yes! Let’s touch it up. You know, I’m sorry, I feel really crass. I don’t even know your name. Can I just know your name? Because later on, my wife’s going to be like, what happened? I don’t know. I don’t even know her name. What did you do? We rubbed our heads together. What is your name?
Audience: My name’s Kelly.
Conan O’Brien: Hi, Kelly. We should have done this before we rubbed up against each other.
Vic Gundotra: Yes, there are more.
Conan O’Brien: This guy over here.
Audience: You chose Reggie Watts for your opener, who we actually had the pleasure of hosting about a week ago. Probably the strangest comedian I’ve ever seen. Can you talk about your choice of him and why you thought he would be great for your tour?
Conan O’Brien: Someone explained to me — I have never done a tour before. Someone said, “Well, would you want to have an opening act?” And I said, “Yeah, it’s probably a good idea to have someone go out and entertain the crowd.” But this is going to be kind of an unusual show, and if anyone’s seen it or is going to see it, it’s not — you know, it’s not just a standup show where I come out and hold a mike and talk for an hour and 40 minutes. It’s also not just a music show. There’s a lot of different things, lot of different components to the show. And I’ve got a sort of a distinctive or weird brand of comedy. And so we were talking, and someone at the company that helped set up the tour said, “You know, your opening act can really help kind of brand your tour or help brand your tour. So if you want to send a certain message about your tour, your opening act can help. And you certainly don’t want an opening act that’s completely — if Wayne Newton, no offense to Wayne Newton, but if he opened my show with “Danke Schoen,” and that — it would be awesome! But he was unavailable.
We were talking, and I have some really smart, funny writers, and someone just — we were chatting about it. And I said, “If anyone has any ideas.” And someone said, “Reggie Watts.” And then it was like one of those things, it’s like throwing a ping-pong ball into a room of mouse traps, like people just were like, “Yes, Reggie Watts,” “Reggie Watts,” “Reggie Watts,” “Reggie Watts.” They kept saying it. And I wasn’t familiar with Reggie. So I went right to the Internet — you’ll see. I’ll tell you about it — and started looking at him. And he has a really great, creative, unusual act. He’s amazingly talented. And he just seemed perfect right away. Our big fear was, is he available, because he’s very much in demand. He had some other commitments, but he was really into doing this and moved his schedule around. And it’s been a great fit, because I think people — the other thing I want to do with this tour is open up people’s minds a little bit in a way so that there are people who have preconceived ideas about what I do, and then they see some of the things we’re doing in the show and they see some of the things that are happening, and I think it will — I mean, we have some older people that are coming to the show that think, well, I’m going to see a guy come out and talk about his experience at “The Tonight Show.” And then they see all the elements we have in the show and the kind of performance level there is, and people like Reggie Watts come out and I think maybe open them up to new ideas about what comedy is, because he integrates music, hip-hop, comedy, and creates this, I think, amazing performance. He really gets the crowd going before I even set foot on stage.
Vic Gundotra: Cool.
Conan O’Brien: Okay. You’re fired. You really want to ask this question now? Because he just lost his job.
Audience: Yeah, yeah. I actually have two questions.
Conan O’Brien: You have to combine them into one question.
Audience: Okay. I’ll try my best.
Conan O’Brien: You’ll do better than that.
Audience: So one of my favorite things –
Conan O’Brien: This isn’t Yahoo!, you know. We expect the best. Ha-ha-ha.
Vic Gundotra: No reflexes, remember?
Audience: So one of my favorite things about the return, or, rather, you taking over “The Tonight Show” was the return of Andy. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about –
Conan O’Brien: Why don’t we have Andy talk about Andy. He’s here. Andy Richter.
Andy Richter: Hello. It’s about time! Right there.
Vic Gundotra: You know what, you can have this water.
Andy Richter: Okay. No, I don’t want any water. Kirkland?
Conan O’Brien: What is Kirkland water?
Andy Richter: It’s Costco water. I’m sorry, Mr. O’Brien. You’re drinking Costco water.
Conan O’Brien: This is ridiculous.
Andy Richter: I know.
Conan O’Brien: Did you see they made me dance?
Andy Richter: I did. I saw it.
Conan O’Brien: Then a woman made me run up against her head.
Andy Richter: I know. That’s why I was standing by the door. I was so — I was humiliated for you. No, I actually was just back, standing outside the bathroom, because I think your assistant is in there front-cleansing. Our tour manager, our tour manager said, “You’ve got to check out the Japanese toilets.” So I just was in the bathroom to look, because I’ve seen them before, and they — there’s buttons on the wall, “front cleansing,” “rear cleansing.”
Conan O’Brien: What is — I’ve never heard of this before.
Andy Richter: It’s like a little bidet.
