List of Late Night with Conan O'Brien sketches

See also List of Conan sketches

The following is a list of sketches which debuted on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on NBC.

Late Night sketches appearing on Tonight

Moral Outrage

In response to a recent news story, usually about misconduct, Conan speaks at length about his moral outrage, and his feeling of responsibility to remove this type of behavior from society; meanwhile, the camera occasionally makes brief cuts from Conan to Max. Conan may also speak of a dim-witted accomplice who aids the deviant in his exploits, after which the camera briefly cuts from Conan to LaBamba. Finally, Conan urges the public to expose such people using the show's address which, together with the heading "Shameless Adulterous Weasel" or the like, is superimposed over Max.

In the Year 2000/3000

The sketch is typically performed with Richter participating, but after Richter left Late Night, the celebrity guest would participate (when Richter was scheduled as a guest, he would again take part). Each guest version would usually be titled "The [guest's surname] Edition" with "2.0" added for guests who have done the sketch more than once. In 2006, the naming format was changed to simply "The [guest's name] Edition". Its introduction is as follows:

Conan: "... It's time, once again, to look into the future."
Andy/Guest: "The future, Conan?"
Conan: "That's right, Andy/[Guest's name]. Let's look to the future, all the way to the year 2000!"

During an "In the Year 2000" sketch, O'Brien, Andy/Guest, as well as band member Richie "LaBamba" Rosenberg, each wears a black robe, futuristic-looking collar and hold a lit flashlight to their face. Between La Bamba's high falsetto wails of "In the year 2000...", O'Brien and Andy/Guest alternate delivering jokes, often based on current events, in the form of humorous predictions of what will happen in the year 2000. Quite commonly, the second-to-last prediction involves Conan mocking his guest, while the last prediction involves the guest mocking Conan in return. This sketch is very similar to one Conan performed with the Happy Happy Good Show in 1988.

The sketch was invented prior to the actual year 2000, but the show's writers decided to keep the named year the same even after the passing of the titular year, in a sort of ironic twist. However, when the sketch was revived on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, Richter heaped ridicule upon O'Brien for failing to update the name of the skit nine years after the year 2000 had passed. The sketch is renamed "In the Year 3000", with the black robe (referred to as a 'ratty smock' by Richter) being replaced with a more futuristic-looking outfit consisting of a large metallic collar with a series of blinking lights, which Conan said were very expensive to make and Andy said smelled bad. Appearing on Tonight June 3, 2009, it was the first Late Night sketch to be carried over to The Tonight Show. The open to the sketch included narration by William Shatner and, on one occasion, George Takei.

Celebrity Survey

In this sketch, Conan has supposedly sent out questionnaires to celebrities and he reads their replies. Conan reads a question and then recites the answer that each of three celebrities gave. The answers of the first two celebrities are ordinary "straight" answers. The third is the gag answer and often relates to something unseemly about the celebrity. For example, to the question: "I like to think of my viewers as people who..." Brian Williams wrote "want to be informed." Meredith Vieira wrote "want to be my friend." Tony Danza wrote "have broken both arms and can't change the channel;" A running joke has the survey frequently including a question which is answered by O.J. Simpson somehow referring to committing murder. To the question: "My favorite time of day is..." Evangeline Lilly wrote: "Dawn." Matt Lauer wrote "Twilight". O. J. Simpson wrote: "Murder O'Clock." A reply where Paris Hilton is the final respondent to a question has been used in every segment for at least the last four years, usually about her promiscuous dating habits. O'Brien and bandleader Max Weinberg have been used as well, with answers that perceive O'Brien as a loser and Max as a pervert. Another running gag has both Larry King and Kirstie Alley answering, usually poking fun at Larry King's age and Kirstie Alley's weight.

Reintroduced on The Tonight Show on June 5, 2009 and later reintroduced February 1, 2012 on Conan.

Noches de Pasion con Señor O'Brien (Nights of Passion with Mr. O'Brien)

A Spanglish telenovela parody, which Conan announces that they have made specifically for the NBC-owned Telemundo Spanish network. Conando (Conan with a fake mustache) is the hero of the piece, fighting mild villains to save the beautiful damsel in distress, usually from an abusive boyfriend or entering into a forced marriage, in most episodes. Each episode features a dramatic entrance, to which the villains bewilderedly ask "¿Conando?", the damsel swoons "¡Conando!" and to which Conan even more wildly replies "¡Si! ¡Conando!" In almost every sketch, Conando defenestrates the villains, making extensive use of stock footage. Quite often the sketch would include ridiculous phrases which you would not often use in daily conversation, but are common in Spanish-learning texts. Also, on occasion, the sketch would include long and complicated speeches which are obviously and extremely voiced-over. Also, on occasion, the sketches would include long and complicated speeches which Conan himself would rapidly read off cue cards with the speed, grammar mistakes, pronunciation and agility of an advanced level high school Spanish student.

Reintroduced on Tonight June 8, 2009, and performed many times on Tonight, Richter is introduced as Conando's sidekick Nachito, who always shows up when Conando is about to make love to the damsel, thus spoiling the romantic mood. In one sketch, the damsel did not end up with Conando but rather Mario Lopez.

