Conan Ends 28-Year Late Night TV Run With Series Finale Featuring Jack Black, Will Ferrell And The Simpsons
Conan O’Brien ended his 28-year run as a late-night TV host on Thursday in a finale that featured actors Jack Black and Will Ferrell along with a special animated The Simpsons sketch, as the comedian prepares to move to WarnerMedia’s streaming platform HBO Max where he will host and produce a weekly variety show.
The finale opened with a sketch from The Simpsons—a show on which O’Brien worked as a writer—in which an animated O’Brien gave an exit interview to Homer Simpson.
O’Brien then appeared on stage and thanked the Simpsons team saying he started working with them 31 years ago and recording another sketch with them “after all these years” gave him “goosebumps.”
Will Ferrell, who was also a guest on O’Brien’s final episode of The Tonight Show, joined in via Zoom and the actor poked fun at the host telling him it was “exhausting” to always have to deliver a farewell speech for him and offered to pre-tape a few more goodbyes in case O’Brien’s “next several shows flameout.”
The host was then joined on stage by his final guest, Jack Black, and both of them revealed that they had planned a skit where Black would do a musical number ending a fake injury, but the actor managed to actually injure himself during rehearsal and had to perform a farewell song instead.
O’Brien quipped that unlike the meticulous finales of late-night legends like Johnny Carson or David Letterman, Black’s injury just before his finale “felt fitting” for Conan.
In his final segment, Conan thanked co-host Andy Richter, other staffers, producers, network executives, friends, family and saved his final thanks for his wife, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels—who backed him as David Letterman’s replacement in 1993—and Friends star Lisa Kudrow—who encouraged him to take on the hosting gig.
“I’ve devoted all of my adult life to pursuing this phantom intersection between smart and stupid. There’s a lot of people that believe that the two can’t co-exist but I will tell you that when [they] come together, it’s the most beautiful thing in the world,” O’Brien said in an emotional final address.
Following the end of his eponymous TBS late-night show, O’Brien will take a small break and then move to WarnerMedia’s streaming platform HBO Max, where he will host and produce a weekly variety show. The comedian will also continue to make his Conan Without Borders specials for TBS. O’Brien also runs a network of podcasts which he started in 2018 with his own podcast “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.”