Conan O’Brien: No, no, I understand that part. I don’t understand, why do they have this at Google? Why am I asking you? “Cleansing is necessary. All Googlers must front-cleanse.”
Andy Richter: I hope you enjoyed Twitter — those Twitterers’ filthy asses.
Conan O’Brien: I did.
Andy Richter: I want to see it say “filthy asses.” Look, it does.
Conan O’Brien: What a great — Turn this up. Put this mike up a little bit. It’s getting low. I just — I love that that’s what we’re using the technology for.
Andy Richter: So I was in the bathroom, and I hear — I think it was your Sonna, assistant screaming in the women’s room.
Conan O’Brien: There she is. There she is!
Andy Richter: Are you front-cleansed?
Conan O’Brien: This is either the best or worst thing that’s ever happened at Google. It’s not anything in between. More questions.
Audience: This is perfect for my follow-up question. Because here at Google, we’re interested in seeing what the next big thing is, a little insight into the future. I was curious if you could give us some insights into the year 2000.
Conan O’Brien: The future Conan?
Andy Richter: There’s always cue cards for that, though. You think we just set up the top of our heads.
Conan O’Brien: You think we’re spontaneously funny? “Google merged with Blabble and form Gibble Gabble.” “In the year 2000.” Yeah, we — I was once — I was on an airplane once, and the plane was taxiing for the takeoff. It was a commercial flight, back in the day, 1just kidding — I fly commercial. But, anyway, — not like the rest of you, who have your jet packs. But I was on this commercial flight, and I hear the guy, the pilot, is just, like, getting ready to take off. And he went, “We’re all ready to take off, and I understand there’s someone here on the plane, a very special person who can tell us a little bit about” — and then he went, “In the year 2000.” And then started to, like, put the engine into overdrive to take off. And I had lost complete confidence in the pilot. At this crucial moment, he’s, like, making his jokes, “In the year two — shit, I didn’t check the altimeter.” Then later, they check the black box, and it’s my fault, you know.
But, anyway, to answer your question, Andy was in Los Angeles, and I called him up when I had the chance — and I said, Andy, you got to come on board, because “The Tonight Show,” it’s a franchise, no “The Tonight Show” show has ever been sacked. It’s a sure thing. Drop what you’re doing and come with me.
Andy Richter: I said, I’m now a tenured professor in show business.
Conan O’Brien: Yes.
Andy Richter: No way they can fire me.
Conan O’Brien: Yeah. And you went out and bought a theme restaurant.
Andy Richter: That’s right. It was all the skipper from “Gilligan’s Island.” It was all — That was the theme.
Conan O’Brien: Yeah. And now you’re impoverished, and here we are. But the important thing is, we stuck together. And now what it’s really — that’s what it’s about, kids, you have a friend, stick by him, and he’ll stick by you.
Andy Richter: Even though I did leave you back in the nineties.
Conan O’Brien: Oh, I know. To go hang with Pat Sajak.
Andy Richter: No. As it was once written, I was seeking prime-time stardom. That was what was written about me. And I was, like — I don’t remember ever thinking, “Sorry, Conan, I’m going to go seek prime-time stardom.”
Conan O’Brien: You did say that to me, and then jumped out the window.
Andy Richter: Yep. I was taking a lot of pills in those days.
Conan O’Brien: This gentleman right here, how can I help you?
Audience: Gentlemen, we miss you.
Andy Richter: We’re right here. Like my mom, she cries two days before she has to leave because she has to leave in two days.
Audience: There’s something important I want to point out. It is Cinco de Mayo. So where are Noches De Pasion?
Conan O’Brien: Oh, yes, Conando, Conando made me a huge Latino star, Conando. I look forward to the return of Conando. I don’t know what the deal is, actually. I’ll be honest with you, it’s legally unclear what can come with us to TBS and what can’t because of certain intellectual property issues that we address in the live show. But I think there’s no holding Conando back. I’ve been walking around Los Angeles, and I’ve had many, you know, people come up to me and just, like, oh, Conando.
Andy Richter: That’s how you’re known.
Conan O’Brien: Yeah, and I speak enough Spanish to be able to say, “Si.”
Andy Richter: And he always keeps a fake mustache in his pocket.
Conan O’Brien: Yes, I glue it on, which looks really funny over the red beard. I love Conando. He’s a lot of fun. My favorite part is Andy’s cameo. He’s always in a humiliating outfit.
Andy Richter: Yep. I think I was going to be a — no, I – or was I an actual taco?
Conan O’Brien: That’s just a dream you had.
Andy Richter: No. Because it was always, like, are you going to be like in a Carmen Miranda outfit, are you going to be dressed as a giant — I can’t think of the word — those things you shake, maraca.
Conan O’Brien: There are a lot of things you shake.
Andy Richter: Well in the Conando world.