The Audiencey Awards

Conan awards members of the studio audience for various talents. Typically this will always include "best celebrity impression" to highlight lookalikes (as in movie casting), and then a variety of other awards which are achieved with props and superimposed images. For example, the winner of "Best Foreign Language Audience Member" was shown with a large superimposed moustache and sombrero, and the "Audience Member Who Smells the Most Like Fresh Salmon" was attacked by a man in a bear costume. Awards show intermission segments (red carpet, how the award is built, etc.) are also parodied.

Reintroduced on Tonight June 16, 2009, and later reintroduced again on Conan on June 21, 2011.

In September 2009 the Audiency Awards hit a 'high' when one of the audience members turned out to be one of NORML's Board of Directors and Missouri NORML Executive Director, Dan Viets - who was also nominated for being "..most likely to be the professor at your college who can definitely get you weed."[1]

Movie casting

A fictitious new made-for-TV movie is announced, based on a real-life event Conan has mentioned. Conan then says he has the inside scoop on the movie's casting. Viewers are shown two photos side-by-side of a person or thing who will be portrayed in the movie and the person that will be playing the role. The casting first starts off with people who strikingly resemble the person they are playing but then goes off to extremes with, usually, objects or fictitious characters bearing some resemblance to the person they are playing. The humor is in how similar the two photos are despite how vastly different the two people/things pictured are or vice versa, with Conan often commenting on how great the casting is. Running gags include President George W. Bush being played by Ralph Wiggum, Patrick Star, or a deer in the headlights, Joe Biden being played by Bob Barker, Hillary Clinton being played by Chucky, Condoleezza Rice being played by Snoop Dogg, Donald Rumsfeld being played by Skeletor, and Dick Cheney being played by The Penguin.

Reintroduced on June 17, 2009.

Mike Merritt's Inner Thoughts

As Conan speaks on a recent news story dealing with race, the camera cuts to bassist Mike Merritt, as the audience hears his inner thoughts regarding Conan's lack of knowledge on racial issues and his attempt at "trying to be black." He also makes note of the scant number of black people in the studio, which usually includes only him and an audience member, or crew member, who is either hired for the show or whose skin is heavily made up to look tan. He would sign off by calling Conan a "pasty-faced pumpkin head", just before Conan finishes his speech by saying, "...because we're all part of this beautiful mosaic that is mankind", while believing that the audience is applauding for him.

Reintroduced on Tonight July 7, 2009, with Conan commenting on that day's memorial service for Michael Jackson. Has been seen on Conan on TBS as well.

New Coins/Stamps

Conan says he has "connections" which allow him to show "New" (fake) state quarters, Euros or commemorative stamps. The stamps are usually states based on people or current events. The state quarters insult the state they are based on, and the Euros insult the country they are based on. One such Euros skit led to the creation of Conan O'Brien Hates My Homeland.

The new coins sketch was reintroduced on Tonight July 13, 2009.

Conan, Max, and announcer Joel Godard have recently had a party and Conan displays the ridiculous and fictional events of this party. These events typically include heavy drinking and rather gory violence or homicide on the part of one or the entire cast. Towards the end of the bit they are always joined by a celebrity, played by an actor with a superimposed picture of the celebrity at hand. The celebrity usually ends up getting into a fight with Conan, Joel, or Max, or is seen in compromising positions and/or situations, always looking back at the camera with exactly the same look, since the superimposed picture never changes. Before his death, Carl "Oldie" Olsen, played by William Preston, was usually in the party instead of Joel Godard.

Reintroduced on Tonight July 21, 2009, featuring only Conan and Andy, and their trip to the beach.

Hanging Out with Jordan Schlansky

During the 2007-08 writers' strike, O'Brien interviewed various members of his production staff including, associate producer Jordan Schlansky. O'Brien asked Schlansky about his feelings on working for O'Brien, his skill with a bullwhip, his appreciation for the band Rush, and his healthy eating habits. During the interview O'Brien found Schlansky to be totally unfazed by his boss's jokes or antics, reacting to most with a stoic demeanor. At the end of the segment, O'Brien thanked Schlansky, commenting, "I can't believe you're a real person." The positive reaction to the Schlansky interview led to an episode where Jordan and O'Brien had dinner at an Italian restaurant, with O'Brien purposefully trying to annoy and embarrass Schlansky throughout the bit, without apparent success. When O'Brien moved from New York to Los Angeles, most of his staff moved with him and found places to live, except for Schlansky. O'Brien and a realtor helped Schlansky find a house, with O'Brien again trying unsuccessfully to provoke an emotional reaction from Schlansky. Throughout subsequent sketches O'Brien would make more pointed criticisms of Schlansky's tastes and lifestyle.

Conan and Andy on the Aisle

When Richter left Late Night, the sketch was simply titled "Conan on the Aisle." In the skit, Conan and Andy review movies released in cinemas around the time of the sketch's original airing. He usually comments on a negative quality which is either fictitious or exaggerated by an edited scene he then shows as proof. For example, when Conan was reviewing Jurassic Park III, he mentioned that the movie had scenes that were disgusting and weird. A scene then appeared where a couple ran and were surprised by a dinosaur which opened its mouth to roar. Late Night edited the couple's lost child into the dinosaur's mouth, and the child says "hello" to the parents. The sketch occasionally reviewed TV shows. For example, Conan poked fun at the then-new television series Viva Laughlin claiming the producers missed some key signals of the show's poor quality. A clip of the show featuring one of its musical numbers appeared interspersed with footage of a "crew member" who, horrified at how terrible the show is, suddenly activates a TNT detonator and the scene switches to stock footage of an imploding building.

