He had a show. Then he had a different show. Then he got a Twitter account.Then TBS gave him another show. OK, technically they gave it to him before he even got the Twitter account but the show couldn't start until the no-compete clause of his NBC severance package expired...After his run on The Tonight Show and the fallout of Jay Leno's reappointment to the series, Conan O'Brien went on a 30-city comedy/musical tour with his band and some of the show staff. During the lead-up to the Tour, speculation picked up as to which TV network would pick him up, if any (beliefs he would do incredibly well on the Internet still linger). On April 12, 2010, just hours before the start of his tour, he announced a deal with TBS for a new show. On September 1, 2010 he announced via Twitter and the Team Coco Youtube page that the show would be, creatively, titled Conan. He's now on TBS at 11:00 P.M. EDT. The show has been renewed until November of 2018.This show has been called very similar to his run on Late Night, with a standard talk show format, consisting of a monologue, a couple of sketches, followed by two guests (sometimes separated by a short sketch) and ending with a musical guest or stand-up comedian. He is helped in his task by long-time announcer and Sidekick Andy Richter and his Tonight Show/Late Night band minus Max Weinberg, who left the show for health and family reasons. Max was replaced by lead guitarist Jimmy Vivino as the bandleader, and James "Worm" Wormsworth as drummer.
Tropes associated with Conan include:
Accidental Innuendo: Invoked in a segment where Conan and a professional cleaned Jordan Schlanksy's messy office.
Conan: Do you like to be dirty? Jordan: Not in the way you're referring to. Conan: What do you think I meant? Jordan: ...My office.
Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: According to the flashback skits, Conan suffers from this every time there's a celebration of some kind. He turns into a raving lunatic who verbally and physically abuses his staff.
Ambiguous Syntax: In one of the earlier "Fan Corrections", Conan said the responses have been pouring in, and immediately followed that by saying "So far, four viewers have stepped up to the plate." He realized how ambiguous this sounded and clarified: "Oh there's a lot more than that writing in! When I say, pouring in, I mean they really have. We've selected four."
Andy: POURING IN! FOUR OF 'EM!
Anachronism Stew: In a "Fan Corrections" about Thomas Jefferson helping James Madison write the Constitution from abroad in France, Jefferson and Madison are talking on cell phones.
"The Sarah Palin History Network" told the story of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which included the Founding Fathers as "plumbers, loggers, and truck drivers", George Jefferson, Paul Revere, and FDR, all wielding modern handguns, Hitler showing up to stop them, and the Fathers' secret weapon: R2-D2 with a gun.
Similarly, "The Michele Bachmann History Channel" talked about the Constitutional Convention, which had Andrew Jackson - "father of the Jackson Five", Sam Patch Adams, John Wayne and his twin brother, John Wayne Gacy, and John Quincy Jones, who then all recorded a song on modern studio equipment in "Orlando, Florida, 1927".
In any "Fan Corrections" which take place before film cameras were invented, this trope is used. One example is the exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of George Washington living in the White House.
Ask a Stupid Question...: In one of the interviews with Harland Williams, Harland mentioned how he's annoyed at pandas because every time a panda's born, "the whole world goes berzerkoid", and says that nobody makes a big deal about any other creature being born. He then asks Conan, "You ever been born?"
Award Show: Parodied with the "Audiencey Awards" sketch. Awards are given to members of the audience for various random things (usually including several "best celebrity impression" awards). Comes complete with Conan hosting in a tux, a snarky fashion critic, and weird musical numbers.
Badass Beard: Grew one in preparation for the show, then shaved off in May 2011, and has grown it back as of November 2011, beginning with the series of episodes in New York, though he's since shaved it off in 2012.
Nick Offerman, in between seasons when doing "Nick Offerman from Parks and Recreation Reads Tweets from Young Female Celebrities."
Bad Boss: A recurring segment is Conan running a video on what the staff's kids say about what their parents think of working for Conan. Every comment paints Conan to be a sexist, greedy, violent monster.
The Band Minus the Face: With no Max Weinberg playing drums, The Max Weinberg 7 became Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band.
The Bet: Conan made a football bet with LaBamba that if the Patriots lost, Conan would wear a Jets cap at the start of the next show, but if the Jets lost, LaBamba would wear nothing at all. Conan lost the bet and held up his end of the bargain, but Conan still made LaBamba strip anyway, due to "audience demand".
Big Brother Is Watching: Played for laughs in a sketch where Conan busts Jordan Schlansky for coming in three hours late on Fridays. He told Jordan that he has set up a security camera in his office so he can monitor Jordan at all times to make sure he's keeping busy.
Big "Shut Up!": In the "Nog Hog" sketch, the singers sang "Heeeeere is the Nog Hog!" over and over, eventually driving Conan to repeatedly shout "SHUT UP!" in retaliation.
Blatant Lies: In the intro to the "Fan Corrections" segment, Conan says, "There have been many challengers, but no winners. No one has ever been able to catch me make a mistake." Of course, every correction that comes in is accurate, meaning that many, many people have caught him making a mistake.
During one of the Atlanta shows, Conan called out Paul Rudd for this after the obligatory Mac and Me clip was shown instead of an Anchorman 2 clip:
Conan: You've been showing that stupid clip on my show... (audience laughs) for I think fifteen years. It's from a movie called Mac and Me. And you always convince me you're not going to show it again, and you promise me you're not going to show it again, and you show it again!
Conan claimed that "Punxsutawney Dr. Phil" was a real show.
Blipvert: On the 10/4/12 episode, J. J. Abrams was a guest and announced that he brought a clip of the new Star Trek film. However, Paramount only allowed him to show three frames of footage. After an extensive introduction to what the clip consisted of, the clip played in less than a second.
A couple recent episodes have had Conan explaining that according to research, the average American attention span is two seconds. With that in mind, he introduced the previous episode's highlights, compressed into only two seconds.
