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Conan O'Brien Moments

Television, Current Events | By Carson for The Top 13 on January 26, 2010

With Conan O'Brien's tenure as host of The Tonight Show now history and at least seven months until Conan returns with a new show, we started to think about what we're going to miss. And there's a lot we're going to miss. Fortunately, we were able to narrow it down for you. Accordingly, here are the Top 13 most memorable moments from Conan O'Brien's two late night NBC shows.

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Tonight Show Finale

1

Tonight Show Finale

Due to the highly publicized NBC late night debacle, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien ended after a mere seven months. While Conan had some fun at NBC's expense in his last week of shows, he toned it down at the end of his final show and gave his real thoughts on the matter. His final speech on the Tonight Show was touching and heartfelt. Clearly emotional, he thanked NBC and his fans before turning things over to Will Ferrell to give the show one final goodbye. Ferrell was joined by Ben Harper, Beck, Conan himself, and others for a rocking rendition of "Freebird." It was the perfect ending to a show that, in Conan's words, ended "ten years too soon."

Triumph Meets Star Wars Fans

2

Triumph Meets Star Wars Fans

Robert Smigel's beloved character debuted in 1997 on Late Night and has pooped on many things over the years. However, his most memorable segment came when he took on a crowd of Star Wars fans camping out for the release of Attack of the Clones in 2002. He encounters (and insults) Darth Vader, a pregnant nerd, Blackwolf the Dragonmaster, and a Star Wars-themed wedding. This clip is Triumph at his best.

Conan Visits Finland

3

Conan Visits Finland

Conan has done many bits on location all over the world, but none as memorable as his trip to Finland. After being told that he's wildly popular there and realizing that he bares a striking resemblance to their President Tarja Halonen (and possibly helping her win her re-election), Conan decided to pay a visit to the Nordic country, staying for five days and having a show devoted to the trip. He received a hero's welcome, met fans, went to a sauna society, visited the arctic wilderness, was interviewed on Finnish talk shows, mingled with locals, and sat down with President Halonen. One thing he did not get to do, however, was meet Fagerstrom.

Conan Plays Old-Time Baseball

4

Conan Plays Old-Time Baseball

Conan loves doing characters from olden days, so when he found out there was a baseball league in Long Island that played baseball the way they did in 1864, he decided to check it out. He found a group of people very committed to the times, most of whom are farmers and their female suitors. When he wants to woo the shyest woman watching, he dons the old outfit and a mustache, and plays ball. This is Conan's favorite bit from his late night shows.

Late Night Fight!

5

Late Night Fight!

The writer's strike created many memorable moments for Conan on Late Night. Having no writers forced Conan to do the whole show himself, and he came up with some great creative material. The most memorable moment came after Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's surprise win in the 2008 Iowa caucus when O'Brien, Stephen Colbert, and Jon Stewart all claimed to have "made" Huckabee. After a battle of words that spanned weeks, the clash of the titans came to a head when the hosts appeared on each others' programs the same night, climaxing with the big three-way fight on Late Night.

In the Year 2000

6

In the Year 2000

One of Conan's most popular recurring segments was "In the Year 2000" (which was changed to "In the Year 3000" for The Tonight Show). It featured Conan and sidekick Andy Richter or random, unannounced celebrities donning futuristic garb and spouting out absurd predictions about the future. The bit started long before the actual year 2000, but once the start of the new millennium came and went, the segment remained the same which made for all the more silliness.

Tonight Show Cold Open

7

Tonight Show Cold Open

Conan's run as host of Late Night came to a close after 16 years at the helm on February 20, 2009. Just over three months later, Conan returned as host of The Tonight Show. The first episode aired on June 1st and things kicked off with this cold open, which follows Conan as he runs across the country to start his new show in L.A., only to realize he left his keys in NY. It was a welcome return to TV and a promising start to a new but ultimately short-lived franchise.