Reintroduced on Tonight August 4, 2009.

Brian McCann on the Spot

During the monologue or opening segment, O'Brien mentions a big news item and says Brian McCann is on the scene and cuts to him via a "remote feed", which is actually McCann standing in front of a greenscreen backdrop. McCann gives an increasingly absurd report that involves a variety of gags, such as the backdrop turning into a slideshow of various landmarks as he attempts to convince O'Brien that he is taking a tour. At one point McCann is seen wearing a pants suit and blond wig in a report about Hillary Clinton. Throughout the sketch McCann becomes increasingly frustrating to O'Brien, who wanders off his set and shows up on McCann's screen and knocks him unconscious with a breakaway chair. The camera angle shifts to show the green screen was right next to Conan's set. As McCann is revealed to be faking unconsciousness, O'Brien then derides his acting and wonders if he will lie there for the rest of the bit.

McCann has also done a remote feed of sporting events, such as NBA Finals and U.S. Open, where he had Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers, and Tiger Woods to interview, though they did not appear on screen. But at the end, the interviewees come out, partially hiding themselves, but only to reveal that it is actually Pierre Bernard. Then O'Brien would knock out McCann with an object.

When reintroduced on Tonight August 24, 2009, O'Briendid not hit McCann with a chair. Instead, McCann just walked out of his shot and into O'Brien's (a running gag in the satellite interview sketch), followed by Bernard, who portrayed the Obama family off screen, and an elderly man playing Brett Favre, who appeared earlier in the broadcast.

Pender Sings

Trumpeter Mark Pender is invited by Conan to sing a song about a current event. Pender begins normally, but upon reaching the refrain, he loses control, climbing over the railing into the audience, eventually writhing around on the floor wailing "baby" over and over again until Conan finally stops him. The rhythm of the song is typically the same, with different lyrics each time.

Reintroduced on Tonight August 28, 2009, when it was incorporated into the "Conan, Please Blow Up My Car" contest.

The Interrupter

A man in an off-beat magician's costume with a silly voice (played by Brian Stack) appears in the short hallway to the right of the set, and 'interrupts' Conan. Conan and The Interrupter have a conversation, where every line is started by Conan and finished by The Interrupter (until the very end, where the roles are reversed). The entire conversation focuses upon the Interrupter's seedy and highly unusual private life, involving such details as The Interrupter's parents trying to disown him or something of a sexual nature, such as sneaking into Home Depot after hours to smell bags of 'sexually arousing' peat moss.

Reintroduced on Tonight on September 3, 2009 and reprised for Stack's final show on Conan on April 2, 2015.

Small Talk Moment

Conan and Max make small talk about a particular subject. The result is usually that both Max and Conan, bantering back and forth, end up going into extreme detail or citing obscure people and events. Once they have exhausted the subject, Max stops and says, "Wow, Conan! Talking about (this subject) sure is interesting", to which Conan enthusiastically responds, "It sure is, Max!" They then stare at one another in dull fashion as the camera cuts back and forth between them.

Reintroduced on November 23, 2009 when Max returned from his tour with Bruce Springsteen. The topic of the first return sketch was soccer.

Late Night sketches

Actual Items

A parody of Jay Leno's Headlines segment on The Tonight Show in which Leno finds humorous mistakes in various newspapers. Conan's bit takes regular newspaper ads and stories and adds blatantly fake text; for example, an ad depicting a leather living room couch was modified to include a cartoon cow exclaiming, "How's my ass feel, you son of a bitch?", or an ad for a new home, labeling one of the rooms as "The Room You Will Die In." Adding to the humor, Conan repeatedly insists that his ads are real, commenting "you can't make this stuff up, why would you, that would waste everybody's time." This sketch appeared on the show's very first episode in September 1993.

"ASS" Stamp

Conan and Max converse about a current event or person, with Conan asking leading questions to which Max replies incorrectly, but in great detail in an attempt to appear knowledgeable. Usually, this is initiated when Conan introduces a person who is famous for some accomplishment but not necessarily widely recognizable. Max will claim to recognize the person and perhaps claim to be a long-time friend or acquaintance of the individual. Conan then catches Max in the lie, stating "I made it up just to make a fool out of you!". Max replies "Well, I guess I know what's coming...", Conan says "You sure do", and a large red stamp (like a typical rubber stamp imprint) of the word "ASS" appears on the screen over a dejected Max, along with a dramatic voiceover of the word. Occasionally, the roles will be reversed, and Conan will be "stamped".

Other stamps are often used to abruptly punctuate various one-off sketches, including words such as "Alone", "Liar", "Sad", and "Small Penis". Another sketch on Tonight ended with an "Admirable" stamp after Barack Obama called the work of AFTRA members "admirable" in a video. Otherwise, these sketches bear no particular resemblance to the standard recurring "Ass Stamp" sketch.