Body Horror: One of the Fan Corrections involved a viewer tracing Conan's hand gestures of drawing a penis. When the viewer showed what hand movements Conan made, he remarked that it looked nothing like a penis. Conan retorted by saying that's what his penis actually looks like, proving it with some footage of a visit to the doctor where both Conan and the doctor screamed at a drawing of how Conan's penis looks.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: The title of the June 8, 2011 episode was "Is Anyone Paying Attention to These Friggin' Episode Titles?".
Followed on June 9 with "Wow! You Do Care About These Episode Titles."
Brief Accent Imitation: In the skit where Conan and Andy messed with Photo Booth (which caused their faces to distort), at one point Conan got into a position where his chin looked large. Upon seeing this, he wagged his head and said "Nnnnnnyah!", as a brief imitation of Jay Leno. The crowd went nuts.
Conan: Looks goooood! Mark Steines: Oh it looks good! (repeat ad nauseum)
Broke the Rating Scale: Conan does this on occasion with his Clueless Gamer reviews. He usually starts by noting that he's the worst possible person to review games as the last game he was good at was Pong, and then ends with a completely nonsensical rating - and rating scale.
Conan: Out of an 88 - an 88 being pretty good, a 110 being excellent, a 150 being awful, and a 3 being...not bad - I'd give this...a 26 C.
Brooklyn Rage: Ever since his week of New York shows, Conan's been called out by an angry New Yorker for various reasons. He stands up in the audience and shouts at Conan, such as in the One Hour Earlier Best of Spectacular when he was angry that Conan wasn't showing any highlights from his trip to New York. As soon as Conan mentions that he's going to run some clips, the New Yorker suddenly becomes placid and calmly says, "Oh! Well that's delightful!" and sits down.
Bullet Time: During the 2012 Olympics, Conan was so impressed by the super-slow-motion replays that he decided to use a high-speed camera on their show for things like: Conan hitting food with tennis rackets and baseball bats, Andy getting food thrown on him, and throwing water balloons at Conan.
Butt Monkey: LaBamba, who has had to do things like sit in honey to see how much money will stick to his ass and was snowed on for practically the entire show. And let's not forget having to stand naked in front of everyone despite winning the bet involved with it.
Catchphrase: Guest The Miz tried to give Conan a catchphrase: "Step into my dojo, mofo!" It didn't stick. He complained about this the second time he was a guest.
During the "Fan Corrections" segment: "Let's see if you've got what it takes to make chump meat out of the maestro!"
A catchphrase-by-proxy: when Conan impersonates his producer Jeff Ross, it often includes "Jeff" asking "Wanna get some soup?"
As on Late Night and The Tonight Show: "My Arnold always eats a sausage." and "I ate the tear and I grew strong."
Lately, Conan frequently says "Hey, check this out, gang!" in a Vaudeville accent before delivering a monologue joke.
If a joke does really well, Conan will mime being handed an award and he'll exclaim, "I won an award for that joke!"
At the end of the "Mike Merritt's Inner Thoughts" sketches, Conan would frequently end his speech with: "...because we're all part of this beautiful mosaic that is mankind!"
Bill Tull's budget tips: "Take some _____, (do this with it or combine the two), BOOM, ______".
After WikiBear delivers some disturbing or inappropriate factoids, he cheerfully reminds everyone, "I'm WikiBear!"
Caught with Your Pants Down: Whenever there's a monologue joke about internet porn, Conan mimes that he's viewing internet porn and is caught by somebody, turning around abruptly and looking surprised.
Chicago: Conan did a week of shows in Chicago June 11 - 15 2012.
The 1/28/13 episode featured a sketch where Andy replaced himself with a sidekick outsourced from Asia (in reference to a current news event); Conan went to Andy's dressing room to find even more outsourced workers, and even Jeff Ross (and eventually, Conan) were replaced by Asians as well.
Clip Show: The Conan One Hour Earlier Best Of Spectacular, in celebration of the show's first-year anniversary.
The 20 Years of Conan week were clip shows of Conan's entire career.
Cool Car/The Alleged Car: The 1992 Ford Taurus SHO that he's owned from new. Fulfills either role, or sometimes both simultaneously, depending on the bit. It seems that the dirtier the car is, the closer it swings into The Alleged Car territory.
Cool Sword: One of Steven Ho's segments featured him attacking Conan with a katana.
Corpsing: When Will Ferrell came on the show (in character as Ron Burgundy), he began to insult how Conan looked ("Just go under the knife", "Point to your face and say, "Doc, it's a page one rewrite.""). Even though Conan was probably supposed to have an upset expression on his face, he couldn't help but smile (and almost laugh) at Ferrell's delivery.
In one sketch, "La Bamba Legal", La Bamba (playing a lawyer) fumbled his way through a monologue, cracking up many times.
Couch Gag: Each episode has a different title, reminiscent of murder mystery titles but involving some sort of wordplay. In the first few years, on Thursdays, something often happened to the car and/or the house and/or the city in the opening credits.
Whenever Conan points to Andy, he's doing something different each episode. Examples include blowing Conan a kiss or fumbling with a stack of papers.
In a sketch about the New York City Marathon being cancelled, Eddie (a recurring character who's a loud New Yorker) said one of the exercises he regularly performed was "furious, heroic bouts of masturbation". ("Cause that's what serious athletes do!")
Death Glare: Conan does this at the camera after every Fan Correction video.
When Will Ferrell (in character as Ron Burgundy) made a surprise visit to the show, he said that after this, he'd hope some woman would play his flute.
Ron: And, by flute, I mean my turgid penis.
Conan: (looking annoyed) Yeah, Ron, we all know what you meant by that.
Dude, Not Funny!: Invoked. In the 5/5/14 episode, Conan mentioned the Supreme Court ruling that public meetings could open with prayer. He then said, "Especially if the city in question is Detroit." Nobody laughed, and there were a couple audible sounds of shock. Conan quickly rebounded with the next monologue joke, though.
