Conan O’Brien on Podcasting and Staying Out of Politics on TV

Conan O’Brien on Podcasting and Staying Out of Politics on TV


– Hey, could we have
quiet on the set, please? (people yelling) I think a tour’s gonna
come through at some point. They’ll be looking fro Ellen. (jaunty jazz music) (audience cheers) – [Announcer] Conan O’Brien! – It’s been almost 26
years of doing the show, and it’s a very artificial environment, a talk show, when you think about it. Most of them, there’s an audience, and it’s very presentational, you know. ” Ladies and gentlemen,” you know, “Here she is, Julia Louis-Dreyfus!” (Conan scats) “Yeah, hey, so we’re gonna do a bit now.” I mean, I’ve spent years trying to fiddle with the TV show to make it more of an honest, real environment. And then you take this hyper-speed jump to podcasts, which are extremely intimate, because there’s no cameras, because there’s no lights and make-up. People forget themselves. Big stars come in, they’ve just dropped
their kid off at school, and you’re seeing them
in a little bit more of a slice-of-life situation. I want them to be comfortable, so I tell all the guests, “If something happens in there…” I’m not in gotcha entertainment. I really do want them to feel like they’re being protected,
and I’ve always felt that way on the TV show too. For example, my interview
with Stephen Colbert, got, you know, very intense. Stephen and myself have
certain similarities, and we really started talking about this Catholic childhood and this need to feel like you’ve suffered in order
for something to be good. And it got very, very serious. I could make a whole room
full of people laugh, and there was no misery beforehand. And everyone was happy. Does that, it feels
like, you’re making faces like you really relate
you what I’m saying. And, you’re crying. Stephen’s crying right now. And he’s putting mascara
on, and it’s running. When it was over, I remember
thinking it really felt like a therapy session. If Stephen had said,
“Wow, that got much more intense I wanted it to,” maybe we don’t leave it all in. I wouldn’t have been
shocked if he wanted that, but he didn’t want to touch any of it. And I think that’s what
makes it really powerful. (smooth jazz music) It’s important to me that even the ads have some comedy protein in them. People know me, and
I’ve spent so much time just trying to get my
authentic, real personality onto television and onto this podcast, and just be myself, and then suddenly go, “Hey, let’s gets serious,
and talk about SquattyPotty. “This is a tremendous technology “which enables you to
force excrement naturally, “it’s a natural system. “these are make of high-quality ash, “that’s a really good wood.” I can’t do that. I mean, I just did, and
I hope I get paid for it. I want to get paid
(interviewer laughs) in SquattyPottys. I’ve enjoyed the ads. Some of them I’ve had
to read so many times that I’ve actually lost my mind. There’s ad for, I think
it’s Fracture Prints, which are printed on glass, and I’ve had to do the Fracture ad maybe, you know, 150
times, I think (laughs). And it’s the point now where I’m like, “Let me tell you about it! “Someone gives you a photograph “and it’s on paper, rip it up! “‘Cause it’s gotta be on glass, man! “It’s gotta be on glass!” (smooth jazz music) Late night, there’s a lot more of it than there used to be. There was a period of time there where, back in the 90s, two late
night shows battling it out. It just felt kinda silly to me. It would be creatively stifling. It’s very nice that we
live in this world now where there’re all these
different late night shows, and everyone can kinda do the thing that they want to do their way. I think a lot of late night shows have sort of morphed a little bit, so that sometimes there’s comedy, but then they become much more political. And that’s not a bad
thing, it’s just different. I have strong political views and thoughts about things
that I’m passionate about, but I choose not to go that way, but I feel like we’re all put
here to do different things and it’s really, I don’t
think it’s why I was put here is to passionately tell people
what I think politically. I very much got into late night comedy because I wanted to do weird, silly things and make people giggle. (smooth jazz music)

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5 thoughts on “Conan O’Brien on Podcasting and Staying Out of Politics on TV

  1. Been watching him since I was 10 and no celebrity by far has had more of a positive impact on my life than Conan. I hope I get to meet him someday.

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