A variation of the ass stamp appeared on Conan's new show on TBS in 2011 during the NFL playoffs where Conan and Andy are trying to feign an interest in the NFL playoffs and afterward, a stamp appears over the two of them calling them "GIRLS". This happened again during the Stanley Cup Playoffs when Conan said he was cheering for the Boston Bruins, since Conan is from Boston. Andy then called him out on it, saying he's never heard about him talk about hockey before. Andy then quizzed him on who the coach was, name a forward, the goalie, etc., and then asked who the Assistant Equipment Manager was, and then ridiculous ones like Vice-President of Corporate Partnerships. Eventually, Conan got one wrong and Conan was stamped as a "PHONY A-HOLE".

Before Plastic Surgery

A picture of a famous celebrity, usually either rumored to have had or has actually had plastic surgery done in real life, is shown. The picture is then distorted with exaggerated features into a grotesque new picture of what that person looked like before the surgery. The last item in the sketch often makes a joke using an unaltered photograph of another unrelated celebrity, animal, plant or object as the before picture: for example, if George W. Bush had plastic surgery, his before picture would be that of a chimpanzee. The sketch is loosely related to the "If They Mated" sketch in that it uses the same technology for a similar comedic premise.

Celebrity Secrets

Features celebrities in a room that looks like a jail cell or perhaps a police interrogation room, smoking a cigarette and downing hard liquor, usually telling some humorous "secret" previously unknown about them. For example, one featured Michael Caine saying "I was convinced that the 'MC' in MC Hammer's name stood for Michael Caine. When I found out it didn't, I destroyed his career." Another featured Alex Trebek taking a drink, and admitting he had a "potent potables" problem. When Gwyneth Paltrow appeared on the sketch she admitted that anytime before she starts a new film she kills a hobo with a hammer, as well as admitting an affinity for porn. When U2 appeared on the sketch, they admitted they were not Irish. When Senator John McCain ran for president in 2008, Conan began replaying his secrets segments, which included McCain plugging "The McCain-Feingold Singles Guide to Portland."

Coked up Werewolf

Shown in 2003 numerous times. The sketch was simply a man in a werewolf costume, rubbing his snout in a manner stereotypically associated with cocaine users.

Conan O'Brien Hates My Homeland

The premise of this skit had its origin when Late Night received many angry letters from viewers in Ukraine after mocking that nation in another recurring skit, New Euros, where the joke was an image on a Ukrainian Euro Coin depicting a man in Eastern European dress with four arms, holding up seventeen fingers, with the caption on the coin saying "Over 17 years since the Chernobyl Accident".[2] O'Brien was unaware that his show was even airing in Ukraine. So the premise of "Conan O'Brien Hates My Homeland" is that O'Brien, in an effort to find out where else the show is being aired without his knowledge, reads fast-paced insults of each of the nations of the world in alphabetical order , with the expectation that angry mail will come pouring in from offended viewers in countries where the show is broadcast. O'Brien insults 5 countries (with a bell ringing between each one) each time the bit airs. A sample insult: Georgia: Where Europe meets Asia and says "Hey, why don't we both dump our crap here?" Announcer Joel Godard then tells insulted viewers around the world a real address to send their angry letters. On August 9, 2007, Zimbabwe was the last country to be featured, thus ending the sketch after three years.


An announcer on the Finnish entertainment channel SubTV, which airs the show a couple of days after it is aired in the USA, asked people to defend Finland before Conan got to insult it, and the viewers in Finland began sending mail before the bit had even gotten to the letter F. Conan responded by assuming the Finnish "just couldn't wait" to be insulted and officially insulted Finland in the segment. An overwhelming number of postcards were supposedly received, which apparently "forced" Conan to give Finland a formal apology. Conan then went as far as to have the flag of Finland shown in the background during a speech and slandered the Finns' "hated" neighbor Sweden with a sign saying "Sweden Sucks!" printed over the flag of Sweden. In 2006, the Finland antics increased. While talking to fans before the show, Conan met two Finnish fans who commented that he resembled their President, a woman named Tarja Halonen. Amused that his show was even airing in Finland, Conan made frequent references to his resemblance to Halonen, even putting her picture beside a live feed of his head. Upon learning that Halonen was running for reelection, Conan went so far as to film a segment of the show which took the form of a campaign commercial for the President. When Halonen won she jokingly gave O'Brien part of the credit and offered to meet him if he ever came to Finland. This inspired an episode where Conan did travel to Finland where he was given a hero's welcome at the airport, met with Tarja Halonen, participated in Lapplander folk rituals, and sought out an ordinary Finnish fan who had written a letter to the show.[3]

Desk Driving

Originally done with sidekick Andy, Conan later invited an audience member to ride his desk outside with him. He actually was in front of a green screen and he holds a steering wheel. The greenscreen displays scenes of the road and the outdoors. Usually they get into humorous situations on the road. For example, as they went through a rural area, animals "humped" or attempted to mate with him. Green-colored objects are also used to incorporate violence into the bit, such as by putting green circles onto their bodies to show that they have been shot. A recurring incident since the use of audience members involves driving down the stairs outside the 30 Rockefeller Plaza building (which would be a bumpy ride on a wheeled vehicle), then Conan pausing the bit to criticize his passenger's insufficient bouncing and rewinding the footage to the top of the stairs to try it again, more convincingly.