Episode Title Card: Every episode from 11/08/2010 to 01/28/2014 had a silly title such as "Baa Baa Blackmail" or "Murder She Tweeted". On 01/29/2014, they were suddenly dropped.
With another episode title referencing Murder, She Wrote right after Super Bowl XLV, entitled "'Whisper', She Shouted", one has to wonder if that in particular will become a Running Gag.
Most of the episode title cards have absolutely nothing to do with the guests or content of the show, but an episode in March 2011 featuring WWE Champion The Miz was entitled, "And In This Corner... Gingivitis!"
A June 2011 episode featured a series of title cards inspired by the opening credits from Superman, with the title "What Happens on Krypton, Stays On Krypton".
Et Tu, Brute?: In a segment where Conan and a professional cleaned Jordan Schlansky's messy office, Conan rummaged through one of Jordan's boxes and found a strip of paper with the NBC logo on it. Conan simply said, "Traitor." The cleaning professional asked if that box was garbage, and Conan quickly answered for him: "Oh, this is garbage."
Andy: Why not? It's the only way I can get aroused.
Not to mention, in the same skit, Conan is apparently attracted to Andy wearing leopard print.
Conan: You Tarzan, me HOT!
Fighting Irish: Conan is very confrontational during remotes. Mostly done for laughs.
Flashback Cut: A few episodes recently have featured a brief skit where Conan and Andy have a flashback to an event that occurred right before the show taping. It always involves either Conan or Andy acting in an exaggerated manner, and usually involves Conan throwing someone through the wall in a fit of rage.
And then in the second flashback, Conan is the one thrown through a wall.
Game Show Appearance: On June 14, 2011 Conan played Basic Cable Name That Tune (using a nice recreation of the 70s logo with basic cable in the same font). He explains that unlike the network show, TBS can't afford the licencing fees to play real songs. To fix this, the band plays the intro only, and then plays a song 'that sorta sounds like the original'. For example instead of Born in the USA they sing a parody called C-Section in America. Conan also offered the audience members Bid-A-Note style clues like "If we were to play the real version of this Stadium classic chant, Queen's lawyers would undoubtedly say, 'We will, we will, sue you'".
George Jetson Job Security: In one of the Fan Corrections, a fan pointed out that Wii cases aren't green, they're white. What followed was a skit where a Nintendo exec said that they're going to start selling Wii games in green cases. When one of his underlings questioned it, he dismissed it, saying nobody will care except (holds up pictures of people, including the guy who made the Fan Correction). When another underling asked why he has pictures of nerds on his desk, the exec shouted: "WHY ARE YOU FIRED?! GET OUT!! (to other underling) YOU, TOO!!"
Get Out: Conan tells Paul Rudd this (in jest, of course) after he showed the Mac and Me clip twice during one of the Atlanta shows.
Godwin's Law: Invoked by Conan when he confronted Jordan Schlansky about a deluxe Italian coffee maker; he compared Jordan to Hitler and Mussolini.
Grammar Nazi: Some of the Fan Corrections fall into this (for instance, Conan calling the movie The Dark Knight Rising instead of The Dark Knight Rises), though it's justified since the segment is about viewers pointing out Conan's mistakes. Occasionally, Conan will fall into this trope as well, such as when he corrected a fan who said President McKinley was at the Pan-American Expose, not the Pan-American Exposition.
Gross-Up Close-Up: In the 1/12/12 episode, Ricky Gervais found it amusing that TBS is on a really high number on some cable/satellite services, and theorized that people only tune in because they're looking for porn in those high numbers. He then decided to give those people a fake-out: He pushed his breasts together and the camera zoomed in on his "cleavage". Of course, since Gervais has a hairy chest, it turned into a Gross-Up Close-Up instead.
Conan: People say a lot about us, that we're lovers or whatever.
And on another occasion...
Conan: You don't seem that interested in me.
Andy: Well, it's like we're already married.
Conan: It is, kind of.
Andy: I mean the sex stopped a long time ago.
When gay marriage was legalized in New York...
Conan: (looking coy) Andy, looks like you and I left New York too soon!
Hilarious Outtakes: Team Coco posts unaired dress rehearsal outtakes on YouTube during hiatuses, such as a blooper from the "LaBamba covers his butt in honey and sits on some money" sketch where LaBamba sits on the honey without waiting for his cue to do so.
Home Sweet Home: In November 2011, Conan did a week of shows in NYC, the first time he's been back there on television since his Late Night days. He loved it, which is no surprise considering he's from that region of the country and hosted the show there for over a decade.
Human Popsicle: Larry King revealed on the show that he wants to be frozen before he dies.
Humans Are Bastards: In the 2/27/13 monologue, Conan mentioned that elderly people are getting STDs at an increasing rate. The audience "woo"'d and applauded, to which Conan immediately laughed and denounced them for that reaction.
Andy: Yay! Grandma's got gonorrhea!
Hypocritical Humor: Realized by Conan during a "Fan Corrections" when he was "insulting" one of the viewers who sent him a video; the person in question had orange hair.
Conan: Look here, carrot top, maybe you should spend- (realizes what he said and starts laughing, along with the audience) Who am I to mock his hair?!
I Gave My Word: A new rule of Conan's is that if he says he's gonna do something, he'll really do it. Has led to the entire jeggings debacle, as well as reusing the puppy Conan set to interview someone who's really big (Shaq).
I'm Going to Hell for This: As with Late Night, Conan has sung "I'mma gonna go to hell when I die" after an edgy joke. Conan will also often announce that they're all going to hell when jokes move towards crossing the line.
