Yeah, that’s right. He drove that car off Devil’s Drop Canyon without even a blink. Even Chris Pine didn’t have the guts to do that in “Star Trek,” and he was playing Captain James T. Kirk, for goodness’ sake! Of course I know there were some special effects involved with that Conan promo, but I’ll ignore the reality behind the explosive video for the sake of my infatuation. Conan O’Brien might not be the likeliest of sex symbols, but by Jay Leno, he definitely is one. As he returns to late night tonight with his new TBS show “Conan,” it seemed like the perfect time to take you through my personal list of Conan O’Brien’s greatest hits.
I’m going to go a little old school on you here and take you back to a time when Will Ferrell was best known for being a cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” I know! Insane to think there was a time before Andy Samberg and Digital Shorts. But during this time so long ago (the ’90s!), Will went on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” and did the single funniest bit of comedy I have ever seen him perform. Was Conan in on it? Probably not. Was Will drunk off his you know what? Most likely. But still, it doesn’t change the fact that only for Conan O’Brien could this kind of insanity occur.
And then there was this pitch-perfect rip on “Star Wars” nerds when he was still on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” and he sent Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to the “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” premiere. “Star Wars” wedding? Check. Reenactments of “Episode I” while it’s playing on a television nearby? Check. Angry NYC wizards and Trekkies coming to start fights with the “Star Wars” fans who camped out? Check and check. The skit’s brilliance reigned supreme in the realm of things Conan has done best until…
The writer’s strike hit in late 2007. Some might feel that Conan’s mock feud with “Comedy Central”’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert was his high point during the strike, but au contraire, I firmly believe that his Writer’s Strike Diary that he wrote for Entertainment Weekly was the funniest commentary on the strike to date. The part that I still can’t talk about without breaking into hysterical laughter? “DAY 58 How much can one man endure? Now the heavens themselves are conspiring to destroy me, as a light rain knocks out my DirecTV. I get through watching six hours of video snow by convincing myself I’m watching a director’s cut of ’The Ring.'”
No, Conan’s stint on “The Tonight Show” didn’t last long, but at least the man knew how to keep it classy and go out with a bang. That’s why he did those hilarious skits during the show’s last week where he went out of his way to “spend” (oh, why did you have to tell us this was a joke!) ridiculous amounts of NBC’s money by, for instance, bringing 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird out on the stage (yes, a horse) wearing a mink Snuggie and showing restricted NFL footage in the background, that he claimed cost NBC $4.8 million. If only.
But if Conan’s humor isn’t enough to convince you of his sex symbol status, how about this sentimental fact: He decided to go on this summer’s Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television tour so he could make sure his writers and employees were paid while he didn’t have a late night show for them to work on. If that is not the sign of a good man, I don’t know what is. Also, his Twitter is hilarious, and you should probably watch that “Conan” promo again.
Want more Conan? Click through our flipbook to see his entire career in photos!
Do you agree that Conan deserves sex symbol status? Has our obsession with him turned you over to the dark side?