Picking Apples with Mr. T

8

Picking Apples with Mr. T

What better way to celebrate the fall foliage than to go picking apples with Mr. T? Mr. T yells at fruit, yells at bees, and yells at Conan, but still displays his polite table manners while eating an apple. Mr. T has shown up on Conan's show many times, but no appearance was better than this one.

Conan Hangs Out with Hunter S Thompson

9

Conan Hangs Out with Hunter S Thompson

When Conan wanted to have legendary (and crazy) writer Hunter S. Thompson on Late Night, Thompson refused to come into the studio. Instead, he insisted that Conan meet him on a farm in upstate New York to shoot guns and drink hard liquor, and Conan did just that. Conan and Hunter spent the day shooting enormous guns at Thompson's then-new book, the NBC logo, a FAO Schwartz teddy bear, and a cardboard cutout of Bill Buckner.

Conan Visits His Ancestral Home

10

Conan Visits His Ancestral Home

For the 1999 St. Patrick's Day episode, Conan went to his ancestral home in search of his roots. He asked the locals to help his search to no avail. He drank, danced and sang his way through pubs and restaurants, and eventually found his ancestors' castle where he braved the blistering winds and reclaimed his heritage.

Walker Texas Ranger Lever

11

Walker Texas Ranger Lever

When NBC acquired the rights to Chuck Norris' TV show Walker, Texas Ranger, Conan had a field day. He devised a system where all he had to do was pull a lever and it would trigger a short clip of classic Walker moments. He would pull it at random times during the show, sometimes in the middle of interviews. Each clip was more ridiculous than the last, which made this segment one of his most popular ever.

Triumph at Bonnaroo

12

Triumph at Bonnaroo

Triumph the Insult Comic dog only got a few chances to shine during Conan's short run on The Tonight Show, but his first was his best. Triumph traveled to Manchester, Tennessee to perform at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and found some time to explore the farm while he was there. He found lots and lots of hippies, and made fun of them to their faces. He also found a very naked member of The Tonight Show band waiting inside a young girl's tent. Bonnaroo was a great place . . . for Triumph to poop on.

Norm Macdonald Visits

13

Norm Macdonald Visits

Any time Norm Macdonald stopped by either of Conan's shows, the audience was in for an absurd treat. He appeared on the shows many times, and each time was memorable in its own right, stamped with his particular brand of comedy. From his 1998 appearance where he sat next to and skewered Carrot Top for his abominable film Chairman of the Board, to his final appearance just last week when he extended belated congratulations to Conan for taking over The Tonight Show, Norm was always one of The Top 13's favorite guests on Conan's shows. "Long live the King of Late Night!"

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Comments Leave a comment

david 

Old-Time Baseball is one of my all-time favorites. Great clips too...haven't seen some of these.

4:13 AM   Jan 26, 2010

brian 

NBC is so dumb. Also, need some Pimpbot 5000!!!

6:21 AM   Jan 26, 2010

stillathreat ★★

The final show was good, maybe even really good, but it certainly wasn't more memorable than many of the entries on this list. Plus, no Houston???

8:25 AM   Jan 26, 2010

jason ★★

I didn't love the Freebird bit (if you're going to do a cliche, needs to make it a little more memorable), but the final show was pretty great I thought. Norm MacDonald's bit was hilarious and Conan's comments about cynicism and thanking NBC moved me a little. Here's hoping Leno crashes and burns (though unfortunately he'll probably do just fine).

11:28 AM   Jan 26, 2010

PulpAffliction ★★

Norm Macdonald is the king.

Also: Old-Time Baseball is supposedly Conan's favorite on location he ever did.

Also, also: this list needs moar Jordan Shlantzky and Pimpbot with Isabella "The Best" Rosellini.

9:23 AM   Jan 26, 2010

tloveisready ★★

God, these are great! I'm just now seeing most of these for the first time.

9:12 AM   Jan 27, 2010

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