Important Shave: On the Apr 18, 2011 episode (which was also Conan's birthday) Will Ferrell sent in a "Fan Corrections" video claiming that the "rusty pubes" on Conan's face were a mistake and threatening to shave them off when he was a guest on the show on May 2. This was followed-up with further threatening videos from Will, and a photoshop contest for the fans to portray what was dubbed "Beardpocalypse". And, as promised, Will's guest appearance on May 2nd was entirely centred around shaving Conan (badly, the job was finished for real by a professional during the commercial break). Conan said afterwards that it felt like he had come full-circle, as the last time Will had been his guest was on his last Tonight Show, right before he started growing the beard.
Even better was when Tina Fey was interviewed and said she had a "clip of her book," Bossypants. The clip played and it was another Will Ferrell video, catching the audience by surprise.
Inner Monologue: As with the same recurring sketch from Late Night and The Tonight Show, Mike Merritt's derisive inner monologue while Conan speaks about racial equality. What follows is a series of Conan's So White... jokes.
Insult Comic: The fictional Ted Turner is this, insulting both Conan and the studio audience.
And of course, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog has made his triumphant return to Conan's side.
Is It Always Like This?: Invoked when Hugh Jackman impersonated George Clooney. He asks Conan to just "be himself as a George Clooney fan" but Conan insists on being a woman, which leads to this exchange.
Hugh Jackman:(turns to Andy) Does he always have to be the woman?
Jerkass: Conan is portrayed as this in the "Staffers' Kids Say the Darndest Things" segment, and also during the one-shot skit where he phoned various staff members' parents - he got irritated with certain kinds of chairs and threw the chairs out of their cubicles.
Basically, he'll play this up whenever he does a remote or interacts with his staff.
"Once again, I've learned nothing and wasted everyone's time."
Joisey: Chris Ultimo, a PA for the show, is more Jersey Shore than the cast of Jersey Shore, although he comes across as a lot nicer and smarter than them.
Lampshade The Obscure Reference: When warm-up comedian Jimmy Pardo was a guest, he made a bunch of dated references, and Conan finally called him on it: "Every reference you've made tonight is at least fifty years old." (for the record, Jimmy brought up the KISS Army, Perry Como, and Toad the Wet Sprocket)
Limited Wardrobe: Conan and Andy are always in suits. In fact, even when Conan's suit gets damaged in some way (like when Steven Ho drew all over his polo with a red marker), he doesn't bother changing and wears the same thing for the next interview. The next guest is weirded out and usually comments on it.
Conan also always wears the same brown leather jacket in every remote. He's been doing it since Late Night.
Lyrical Dissonance: After the 2013 Oscars, Conan remarked how Russell Crowe kept singing throughout the show, including singing along to Adele's "Skyfall" and inappropriately singing over the "In Memoriam" sequence.
Russell Crowe: (singing, badly) Now let's reflect on all the lives we lost! It's a shame these people had to die! (a photo of Ralph McQuarrie appears) I'm... not sure who this guy is. (a picture of Jack Klugman appears) Jack Klugman, see, that's interesting; I assumed Jack Klugman was already dead!
The gimmick used for the Punxsutawney Dr. Phil segment, where audio clips from the real Dr. Phil show are edited together to make it look like he's confronting Conan about an anger problem. The skit always ended with Dr. Phil saying, "Then I will kill you."
Goofy fictional NBA mascots, such as "Post-It Note Big Bird", have slam dunk contests in a recurring segment during basketball season.
In July 2012, the Jim Henson Company decided to withdraw from their established promotional relationship with Chick-fil-A restaurants, due to the fast food chain's CEO speaking out against gay marriage. Cue Conan chatting multiple times with "Chaz the Intolerant Chick-fil-A Chicken", their fictional replacement.
Milestone Celebration: The 11/8/11 episode was Conan's one year anniversary. May not seem like a big deal, but keep in mind, Conan's last gig didn't even make it that far.
They celebrated it a little later with a prime-time "Best Of" Clip Show.
September 23, 2013 marked Conan's 20th anniversary of being on TV. They commented on it at the time, but the real celebration came Oct 28-31 with a week of 20 Years of Conan specials: clips from all of his shows.
Mondegreen: Invoked for comedy in an early episode when Oprah Winfrey's "These are coming!" was captioned as "Bees are coming!", and CG bees were added to footage of audience members crying to make it look like they were being stung.
In one recent monologue, Conan made a joke about Bill Clinton's hypothetically porn-filled laptop. After the audience applauded/laughed, Conan said quickly, "...And he's a perv." But the camera operators misheard Conan's words as "Andy's a perv" and cut to Andy. Andy good-naturedly protested that the camera cut to him.
Mood-Swinger: In the early days of Conan's Video Blog, a Running Gag would feature the normally even-keeled Conan becoming irate and shouting when Andy walked into the shot. Obviously, this parodies teenagers' frequent mood swings.
Mood Whiplash: Just due to the nature of the show sometimes. When you have an episode where the two guests are Pee-Wee Herman and a presidential historian, it's going to feel a bit schizo.
In the 8/3/2011 episode, there was a brief sketch where Andy got earlobe spacers. Conan ridiculed how ridiculous Andy looked, to which Andy ran out of the studio with hurt feelings. Moody piano music played when Andy ran out to the parking lot. Suddenly, a group of pirates in a PT Cruiser drove by Andy and hooked his large earlobes with their hooks and dragged him down the lot, sending the sketch right back to comedy.
The last show of the week in New York. Started with a sketch with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Triumph at Occupy Wall Street, and an interview with the always-hilarious Louis C.K.. Then the final segment of the show was Conan officiating for the wedding of a gay staffer and his partner, which was incredibly sweet and heartfelt... then the just-married couple rode out of the theater on Teddy Jr, fake Ted Turner's stuffed buffalo on wheels.
The 12/13/2011 episode featured Bob Costas as a guest. While the first half of the interview was light-hearted, the second half got serious as he shared his thoughts on his recent phone interview with Jerry Sandusky.