This sketch sometimes occurs when Conan announces future guests. After announcing the first guest, a member of the audience (played by writer Brian Stack) is seen saying that the guest is "Fantastic!" right to the camera with a thumbs up. After Conan announces the next guest, the member does almost the same thing, but ends by making up a word by combining a guest's name or work with the word "fantastic". (For example: "Wow, Omar Epps? That charismatic scene-stealer is Epps-tastic!" or "Tell that group, "don't stop the 'tastic!") Then, Conan reminds viewers he will also be doing his usual "hilarious monologue", the camera shows that the man prepares to do his bit, but changes his mind. Conan also mentions the show's "zany, off-the-wall comedy bits", and the man either already stopped paying attention and/or begun torturing himself. (Examples: reading a disturbing or uninteresting book or newspaper article, drinking bleach or drilling his teeth.) Conan then questions the man, asking if he just likes the guests but "thinks everything else we do is crap?" or some other negative word. The man will then finish with "not crap, craptastic!"

Guests We'll Never Have Back

Conan will start by talking about how great the guests for that night's show are, then mention that sometimes they book guests whose appearances end up being disastrous. He then introduces a series of fictional clips from past shows where the guests reveal themselves to have unforeseen quirks or cause disturbing mishaps. Some examples include a chef who does not actually make anything, but only reassembles food to its original form, and a character named Barney Brittlebones who crumples to the floor the instant he makes physical contact with Conan.

Horny Manatee

During the airing of the usual "New College Mascots" sketch, a character called the "FSU Webcam Manatee" was featured - a manatee in front of a computer, dancing to the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself", being watched remotely by trumpeter Mark Pender. Conan, in an ad-libbed statement, mentioned that the character appeared on the, at the time fictitious, web site "". The next night, Conan told viewers that if he mentions a web site which does not exist the NBC corporate policy is to buy the domain name lest someone else use it and potentially make NBC liable for the site's content. Conan said Late Night decided to use the domain name to create an actual web site, giving it the appearance of a fake porn site. With (no longer operational), Conan asked viewers to submit pictures to the page. Since that night, Conan has periodically given viewers an "update" on the website's status, mentioning its hit count and several fan submitted images, poems, and other media pouring in. Conan also used the updates as lead ins for special, on-stage Horny Manatee segments. For example, Conan called on James Lipton to dramatically recite the fan-made poetry, then dance with the Manatee on air at his own request, and flew the Pittsburgh-based pop-punk duo Rocket Me Nowhere to New York to perform their tribute song "My Hopeless Manatee".

The last time Conan stated site's hit count (Jan. 18, 2007), it was "20 million hits" and counting. In an interview with New York Times, O'Brien has also said that he was overwhelmed at the viewer response.[4] As of December 16, 2006, the site has achieved an Alexa website ranking of about 31,000,000,[5] over thirty times the rank for (about 937,000),[6] to which Late Night is donating some proceeds of its "Horny Manatee" T-shirts offered on the site.[7] Currently, traffic to the website is routed to NBC's main site.

If They Mated

Pictures of two famous celebrities, usually believed to be dating at the time, are shown. The pictures are then combined into a grotesque new picture of what their offspring would look like if they mated. The segment became so successful that it later spawned a book. The last item in the sketch often makes a joke using an unaltered photograph of a celebrity as the offspring: for example, if Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden ("two of the most hated people in the world") were to have a child, it would be Steve Bartman. Another notable example; Paris Hilton and her pet chihuahua would create George W. Bush. Once Conan mated Kelly Ripa with Clay Aiken then asked the question "What do you get when you cross a perky talk show host and a guy who just won't come out of the closet?", and a picture of Conan was shown.

The sketch was revived on O'Brien's TBS show, Conan as "If They Melded" using video of two famous celebrities, though they usually are not dating each other.


Conan begins by talking about needing to relax and unwind by going to his favorite bar - Joe's. Theme music plays with an exterior shot of the bar. He walks inside and the bartender (Kevin Dorff) and a patron (Brian McCann) begin to berate Conan invariably for showing up to an event 'completely plastered' insisting on feminine activities and in some way or another ruining food or drink that's to be served. Conan drinks hard liquor while being yelled at and looking insecure. The sketch always ends with the bartender, Joe, demanding Conan pay the money he owes. Conan stands up, screams, "I'LL PAY WHEN I'M GOOD AND READY!", and hurls his drink against the wall, often returning to break a stool over the bartender and patron

Masturbating Bear

The Masturbating Bear was a recurring character on Late Night. The character consisted of a man in a bear costume dressed in a diaper-like undergarments which contained oversized genitalia, and was often accompanied by several human "handlers" armed with cattle prods. The character would be asked to perform some sort of innocuous task such as explaining a chart on recent economic fluctuations or smoking weed with Conan O'Brien. Inevitably, a few seconds into whatever task he had come to perform, the bear would begin furiously fondling himself as part of the song "Sabre Dance" plays. The bear would then usually be given electric shocks by his human handlers. Despite repeated instances of masturbation, the Masturbating Bear would continue to be invited back on Late Night. Once, the bear was revealed to be Chuck Norris in costume.

