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.
Conan's original iteration was 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.
The show underwent a massive retool due to Conan becoming tired of the traditional late night talk show format. After going on hiatus after the 10/4/18 episode Note , during which Conan did a stand-up tour called "Team Coco Presents Conan & Friends: An Evening of Stand-Up and Investment Tips", the show returned on 1/22/19 in a looser, 30-minute format, in order to better bridge the popularity of his show on TV and digitally. The show is now shot on a much more intimate set that no longer features the standard desk and couch design. Conan and Andy (who've both ditched the traditional suit and tie) now sit in comfortable chairs almost right in front of a smaller studio audience with each night's guests. However, the new format means the show no longer includes Conan's band or musical guests.
On November 17, 2020, TBS announced that Conan will cease production in June 2021. Counting his Late Night and Tonight Show series, that's an impressive 28 year run on traditional TV. However, Conan is developing a weekly variety series that will debut on HBO Max.
Tropes associated with Conan include:
- Acceptable Ethnic Targets:
- Invoked during a 2018 interview with Pete Holmes. He mentioned that, despite our cultural sensitivity towards ethnicity and race nowadays, it's still acceptable to make fun of Italians:Pete: You wanna go get... A PIZZA PIE?! This is not a scandal.
Conan: It is true.
Pete: No one will tweet about this. No one cares. "EYYYY, LINGUINI WITH THE CRABS!"
- Conan added that the Irish are also still acceptable to mock:Conan: I've been around the most sensitive people in the world, and they're trying to say sensitive things about all different cultures, and then whenever, if my ethnicity comes up, they're like, "You're all drunks!" And even Irish people are like, "It's true!" (proceeds to do a leprechaun impression)
- Invoked during a 2018 interview with Pete Holmes. He mentioned that, despite our cultural sensitivity towards ethnicity and race nowadays, it's still acceptable to make fun of Italians:
- Accidental Misnaming:
- Jack McBrayer, when discussing Tracy Morgan not remembering his lines:"Kenneth, I'm gonna miss you most of all!" "Uh, my name's Jack".
- When Hank Azaria was interviewed in 2014, he mentioned how, despite his fame, people still call him "Frank Azaria". But that wasn't the worst misnaming; one time, a TV station showing a movie he was in said, "We now return to Cool Blue, starring Woody Harrelson and Hand Azaria."
- Conan's dry cleaners calls him "Caco" instead of "Coco".
- Jack McBrayer, when discussing Tracy Morgan not remembering his lines:
- Affectionate Nickname: James Madison called Thomas Jefferson "T. Jeff" in one of the "Fan Corrections".
- 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.
- When Conan asks Andy to present a series of "life hacks", he quickly realizes that all of them involve drinking four beers so you won't care about any of your problems. After being called out, Andy proceeds to drink four beers, get shit-faced, and pathetically lie horizontal on Conan's desk.
- All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles:
- In a sketch parodying the Chrysler "Let America Build Your Car" 2014 Super Bowl ad, the narrator listed a bunch of other countries and stereotypes about what they produce. One of them was a clip from Wanna Be the Strongest in the World!, with the narration, "Let Japan make your animated torture porn."
- After certain clips on his Youtube channel, instead of scene where Conan is suggesting the viewer to subscribe, he tells the viewer that "you can now resume watching your pirated movies and creepy, Japanese pornography".
- All Women Are Doms, All Men Are Subs: During one out-of-studio segment, Conan visits a professional dominatrix and acts out the part of the sub. The entire thing is Played for Laughs, partly because Conan is not just a man, but also quite tall and (while not muscular) very fit for his age, implying that he could have easily overpowered her if he wanted to.
- Almost Dead Guy: In a sketch about the New York City Marathon being cancelled, Eddie kept seemingly dying but coming back to life.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Invoked. When Pete Holmes was discussing how people are still doing Italian stereotypes as impressions, he brings up Mario's catch phrase: "It's-a me, Mario!"Pete: That's an impression of an immigrant struggling with the language!
- Ambiguous Syntax:
Andy: POURING IN! FOUR OF 'EM!
- 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."