My Eyes Are Up Here: In an interview with Nicole Scherzinger, Conan is caught looking at Nicole's cleavage and called out on it (to be fair, and as Conan himself pointed out, how could you not?).
Used word-for-word by Conan when he wore the jeggings.
Naturalized Name: One Fan Correction correctly pointed out that Frankenstein is the name of the doctor, not the monster he created. Conan retorted by showing "vintage footage" of Frankestein's Monster entering Ellis Island in the '30s:
Immigration Officer: "Frankenstein's Monster"? Well, now it's just Frankenstein.
Negative Continuity: Between segments. In one episode, LaBamba was "killed" in a wood-chipper, then was featured alive and well in the very next sketch. Conan, of course, hangs a lampshade on it:
"Hey, wait a minute, I thought you died in the last segment. There's no continuity in this show. We killed him not eight minutes ago... well we need him for another bit, stick him over there."
News Parody: The segment "Local News Roundup", where Conan points out that to watch Conan, you are missing your local news broadcast. But that's okay, because they're all pretty much the same anyways. Cue Conan and Andy's parody including generalized news stories, weather, sports, pet segments, and crazy local commercials.
Noob: The entire point of the "Clueless Gamer" sketch. Conan is not a gamer, so what do they do? Give him video games to play and review. Leads to a lot of Button Mashing, and some interesting insights from an outsider's perspective.
Conan also said an equivalent when he announced he had a role in the movie Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda. Andy found this amusing, as he said that not many actors have to tell the audience, "This is a real movie."
Not What It Looks Like: While practicing fending off attackers, Conan and stuntman Steven Ho take turns pinning each other down. When it's Conan's turn to be held down, he quips "And then the doorman comes in."
N-Word Privileges: To introduce a bit where Deon Cole, the show's only black writer, discusses Rick Perry's unfortunately-named ranch, Conan says, "I should stress, he's the only guy on our staff who can say the real name of the ranch."
Obvious Beta: WikiBear, which, despite supposed bug fixes, still spouts info on unrelated (and gruesome) articles after being asked a straightforward question.
Once per Episode: As with Late Night and The Tonight Show, at the top of every show, Conan scrunches his legs together and jumps forward on a trumpet sting. Conan then stands up and points to the band, as they wrap up the opening theme.
One Head Taller: Conan (6'4"), and Andy (6'2") tower over most of their female guests (who are often wearing really high heels to compensate) and some of their male guests.
On one episode, there was a guy in the audience who was one head taller than Conan. Conan noticed this and brought him over to meet him. It is incredibly strange to see Conan have to look up at anyone.
The same thing happened when Shaquille O'Neal and Stephen Merchant were on the show. Conan looked tiny next to them.
Also notable here is that the warm-up comedian for the audience, Jimmy Pardo, is 5'4". This photo illustrates the difference rather dramatically.
One Steve Limit: Averted. Two of Conan's writers and frequent sketch performers are Brian Stack and Brian McCann.
Another writer's name is Matt O'Brien. He is not related to Conan.
And now there's Andy with the skinny jeans. What is it with these guys and tight pants?
Pointed out by Kevin Hart and Ice Cube during a remote. While Conan is not around, they agree that he's cool but that his jeans are far too tight.
Perplexing Plurals: Jordan Schlansky corrects Conan when he refers to a single biscotto as biscotti.
Pink Elephants: As told through flashback, Conan claims to have had women in bikinis during his BBQ party. Andy reveals that Conan was drunk and the women in bikinis were actually guys, who flirted with Conan and he flirted right back.
Pixellation: When Sarah Silverman was a guest, she drew a picture of a vagina on her smartphone and held the phone above her crotch. The image on the phone was pixellated for obvious reasons.
When Julie Bowen was a guest, she was talking about testicles (long story) and proceeded to draw them on a piece of paper, which was pixellated. Conan took the drawing and made it into a face so he could show it uncensored, but Andy didn't help by calling this character "Professor Scrotes".
Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: "Basic Cable Name That Tune" features audience members tasked with identifying knockoff versions of well-known songs. Since the sketch's humor is based around how poorly disguised the copying is, the bit falls flat whenever the audience member isn't familiar enough with the original song to identify it.
Lately, the "answers" are written on the cue cards and Conan displays them prominently in case the audience member doesn't know the song. He even lampshades this.
Podcast: The Team Coco Podcast, hosted by two staffers: Aaron Bleyaert and Christian Lynch (along with Sharon Hardy before she left for a different job). Released on Mondays, they sit down with a staff member and talk to them about their job on the show, life in LA, and anything else that comes up.
In a sketch about the controversial ending to the upcoming Noah movie, Noah ate all the animals on the ark. Then he said another flood was coming, and looked like he was going to throw up, but kept it together. Then he proudly announced, "The flood was in my pants!"
Precious Puppies: Following the 2012 edition of the Animal PlanetSuper Bowl alternative Puppy Bowl, Conan showed off Puppy Conan, a puppy scaled version of the set with Puppy Conan and Puppy Andy sitting in the seats. Conan and Andy joined them, with Conan saying "You know, we should really do the show from this set one of these nights!"
Puppy Conan became very popular, with more installments introducing more elements such as Puppy Cameraman, Puppy LaBamba, and guests Puppy Flav-a-flav and Puppy Lady Gaga.
Precision F-Strike: In one of the "Fan Corrections" when a judo teacher corrected a mistake that guest Jack Black made about a proper roll technique, Conan said after the video finished, "What an asshole."
Certain Academy Award-winning celebrities, such as Kevin Spacey, have dropped the F-bomb on Conan's show. This has earned them a place in the Conan F-Bomb Hall of Fame, complete with a miniature statue representation of them.
Dana Carvey: (as Stewart) Yeah, well how you doin'? Yeah. Well pretty good. How are you doin'? Yeah. Yeah. Well FUCK you.
