Conan Christopher O’Brien (born April 18, 1963) is an American television host, comedian, writer, podcaster, and producer. He is best known for hosting several late-night talk shows; since 2010, he has hosted Conan on the cable channel TBS.
Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, O’Brien was raised in an Irish Catholic family. He served as president of The Harvard Lampoon while attending Harvard University, and was a writer for the sketch comedy series Not Necessarily the News. After writing for several comedy shows in Los Angeles, he joined the writing staff of Saturday Night Live. O’Brien was a writer and producer for The Simpsons for two seasons until he was commissioned by NBC to take over David Letterman’s position as host of Late Night in 1993. A virtual unknown to the public, O’Brien’s initial Late Night tenure received unfavorable reviews and remained on a multiweek renewal cycle during its early years. The show generally improved over time and was highly regarded by the time of his departure in 2009. Afterwards, O’Brien relocated from New York to Los Angeles to host his own incarnation of The Tonight Show for seven months until network politics prompted a host change in 2010.
Known for his spontaneous hosting style, which has been characterized as “awkward, self-deprecating humor”, O’Brien’s late-night programs combine the “lewd and wacky with more elegant, narrative-driven short films (remotes)”. He has hosted Conan since 2010 and has also hosted such events as the Emmy Awards and Christmas in Washington. O’Brien has been the subject of a documentary, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (2011), and has also hosted a 32-city live comedy tour and later an 18-city live comedy tour.
With the retirement of David Letterman on May 20, 2015, O’Brien became the longest-working of all current late-night talk show hosts in the United States, at 25 years.