Deon: Ladies and gentlemen of the Academy of Motion Pictures television arts and science, as long as there has been an Oscar, there's been controversy. But in my opinion, this year's nominations contain an unforgivable omission of an historic film. A critically important story about people of color joining together to fight the oppressions of the man, and to overlook it so close to Martin Luther King Day of all days is just disrespectful to the brothers. So all I can say is, shame on you, Academy.
- Writer Deon Cole responded to the 2015 Oscars nominee list:
Conan: Well, that is very well put, and thank you for sharing your thoughts on Selma.
Deon: "Selma"? I was talking about The LEGO Movie.
Conan: The Lego Movie? But all of those words you said about people of color?
Deon: Right, Conan, people of color. (Legos are yellow) Joining together to fight the oppression of the man! (a still shot of the bad guy in the film)
Conan: But how is it disrespectful to the brothers?
Deon: Warner Bros..
Conan: OK, but why did you bring it up on Martin Luther King Day?
Deon: Because I had Martin Luther king Day off last year and I took my nephew to see The Lego Movie?
Conan: OK, so you have nothing to say about the Academy Award snubbing Selma?
Deon: What is "Selma"? Is it a movie about Salma Hayek? I got to check that out!
- Amusing Injuries: A Running Gag in "[Baby] Boomers With Too Much Time on Their Hands".
- Anachronism Stew:
Conan: Four score and seven years ago, my website went down!
- 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.
- Also used in the Oh, Jesus! sketches, where Conan claims to have exclusive footage from the 1st century.
- When Conan visited the Lincoln Museum, he met a group of Abe Lincoln impersonators. One of them plugged his website while in character as Honest Abe. The disconnect amused Conan.
- And a Diet Coke: In a sketch about the New York City Marathon being cancelled, Eddie described his marathon diet:Eddie: Every morning, I start with a high protein meatball parmesan sandwich!Conan: That does not sound very healthy.Eddie: (defensively) It's on wheat bread!
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: The 9/12/16 episode had a parody of NBC's "The More You Know" ads with "It's Good to Know".
- The Announcer: Andy Richter.
- Warm-up comedian Jimmy Pardo in one episode where Andy was absent.
- Anticlimax: When Jordan Schlansky unveiled his replica of the 1977 Darth Vader helmet, he refused to let Conan touch it or even take it out of the box, for fear of damaging it or smudging it. All the two could do is stare at it while wearing gloves and surgical masks.
- Anti-Humor: When Triumph visited a beer convention, he told a joke to a guy:Triumph: A microbrew connoisseur walks into a bar. And he says to the bartender, "Give me your finest pumpkin ale, but make sure it's not too hoppy." So the bartender takes out a baseball bat and beats him senseless while everyone cheers.
- Anti-Role Model: A Running Gag in the WikiBear sketches, as the bear will praise a horrible person, or deliver a horrible role model to children ("Never trust a cop!")WikiBear: (on serial killer Ted Bundy) And he escaped from prison before getting the chair and blamed his killings on pornography. Clever to the end! Yay! What a charming fellow.
- Ascended Meme: Conyan shown on one of the show's bumpers.
- Ask a Stupid Question...:
"Wait.... I've never shaved my head in my life! Of course, it's not a real photo!"
- 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?"
- Happened with Jennifer Aniston in a 2014 appearance. Conan asked her about a rumor and a photo going around stating she had shaved her head. Aniston asks him, "It's not a real photo is it?" She then paused as the Fridge Logic in her question sank in.
- An Ass-Kicking Christmas: "Conan's Kick-Ass Christmas Party Flashback"
- Ass Shove: Referenced:Conan: Disney, as you know, is notorious when it comes to protecting their world of characters, okay? For example, if I tried to use Snow White in a sketch for even ten seconds, Disney would launch a lawsuit into my ass, okay? That's what they do, all right? They have a special missile for that.
- Audience-Alienating Premise: Invoked in a sketch where one of the Oogieloves paid the show a visit, the Oogielove said that in the sequel, they'd have such audience-favorite celebrities as James Carville and the Tan Mom.
- 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.
- Awful Wedded Life: The premise of Oh, Jesus!