Conan O’Brien: Anything else, sir, how can I help you?
Audience: Thank you very much.
Conan O’Brien: Thank you for bowing to us.
Andy Richter: Little tip for you all, might want to bow.
Conan O’Brien: I bow to you as well. Hello. How are you?
Audience: I’m good. Thanks. Okay. This is going to be really bizarre, and I acknowledge that I probably won’t be able to look anybody in the eye after asking this. But I was wondering if you could settle a long argument with my friends. So one of my friends from school did dorm crew, and he was cleaning out what he thought used to be one of your rooms, and he found a big ball of hair that he thinks was yours.
Conan O’Brien: Wait. Okay. Will you — You’ve got to be a little more specific. Let’s get really specific here. What year was this and what college?
Audience: Well, this was, like, three years ago.
Conan O’Brien: So — because I hate to shatter any illusions — you have about my age, but I graduated from college in 1985.
Audience: No, I know. This is –
Conan O’Brien: So this person thinks that I made a giant ball of hair –
Conan O’Brien: — and spun it and then left it in the Holworthy dorm at Harvard?
Audience: This is what I’m saying. It doesn’t make any sense.
Conan O’Brien: And then put it — and everyone was so horrified by it that from 1985 until three years ago, no one went near it, and then your friend found it and did a DNA test.
Audience: I know. His name is Jim.
Conan O’Brien: Oh, Jim. Yes, yes! That’s all I needed. No, I grew a giant ball of hair for Jim. And left it for him to find at the Holworthy dorm. Just next time say Jim. That’s all you had to do. I’ve heard — one of the things I’ll tell you, you’ve probably experienced this, too, Andy, is what happens when you become a known person is you start hearing all these things back about yourself that are complete madness. I went to my — one of my high school reunions, and people were coming up to me and saying things that were just completely untrue. And this one guy — about our past. This one guy came up to me, and just so you know, I’ll never — I’ll have like a glass of wine or two or three now, but I’m not a drinker. And I never drank at all when I was young or in college, ever. And this guy came up to me, and he said, “Hey, Conan, remember the time you and I broke into that liquor store late at night?” And I said, “No, no, no.” And he went, “Come on, we broke into the liquor store and we grabbed all that booze, and then the cops showed up, and we ran up that hill, and you were, like, ‘I’m get fucking out of here,’ and you took the booze, and then later, you drank all the booze, and I didn’t get any of it, you asshole, you.” And I said, “That didn’t really happen.” “Okay. I get it. Big star now. I get it. I get it.”
Now, in his mind, that really happened. And I’ve never committed a crime in my life. I am Richie Cunningham to the tenth power. I’ve never — And so I have had many things come back to me where people — I had a realtor once say, you know, he’s showing me, like, an apartment that I was going to rent. And he was, like, just so you know there are no hard feelings, I married your old girlfriend. And I said, oh, really? And I haven’t — it’s not like — I hate to disillusion people, I haven’t had that many girlfriends in my life, I said, really, was it blah, blah, blah? And he said, no, come on, Stacey. And he told me her full name. Never heard of this person before in my life. He said, come on, I know you two went out for a year and a half. But he said, it’s okay. I’m cool with it. So what happens is I’ve –
Andy Richter: That’s what really drew him to her, too.
Conan O’Brien: I know.
Andy Richter: Is getting your sloppy seconds.
Conan O’Brien: Yeah, I know. And then he was like, she had Conan. She has the ball of hair. Damn! You got me. But the truth is that you’ve had this, too, like, people just come up and they say — and 95% of what I hear is madness. Really, just madness, like, hey, a friend of mine saw you kick a guy to death in Hong Kong. And I’ve learned to just, instead of fighting them, I just go, yeah, well, that Dick had it coming, you know, like, go with it. Go with it. So, yes, say hi to Jim and sell that hair ball on eBay.
Audience: Conan, last year, you were at the International Science and Engineering Fair.
Conan O’Brien: Yes, I was.
Audience: In Reno. And this year, it’s next week, it’s in San Jose, and Google is the premier sponsor. If we promise you some swag, will you come again?
Conan O’Brien: I would love to come. I had a blast last year. — and we shot a remote for “The Tonight Show” where I went and talked to all the kids. And I absolutely loved it. The tour is going to prohibit us from doing it just because I am hitting — I was in Reno last night. We’re here today. We’re in — I don’t even know — am I in Sacramento tomorrow? Sacramento tomorrow. It’s just, we go, go, go, go. We’re in a different city all the time. So I probably won’t be able to do it. But I absolutely loved it. And the exhibits ranged from just amazing, it gave you hope for our country. These kids are so smart, and they have these incredible projects. Then there’s every now and then you’d find a project which was just such bullshit. I’m not being mean, but most of them are amazing. Then there would be a guy who had, like, a potato with tooth picks in it and, like, a sprout growing out the bottom. And he’d say, “It’s a potato with water on it.” And you know that he just did this to get the hell out of his town and get to Reno. And his exhibit’s next to a guy who’s, like, I split the hydrogen atom. Using a sneaker in my basement. And you’re, like, “Oh, my God.” Yes.