In one episode, Andy was supposed to present a Tony Awards Recap segment, but after the intro sequence, Andy remarked, "....I didn't watch that [shit]." End of segment.
In one episode, Conan hesitated saying the word "shit." Andy responded, "You can say 'shit.'" (The word generally if ever, isn't censored on the show.)
A Christmas sketch about coming out featured George Takei repeatedly cursing during his threats not to mess with those who come out.
A fake ad for the iPad 2 featured this:
Graham: A lot of customers will say: "What about me? I just bought the old iPad." And uh, to you, I say, "(bleep) off".
In the sketch where Noah announces he's eaten all the animals on the ark, Noah's wife twice says, "What the (fuck)?!?"
Previously On: Parodied in some recent episodes, where certain clips of last night's episode are taken out of context to look dramatic and serious.
Product Placement: Conan and Andy have plugged certain tech products. And Conan's "Clueless Gamer" segments can be viewed as a method to plug an upcoming game. That said, there are still plenty of snarky monologue jokes towards various products or companies, and often results in Conan taking back what he said once he realizes the company he just bashed is a sponsor on the show.
Pun: One of the skits during Conan's week of shows in Atlanta was Ludacris repeatedly replying to a weird news story as, "That's Ludacris."
In an interview with NBA Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin, they discussed how he would top jumping over a car to win the dunk contest:
Andy: "Car on fire."
Blake: "With my teammate on fire."
Conan: "Teammate on fire. Car on fire, alley-oop from teammate on fire, you're dressed as Chewbacca." *beat* "Which would of course make you wookiee of the year, thank-you." Stands up and waves, crowd cheers and groans.
When cleaning Jordan Schlansky's messy office, Jordan lectured Conan about "TDS", to which Conan told him, "I find you TDS."
Ready for Lovemaking: Conan enters a dimly-lit bedroom wearing only a robe; Andy's already waiting inside and has decorated the place with candles. He removes his own robe to reveal a Tarzan outfit. They don't go through with it, however.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Conan's retorts to those who submit fan corrections. Of course, this is done in jest and exaggerated for comic effect.
Rule of Three: A number of sketches, most notably "Celebrity Survey" where the first two responses to a question are "reasonable" with the third being the punch line.
Running Gag: When Conan says something about how an episode won't air or is completely unusable, usually following some mistake or something completely random.
When something particularly absurd is going on, Conan will often say, "I love how anyone tuning in right now will have no idea what's going on."
A recurring segment began in March 2011, where "Entertainment Tonight-exclusive" clips from Captain America: The First Avenger were introduced, except Conan showed clips from the 1979 made-for-TV Captain America movie instead, which are lower quality. At the conclusion of every clip, a clip of Mark Steines, the Entertainment Tonight co-host would have him say "Oh it looks gooood!" Starting with the 6/29/11 episode, Conan began imitating that sound byte: "Looks goooood!". When the sketch gained popularity, Steines ended up appearing on the show in support.
For a couple weeks in early August 2011, someone named Steve Zampanides was announced as a guest. But he was continuously bumped in every episode due to running out of time, and each new episode listed him under a different specialty. Because of this, and also since there were few Google results for his name (aside from a Twitter account that was suspiciously created on August 9th and a website whose domain was owned by Team Coco), fans quickly caught on that this "Steve" wasn't a real person but actually a running gag created by the Conan staff. The running gag abruptly ceased after a couple weeks, and has never been explained or even mentioned by Team Coco.
If Barack Obama comes up during "Celebrity Survey", he will say "I killed Osama Bin Laden".
Similarly, if Larry King is featured, there will be a joke about him being Older Than Dirt.
Whenever Paul Rudd is a guest, he will show the same ridiculous clip from Mac and Me instead of the clip he was supposed to show.
Conan's resemblance to actress Tilda Swinton is brought up every now and then. As is his popularity in Finland.
Self-Deprecation: Regularly takes shots at his new home on basic cable; his new band is referred to as the "Basic Cable Band".
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my second annual first show."
"Next week, WikiLeaks is threatening to leak what channel TBS is on."
Conan sometimes opens the show with some variation of: "We've got a great show for you tonight. I'll watch this one, and I'm not a fan of this program. I don't like the host."
Also, if something goes wrong on the show, Conan can be counted on to point it out, even if it was something that the viewers would never know about otherwise.
Conan: Don't worry, this episode will never air.
Conan will occasionally apologize for a sketch, such as the one where Andy got earlobe spacers and got dragged by his earlobes by pirates in a PT cruiser:
Conan: I'm checking with our judges, and yes, stupidest thing we've done so far: Pirates in a PT cruiser. (clip is shown again) My apologies all around.
Shirtless Scene: In a sketch where Conan busts Jordan Schlansky for coming in three hours late on Fridays, Conan grilled Jordan about what he does on Fridays that makes him so late to work. Jordan replied that he shaves himself, to which Conan asked him to remove his shirt for evidence.
Shoot the Money: When TBS sent out a blimp to promote the show, Conan declared on the air that they were obligated to get their money's worth for it, and did a series of sketches wherein the blimp was sent around LA to stalk Gary Busey. And it washilarious.
Shout-Out: Each episode title is shown and announced in the style of nearly every show Quinn Martin ever made, right down to the copyright notice below the title.
An occasional segment features images of amusing recent events appearing on the screen and Andy remarking, "'Member this? 'Member this? 'Member this?" (etc.) Conan would observe that Andy's not actually commenting on the news stories but just asking if the audience remembers them. To which Conan tries the same thing and fails miserably, as Conan's photos are of downer news stories.
Single Tear: Conan often mimes this, then "drinks" the tear to make him strong.