During the last week of Conan's run on Late Night, Conan declared the bear was too risque for 11:30 and tried to retire the bear by encasing him in carbonite, a la Han Solo. This drew a protest from Carrie Fisher, who subsequently freed the bear. The bear was last seen sailing away on a boat with Fisher until he reappeared on The Tonight Show on January 20, 2010 in the wake of the controversy surrounding Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien, which saw O'Brien's departure. Originally, it was thought NBC would be able to claim the Masturbating Bear as intellectual property. As a result, he was transformed into the Self-Pleasuring Panda for O'Brien's tour.[8]

When O'Brien took his TBS show to New York City for a week in 2011, the bear was, in one episode, depicted as being out of show business and settling down with a wife and two children in the New York suburbs. After a brief video reel revealed such, the bear was invited on stage to a cheering audience. However, Conan's words about the size of the audience became too much for the bear, who stripped out of his business attire and began to pleasure himself both on stage and on hanging rafters above.

After a series of bear attacks in April 2012, the bear came to Conan's TBS show in Los Angeles.

During Conan's June 2012 trip to Chicago, Conan introduced the Masturbating Bear, but instead a man dressed as a Chicago Bears player watching Internet pornography with his pants down was brought onto the stage. The original Masturbating Bear came out soon after.

New Characters

Conan tells the audience that it is time for new additions to be added to Late Night's current characters, such as "The Masturbating Bear" or the FedEx Pope (Brian McCann). New additions are often more ridiculous than ones before, such as the Nudist Who Has No Skeleton or the Screeching Raccoon with a Jet Pack. Some are popular enough to warrant a second appearance, though few are actually made into recurring characters. Generally the new characters are absurdist in nature and carry names which fully describe their appearance or concept, sometimes extending to full multi phrase sentences. For example, one recurring character was "Gorilla Nurse Using an Old Fashioned Abdominal Exerciser While Listening to 'Angel of the Morning' by Juice Newton" a character which consisted simply of a stuffer gorilla in a nurses costume being vibrated by an old abdominal exerciser while the titular music played. A related gag also exists where Conan promises that he will not waste the audience's time with zany, random jokes, only to introduce a completely zany, random character. Notable characters from this bit include Fidel Castro Rabbit DJ, Nation of Twain, Man protected from three-inch bees, Hippie fire hydrant on a skateboard, Cactus Chef Playing "We Didn't Start the Fire" on the Flute and the Oscillating Air Purifier that Looks Like Slash, and R2Mr. T2. Another version is "New College Mascots", which feature fake mascots which often make fun of a real college or its surrounding area. One such skit featured an "FSU Webcam Manatee" which spawned the "Horny Manatee" sketch of December 2006. In the lead-up to his departure for The Tonight Show in early 2009, O'Brien brought back characters which would be inappropriate in the 11:30 PM time slot, such as the Masturbating Bear, which was frozen in carbonite, but subsequently rescued by Carrie Fisher. The New York Daily News reported on May 27, 2009 that O'Brien eventually plans to reintroduce the Masturbating Bear on Tonight.[9]

Pierre Bernard's Recliner of Rage

A comedy bit in which Late Night graphic designer Pierre Bernard, Jr. sits in a recliner and relates a story that has recently angered him personally. This tale is always a long, drawn-out personal tale delivered in a soft-spoken tone that usually involves some sort of comic-book, anime, sci-fi-related, or similarly esoteric medium. At the end of his complaint he states "Bottom line, America..." as he grabs the handle of the recliner and shifts it back into an upright position to lean forward and point furiously at another camera centered on him to give his final geeky demands on the matter. Much of the humor of the sketch comes from the dry, emotionless manner in which Bernard delivers his "rage." A complaint about the TV show Stargate SG-1 led to him getting small cameos on the show; whereas a complaint about the Japanese anime franchise Robotech numerous DVD releases in the marketplace prompted a "response" from about the complaint and an offer to send Bernard a free complete collection of the DVDs.[10]

In 2007, Bernard and O'Brien starred in a spin-off sketch entitled "Pierre Bernard: Serial Killer." The sketch had been inspired by Bernard's real life refusal to allow the show to tape a remote segment at his home focusing on his sizable action figure collection. Conan insisted that the only explanation for Bernard's reluctance to allow a camera crew into his home was that the graphic designer was, in fact, a serial killer. During the sketch, O'Brien interviewed Bernard in the manner of news magazine shows such as Dateline NBC, asking questions designed to implicate Bernard as a murderer. Initially, Bernard seemed reluctant but as the sketch went on he seemed to get more into the act. At one point, Bernard admitted that he did not describe himself as prolific because "I haven't been killing for very long." After the taped portion of the sketch, Bernard was wheeled on stage on a gurney wearing a muzzle similar to Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

Pierre Bernard moved with O'Brien on The Tonight Show to continue as a graphic designer and occasional performer, first seen on June 3, 2009.

Puppets and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog

Late Night made extensive use of puppets since the show's inception. For example, in one sketch, called "Puppet's Last Words Channel", a puppet scientist prepares to take a drink from a cup labeled "acid" and says, "I sure do love my morning cup of coffee." The acid melts the puppet's face. In another segment of the same sketch, a puppet exclaims to another puppet that she was born with both sets of genitalia.[11] One recurring gag features "Vomiting Kermit", showcasing the Muppet retching streams of liquid from its mouth. Perhaps the most notable puppet, both on and off the show, is Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. On June 19, 2009, Triumph crossed over onto The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.