Audience: Andy, Conan, great to have you guys here. I just want to say, Andy, your shoes are awesome, by the way.
Andy Richter: Oh, thank you. I designed them myself. Although some dick at the gym said, “What are those, Nobi shoes?” But, no.
Conan O’Brien: I just meant it as a joke.
Andy Richter: They’re super awesome shoes is what they are.
Audience: They are. So, Conan, I was curious, do you have any thoughts on working with the comic geniuses Terrance and Phillip in the “South Park” movie. What was that experience like?
Conan O’Brien: It was so funny, because I found out later on that I was in the “South Park” movie. I remember exactly — this is just what my life is like. My girlfriend at the time, Stacey, whatever — I hit that, you know. But — such an ass. My girlfriend at the time and I — Look, there’s this big screen that says, “You have five minutes to go.” Why? Why can’t we stay as long as we want? Why? You have some —
Andy Richter: We’ll be taken to the vaporization chamber and head on to the next level.
Conan O’Brien: “That is all that’s acceptable.” We –
Audience: So you didn’t know you were in the –
Conan O’Brien: What happened is, I remember exactly what happened, which is, I had one of my rare vacations, which I never get, and I went to Maine with my girlfriend at the time. And it’s this beautiful place that’s on a lake, and you go and get breakfast in the morning and coffee, and someone had a — and they, like, put down a “U.S.A. Today” next to you. And I’m sitting there drinking this coffee, and I open up the “U.S.A. Today,” and it’s a review of the “South Park” movie, and it’s saying it’s really funny and everything. And then it has this box, which is the list of who plays who. And it has all the different names of people, then it says, “Conan O’Brien is played by.” And my jaw just dropped. And I said, “There’s this movie opening, and I’m in it, and they got the” — fortunately, it was really funny. Actually, we’re both in it. It’s this funny thing where they come on the show to talk to us, and then I end up committing suicide. But it was really — Happens a lot when I’m animated. But it was really funny, and I loved it. And I got to know those guys later on. And they said, “We’re really sorry about your voice in that movie.” And I said, what. They said the guy who played Data on that “Star Trek,” whoever that guys is, he convinced them, “I do the most amazing Conan O’Brien.” And they’re like, “Cool. Okay. Great.” And that’s why — one of the reasons they worked me in, is because he convinced them that he did a drop-dead perfect Conan O’Brien. And then he got into the booth and he was like, “Your next question!” And Matt and Trey are like, “Look at that.” But it was too late.
Andy Richter: Well, I liked that they were, like, “Well, there’s nothing that can be done about it.”
Conan O’Brien: Yeah, I know.
Andy Richter: “It’s been recorded.”
Conan O’Brien: Once you know Matt and Trey, you know they were probably, “Whatever, good enough.” But, yeah, I love those guys. Actually, “Team America” is one of my favorite movies of all time. It makes me relentlessly — I just cry, I’m laughing so hard.
Andy Richter: Best fight scenes, best sex scenes.
Conan O’Brien: Yes.
Audience: I was hoping both of you could tell us the weirdest thing that’s happened to you on the live tour.
Conan O’Brien: There’s been a lot of weird stuff.
Andy Richter: No, I can’t — you know. I stay in my room a lot.
Conan O’Brien: I think maybe for me the weirdest thing is, just before I go out and did a show in San Francisco, someone leaned over and said, “Hey, Neil Young’s in the audience.” And I play guitar in this show. And so I don’t get nervous a lot. I’ve been doing this a long time. But I suddenly realized that I’m going to be playing rock guitar in front of Neil Young. And I was horrified. And then there’s a part of the show where I take a guitar solo and just before I take it, I see it was one of those accidents, but I see, like, a shaft of light hitting Neil Young’s face. You know, looking up at me. And I don’t know what the equivalent is, writing code in front of Bill Gates or something. See, I know what’s going on.
Vic Gundotra: Conan, we’re going to have to cut this short.
Conan O’Brien: You don’t have to do anything. These people don’t have to work today. You all have to go home! You’ve done more than enough for this company! Are they writing that part? In fact, you should all participate in a profit-sharing plan with Google. Yes!
Vic Gundotra: Guys, we appreciate –
Conan O’Brien: I like it says “applause.” Hey, just a quick note, this was really fun, and we get asked to do a lot of things, and we don’t really have time to do a lot of things. But getting in front of young people who are really smart and sort of making the future happen, that’s thrilling for us. So thanks for having us here. Thank you very much.