Smarter Than You Look: Given his penchant for lowbrow and downright silly comedy (eg. The Masturbating Bear, The Gravyboat Lighthouse, or just Conan dancing around like an idiot), it often surprises people that Conan is exceptionally smart. He graduated from Harvard magna cum laude, was the editor of The Harvard Lampoon for two years straight (only one other editor has accomplished this), and now has an honorary doctorate from Dartmouth.
Something Completely Different: When the mini set was debuted in the Puppy Conan sketch, Conan made an offhand comment that he wanted to do an entire show from that set. A few weeks later they did, and booked Shaquille O'Neal and Steve Schirripa as guests. Hilarity Ensued.
The episode where the creator and cast of Breaking Bad were guests on the show became entirely dedicated to the theme, from a cold opening of Conan digging up a barrel in the desert to the title cards matching the show's opening sequence. The musical guest was also played a song prevalent in the series.
Sound Effect Bleep: In one of the recurring segments during the 2012 presidential campaign, a bleep was used to make an innocuous word ("winning") seem dirtier than it actually was:
Obama: I can fix a tractor, mow hay, plow a field, chop tobacco, fire a barn, and call the cows. But what Iím really known for is (bleep)ing.
In the 8/19/14 episode, Conan made a joke about a sponsor, and the company name in question was bleeped. However, he substituted that company for a non-sponsor and wasn't bleeped.
Speed Sex: In one "Fan Corrections", a fan named Tim corrected Conan on a segment where the show set the record for the world's shortest skydiver. Conan said that the skydiver fell for only 6/1000th of a second, and Tim set out to prove that was impossible.
Tim: Now I realize that in your world, it may be normal for things to happen twenty-four times faster than expected, in the bedroom, but this is fundamental physics.
Spoiler: On the 9/17/2013 episode, there was brief banter about how back in 1999, Andy casually revealed the plot twist in The Sixth Sense, and Conan hadn't seen it yet. Andy defended his spoiler, as it had been four months since the film was released.
Stop Saying That!: In the segment where Conan confronts Jordan Schlansky about the Italian coffee maker he bought, he asked Jordan what his job is for the show. He replied associate producer, and when prodded by Conan as to what specifically that means, Jordan replied that he has various duties, but didn't elaborate. When asked again what Jordan does on the show, Jordan again replied that he had various duties.
Conan: If you say "various" again, I will have you arrested.
Studio Audience: Naturally, being a talk show and all. Some of the funniest bits in the show are Conan acknowledging quirky members of the studio audience, or gauging the amount of applause/cheering they provide. One particularly amusing moment was when the audience kept hooting and hollering at the start of the show, to which Conan replied:
Conan: ...I gotta tell ya, it just sounds horrifying. To anyone listening to this at home, it sounds like we're butchering hogs in this room. And that whole Conan chanting thing: "It's Late Night With Stalin!"
Suddenly Voiced: Not in the strictest sense, but producer Jeff Ross is rarely heard during the show, usually just nodding or shaking his head. So it was unusual when he was a big part of a skit on the 11/11/13 episode when he had back-and-forth dialog with Conan about not-so-subtle advertising during the show.
Suicide as Comedy: Apparently, cows find hanging themselves from the set's rafters an effective way to commit suicide.
Abraham Lincoln killed himself in a skit. He was shot, but as he lay on his deathbed, he asked to be brought back to the theater to finish the play. While watching, he declared it the worst play ever and shot himself.
Many of the "Conan.xxx" videos are set to music that sounds similar to the music from the infamous "2 Girls, 1 Cup" video.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: Referenced by Conan during a "Fan Corrections" segment. A man corrected Conan on the Emancipation Proclamation, and mentioned, "I know that you think that maybe I'm a skinhead Nazi who doesn't appreciate the Emancipation Proclamation..." After the fan's video concluded, Conan said:
Conan: Okay, first of all, two things. Why bring up this whole "Nazi" thing? Out of the blue! Nobody thought anything; I just thought, "It's a bald guy." But he says, "Hey hey, don't get the idea I'm a NAZI or anything!" Well, now I'm wondering!
Take That: Never unprompted, but if there's an opportunity to take a shot at NBC because they're in the news or a guest brings it up, Conan is sure to take it.
On one episode, Conan delivered this monologue joke: "Oprah now has a half-sister, thatís a big storyÖ Oprah says that when she was looking for advice on how to approach her half sister, she consulted Dr. Phil. Unfortunately, Dr. Phil wasnít much help, because heís a big dumb fraud."
A particularly pointed one came when President Obama went on The Tonight Show in October 2011. Conan's punchline:
"Obama is appearing with Jay Leno to highlight the one job that was saved during his administration."
Conan continues to razz Kirstie Alley on his new show.
That Came Out Wrong: When Dr. Phil was a guest, he said, "She was an easy date. No, I mean..." (audience laughs)
In a segment where Conan noticed Jordan Schlansky always came in late on Fridays, he asked a co-worker if she was worried for Jordan at all. She wasn't, because "he's so... dead." Conan burst out laughing, and she clarified: "Nothing phases him."
Think of the Censors: In the interview with Seth MacFarlane around the time Ted came out, Seth recited a line from the film but muted at certain parts of the sentence. Conan was confused why he wouldn't swear, and Seth said he was giving the censor a break.
Conan: Who are you?! Where's Seth MacFarlane?!
Toilet Humour: When Harland Williams was a guest, he introduced Timmy the Magic Onion Bun. How it works is, you eat it, then a day and a half later, it's a different size, color, and shape!
In the 7/11/13 episode, Conan meant to say "from the new movie", but instead said "from the moo newvie".
During the third WikiBear sketch, the bear got tongue tied, which is doubly funny when you consider that it's supposed to be a robot.
Conan: You're having a little trouble today there, WikiBear, with some of your talkin', huh?
Too Much Information: The Running Gag of the WikiBear sketches; Conan will ask the bear a simple question, which it will answer, but then the bear will add its own info on related articles, all of which are much Darker and Edgier than the question Conan originally asked.