SAT Analogies

Conan helps students with their standardized exams by providing satirized SAT analogies based on current events. Although the newest SAT format has dropped analogies, the segment continues to be used in new episodes. A typical example: person who sees a pregnant woman : "you're glowing" :: person who sees a pregnant Nicole Ritchie : "who stuffed an avocado in that cocktail straw?" The sketch often ends with an analogy involving Paris Hilton that makes a joke about her sexual history, for example: Final episode of "The Sopranos": lots of guys getting whacked resulting in messy loss of bodily fluids:: Paris Hilton: popular hotel heiress


This sketch relies heavily on the low-budget filming method Syncro-Vox. A TV screen is lowered down to the seat where the interviewed would actually sit. On the screen is a still image of a celebrity, with live video of the mouth of the back stage impersonator superimposedbecause of this method, the fake interviews are also called the "Clutch Cargo routine", after the 1959 cartoon, that is the most widely remembered user of Syncro-Vox. Commonly impersonated celebrities are Arnold Schwarzenegger (who almost always mentions his 'smash hit holiday classic', Jingle All the Way, and makes lame comebacks such as "You're not even a movie!"), George W. Bush, Barbara Bush (who is given the gruff voice of a man from New Jersey), Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Martha Stewart (either of whom if, nagged by Conan about a point she wishes to dismiss, will begin talking in a demonically deeper voice as her eyes glow red), Michael Jackson, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Donald Trump (who will frequently describe things with the adjective "Trump," proclaim his accomplishments to be "huge," and respond to Conan's correcting him with "you're fired!"), Saddam Hussein, Tom Cruise (who often shouts triumphantly and raises his fists or feet, in reference to his infamous "Couch Jumping Incident" on Oprah), Mike Tyson, John Kerry and Keith Richards. Most of the impressions are done by either Robert Smigel or Brian Stack.

This bit was parodied, along with the entire show, on Robot Chicken's Star Wars Special. Conan provided his own voice.


Quackers is a white domesticated duck who first appeared on the August 6, 2007 show during a sketch. The sketch involved Conan nervously reacting to various band members shouting at him, only to learn they were being literal. For example, one band member shouted, "Conan, Duck!" and Conan dove for cover behind his desk, only to learn the band member was pointing out a duck was in the studio. Conan, noting the audience's apparently positive reaction to the duck, dubbed it Quackers. Two nights later, Quackers made a return appearance, during which the duck unexpectedly defecated on the studio floor and then rubbed its own beak in it as if eating, simultaneously prompting riotous laughter/howling from the audience and a horrified response from Conan, who referred to him as "Quackers the Shit-Eating Duck". The August 10 and September 4 shows included a "special announcement" about a new show coming to NBC, the family sitcom "Quackers the Shit-Eating Duck." Quackers also displays an ability to mug to the audience for applause. On the September 19 episode, Conan notes Quackers' popularity amongst viewers again and also mentions Quackers' popularity on YouTube. The episode also contains a clip of Quackers as an action star.

The Walker, Texas Ranger Lever

This sketch sprang from NBC's purchase of entertainment company Universal in early 2004, creating NBC Universal. Conan noted that this purchase now allowed him to play clips from the show Walker, Texas Ranger starring Chuck Norris without paying any royalties. The "Walker Texas Ranger Lever" was a prop lever which, when pulled, would cause a supposedly random clip from the TV show to play. The clips were nearly always taken out of context and usually involved either Norris performing some improbable feat of heroics, or a particularly despicable act of violence being committed by a villain. For example, one clip involved Walker tasting the dirt in a random patch of land and determining that a plane had crashed there. Another involved a villainous father (played by Dan Lauria) exhorting a young boy to jump from a high ledge, insisting that he would catch the youth. Yet when the boy did jump the man stepped back allowing the child to hit the ground. The sketch would usually begin with Conan introducing the premise and then commenting that he did not intend to use the lever immediately, followed by his immediately pulling it. In most instances of the sketch, Conan would comment after at least one clip that the sketch was finished, after which he would pull the lever "one last time." After a clip is played, the camera would generally cut back to Conan for a, usually shocked, reaction. In late summer 2004, the bit seemed to have been retired as Chuck Norris walked in and fired a prop gun at Conan. Norris also revealed his own lever and pulled it, playing a clip showing him mock-fighting Conan with martial arts moves in the back of the studio. The lever did return on occasion in 2005. Notably, the premise of the bit was technically incorrect, since Walker was owned by CBS, Sony Pictures Television, and a few other companies; Walker just ran on NBC Universal-owned USA Network at the time. One of the last and most popular clips to be shown was part of a "spring cleaning" segment where they were airing jokes which they had previously developed but had not aired before. With the Walker clip Conan insisted that they had been too scared to air it when they had originally discovered it, explaining "Once you see it. You'll understand why." The clip in question involved a young Haley Joel Osment informing the characters, in a rather cheerful manner, that "Walker told me I have AIDS." When the camera cut back to the studio for a reaction shot, Conan simply stood up, walked to a corner of the stage where he stood for a few seconds as the audience reacted in amusement and shock, and then returned to his seat where he nervously chuckled and wished to introduce a commercial break, though continued the 'Spring Cleaning' segment.

The merger also led to the creation of two other short-lived triggers, a Knight Rider pull chain, and a Beverly Hills Cop Theme button. Sometimes these were combined, such as playing the Beverly Hills Cop theme behind a Walker, Texas Ranger scene.

In 2007, the lever returned, playing clips from B-grade 1970s/1980s Norris movies (a different movie each episode). This began with the Slaughter in San Francisco Lever (which was used during the April/May run of shows in San Francisco); Breaker! Breaker!, A Force of One and The Octagon have also been used.

The lever also sparked its share of the Colbert/O'Brien/Stewart feud, once Norris started appearing with 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Conan took credit for the outcomes.

In the penultimate episode of the show Conan claimed that the lever was the most requested skit on the show by fans.

In 2010, during Conan's live Legally Prohibited tour, the "Walker, Texas Ranger lever" was reintroduced, used in the shows by Conan as well as by guests. However, to avoid potential legal issues with NBC claiming use of intellectual property, the lever was rechristened the "Chuck Norris Rural Policeman Handle", and featured clips from Walker that were not used previously on Late Night, with the exception of the aforementioned clip with Haley Joel Osment, which was featured at the end of every "Rural Policeman Handle" segment.

The lever returned again four years later on Conan's current show on TBS when he traveled to Dallas from March 31 to April 3, 2014 on the last night. As he no longer worked for NBC, he instead showed different clips featuring Chuck Norris from Walker - the same clips showed during the Legally Prohibited tour - Again, with the exception of the clip with Haley Joel Osment, which was shown at the end of the segment.[12]

Nerding It Up For Pierre

In this bit, Conan tries to explain a popular news story to graphic designer Pierre Bernard (See "Pierre Bernard's Recliner of Rage" above) by relating current events to obscure events in various anime or science fiction shows that Pierre understands and enjoys, such as Battlestar Galactica. A previous version of this sketch was "Dumbing It Down For La Bamba", where Conan would use basic, often childish language when describing current events to the band's trombonist.

Questions From The Audience

Conan reflects on the fact that he has had a long and varied career. He offers to field any questions from the audience on some of the celebrities he has met or any other interesting aspect of his life in show-business. However the questions from the audience always relate to obscure topics such as how best to grow a plant or car maintenance advice. While Conan expresses disappointment that the question is not about his career, he is always able to give expert in-depth answers to the audience's queries.

Other sketches

Annual sketches

The countdown did not air on New Year's Eve in both 2005-06 and 2006–07, as these dates were on Saturday and Sunday night respectively. NBC carried live specials with Carson Daly on these occasions. Another such special aired for 2007-08 (a Monday night); a writer's strike meant Late Night could not have resumed its Central Time countdown that year in any event. By 2008-09, the Carson Daly specials had supplanted the special New Year's Tonight and Late Night episodes permanently (repeats of both shows followed the live special).

An alternate version is presented in the form of a newsreel, with Joel Godard narrating events of the year over real footage, intercut with relevant Fake celebrity interviews from the past year.

During the 2007-08 writers' strike

In November 2007, a Writers Guild of America strike forced Late Night and other late night TV shows into reruns. The show would resume production on January 2, 2008; the strike still continued, however (it would not conclude until February 12, 2008), forcing the show to refrain from using any of its regular sketches or characters. As such, a small series of new sketches was devised to keep viewers entertained, or to just kill time. These sketches included the following:

Former sketches

Monologue digressions


  • The address for viewers to send in their own suggestions for use of the Grub-Man costume was:
Grub-Man Costume Ideas c/o Late Night
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
  • A variation on this bit was used when the show acquired an expensive whale costume for a single sketch, and then devoted an entire "Whale Week" to whale-related bits, ostensibly to get their money's worth from the costume. The whale costume in question has been used with decreasing frequency since.


  1. Kansas City NORML Inc - Dan Viets -
  3. "Conan O'Brien meets with Finnish leader". USA Today. Associated Press. 14 February 2006. Retrieved 27 August 2009.
  4. Steinberg, Jacques, "So This Manatee Walks into the Internet", New York Times December 12, 2006 accessed December 13, 2006.
  5. "Traffic rankings:". 2006-12-16. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
  6. "Traffic rankings:". 2006-12-16. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
  7. Late Night with Conan O'Brien, December 16, 2006
  8. Scott Sepich (April 13, 2010). "Conan O'Brien Revives Edgy 'Late Night' Vibe at First Live Show". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  9. Conan O'Brien bringing familiar tricks to 'Tonight Show' gig. New York Daily News, May 27, 2009.
  10. Yun, Steve Open Letter to Late Night with Conan O'Brien June 12, 2004 . Retrieved December 10, 2008.
  12. Heid, Jason (April 4, 2014). "Conan O'Brien Says Goodbye to Dallas, or Dallas-Fort Worth, or North Texas". D Magazine. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  13. Conan, Stewart, Colbert unite in TV feud. The Associated Press. Retrieved on 2008-02-05.
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