Twisting the Words: The joke for a recurring segment where footage of Barack Obama (or Mitt Romney during the 2012 election season) is taken out of context for comedic purposes.
Visual Pun: Ever since Slash made a guest appearance with the band any written out URL has had the forward slashes replaced with his face.
In Chicago, the Masturbating Bear (ursine) was replaced with a masturbating Bear (football player). After which, the real MB made an appearance as well.
After the 2013 Superbowl blackout, black writer Deon Cole recreated it with an extreme close-up of his face.
The Voiceless: A running gag is how LaBamba never seems to talk when Conan addresses him during sketches, instead using gestures.
Conan: ...How come you can't speak?! You're like a silent film actor from 1918.
Vorpal Pillow: In one of the segments during the NYC shows, Conan played basketball and chess but injured himself and ended up in the hospital in both instances. When Andy visited Conan, he stuck a pillow over Conan's face to suffocate him. The second time, the nurse grabs the pillow from Andy and does it herself.
Wardrobe Malfunction: In one episode, Conan ripped his pants, but no one noticed until he himself announced it and showed everyone.
In another, Conan walked out for the monologue with his fly down. Make a subtle edit while he goes and fixes it? Nah, he just turns away from the camera and zips it up on air.
What Did I Do Last Night?: The common plot of every flashback skit, wherein Conan recalls one version of the events and afterward, Andy recounts his own, which reveals that Conan was wasted and thus didn't actually remember the event properly.
Wealthy Yacht Owner: In one of the interviews with Bill Burr, when discussing the doping scandal:
Bill: And those guys who run that filthy sport, who were sitting there going like, "Oh, this is absolutely, this is ridiculous, he doesn't represent cycling", are they going to return all the money that they made off of that guy? Huh, they gonna turn in their yachts? They're not gonna.
We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: The April 5, 2011 episode suffered this when the west coast feed of TBS aired 5 minutes of dead air, followed by about 20 minutes of commercials (Lampshaded the next day by Conan, who said they made a fortune), followed by the show airing completely out of order. A sketch on the following episode explained the "reason" for the mix-up.
During a skit in one episode, Conan and Andy lip synched to an imitation Morgan Freeman voiceover. Conan had planned to carry the voice over to announcing the guests as well, but just as he was about to announce the first guest's name, the machine that was providing the Morgan Freeman voice crashed and nothing was heard when Conan opened his mouth.
Conan: OK, well just imagine that went a little further... before the computer crashed. Y'know what? I'm not gonna let it bother me. I'm just gonna take it like a man. Hehehe... (starts mock shouting into the camera)
The light in the moon went out for part of an episode. It went out again during the 1/23/13 and 1/24/13 episodes; in an amusing bit of miscommunication, Jeff Ross approached him to say there was something wrong with the moon. At first, Conan was confused because he thought Ross meant the actual moon, not the one on the set.
In another episode, the wires holding the moon broke and it crashed.
On September 13, 2012, reportedly some burnt popcorn at the nurses' station set off the fire alarm during the taping. Notably, this was both 19th anniversary of Conan being a talk-show host, and the first time that segment's guest, James Van Der Beek, had been on one of Conan's shows in 14 years.
Also, this is the second time Conan has had a fire alarm go off on air, the first being at Late Night.
On the 10/30/2013 episode, they were showing a montage of bloopers when the sound cut in and out. Conan drew attention to the irony that something went wrong when showing a montage of things going wrong.
Weird Moon: The huge moon in the background of his TBS show can be controlled via remote, and possibly be used to crush Andy Richter. It even has "that lunar wobble"!
Who Writes This Crap?!: Sometimes a joke is so bad that not even Conan can save it. He says this and then makes fun of how bad the joke is, rather than cutting it out like other show hosts would.
World of Ham: Done intentionally in flashback sketches, complete with copious amounts of yelling and throwing objects.
Word Salad Humor: "Alex Trebek Has Gone Insane", in which Conan splices Jeopardy! clues into hilarious gibberish. The crowning moment was when Alex himself came on the show and manipulated one of Conan's monologues in a similar fashion, resulting in this exchange:
Conan: Okay, Alex, I guess we're even now.
Alex: All right, I'll agree to that, we're even. But before I go, I just want to leave you with one more thought. The next time you consider taking a person's words out of context and manipulating all of that to make them look foolish, I want you to think about this: The ex-president of Ukraine, James Van Der Beek, often massages weasels in order to extract this foul smelling waxy secretion that has bridge engineers all over the world screaming, 'Whassup?!'"
Working with the Ex: Lisa Kudrow has been on the show a couple of times. Not many people know that she and Conan used to date before they both became successful. They've never acknowledged it in the show, though.
Worst Whatever Ever: In a sketch about the New York City Marathon being cancelled, Conan remarked that the paramedic with Eddie is the worst paramedic ever, because all he does is shake his head to indicate that someone's dead; he doesn't even try to save them.
Writer on Board: Somebody on the writing staff really hates The Olive Garden.
Writers Suck: After the sketch "Who's the Pope", Conan said that sketch was a "piece of shit". He also refused to show the "Nog Hog" sketch for the longest time, claiming it wasn't funny.
Writing Around Trademarks: In a "Fan Corrections" about Six Flags, there are numerous expys of cartoon characters at Conan's fictional "Seven Flags" theme park.
Younger than They Look: In a sketch about the New York City Marathon being cancelled, Eddie (a recurring character who's a loud New Yorker) "died" numerous times, and each time a title card appeared that said "1987-2012". Eddie looks much older than that, and Conan drew attention to this.
Done earlier after Justin Bieber's Christmas special, playing footage of Justin Bieber riding an open topped double decker bus through London, then cutting to an enclosed double decker running into an overpass, with a title that reads "Justin Bieber 2002-2011". Also lampshaded.