- Bad Boss: The behind-the-scenes glimpses tend to depict Conan as varying between this and the Only Sane Man.
- 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."
Vaudeville man: The ol' switcheroo!
- One "Fan Corrections" concerned Conan saying you can hide $40,000 in a bra. A fan disputed that, so Conan showed video proof that it can be done. Cut to a strip club, where three women were dancing. Conan asked if anyone wanted to give it a try. You think he's going to stuff dollar bills in the stripper's bra, but he opens his shirt and lets the stripper stuff bills in his bra instead.
- The recurring segment "Andy's Open Browser Tabs" is all about this; Andy will share a screenshot of his desktop with supposed porn sites in his other tabs, but the titles are cut off and he shows the non-porn sites he's actually browsing. (Example: "Teen Milfs" really stands for "Teen Methodists Inspiring Love For Service") The end of the sketch always does the reverse: A tab that looks innocent but is actually porn.
- The Band Minus the Face: With no Max Weinberg playing drums, The Max Weinberg 7 became Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band. LaBamba is still hanging around, though.
- Bar Brawl: Flashbacks turn into this because Conan, while drunk, likes to smash bottles on people's heads, break chairs on them and then throw them through a wall, usually in that order.
- "Basic Instinct" Legs-Crossing Parody: When Sharon Stone herself discussed the scene during an interview with Conan, it immediately became Self-Parody when she started the conversation by crossing her legs.
- Bathtub Bonding: Ricky Gervais roped Conan into getting into a bathtub with him. Also doubles as Awkwardly Placed Bathtub since it was brought out on stage without warning (at least for Conan).
Obama: ........The money's been spent!Obama: We won't be able to pay all of our bills. (long pause as he looks at the camera)Obama: Well, tough luck. You're on your own. (pause)
- Common during the brief segments where Barack Obama announces how he's going to deal with the debt crisis. Overlaps with Manipulative Editing.
- All of Conan's monologue jokes while doing the show at home during the coronavirus pandemic naturally fall into this; he'll tell a joke and since there's no studio audience laughter, there's an awkward beat before he moves on or comments on the silence.
- Berserk Button: Conan's beard to Will Ferrell, leading to the Beardpocalypse.
- 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.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor:
Andy: Our fans are so stupid, they'll never know the difference.
- Among other digs at TBS, Will Forte occasionally pops by in character as TBS founder Ted Turner, who comes in to the studio riding a stuffed buffalo and proceeds to insult Conan, his audience and the current state of the network. Then, Conan got a bigger buffalo and chased Ted out of the studio.
- Whenever Conan mentions Star Wars, Harry Potter, or any stereotypically geeky film, he'll do a nerd impression, then immediately apologize, due to fanbase overlap.
- In a "Fan Corrections" about Conan's fake beard, Andy remarked while putting a fake, ground-up paper beard on Conan's face:
Conan: (to Jeff Ross) He's on our show in a couple weeks, isn't he? (Jeff shakes his head) "Not anymore, no." (laughs)
- Conan will also often make jokes at the expense of various corporate products... whose companies turn out to be sponsoring the show. He will also occasionally make fun of a celebrity only to discover they'll be on the show in a week or two, like when he made fun of Dr. Phil (see Take That example below).
- Black and Nerdy: Graphic Designer Pierre Bernard.
- Blatant Lies:
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!
- 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; it's just that he inevitably responds with a skit showing a clearly absurd situation which nevertheless enables him to claim he was correct.
- 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: The Legend Continues clip:
- Conan claimed that "Punxsutawney Dr. Phil" was a real show.
- 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:
Conan: That's right; I've never seen my own penis, until a doctor drew it for me.
- 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.
- In a sketch based on the news story that half of British women don't know where their own vagina is located, Conan brought out a British staffer and asked her if she knew where her vagina was. After unsuccessfully pointing to various spots, she finally pointed to her chest. When Conan declared her wrong, she lifted her shirt to show that really was where her vagina was. Everyone was disgusted, except for La Bamba, who was smitten.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: A sketch called "3 About Me" had Conan interviewing various members of the studio audience, to reveal three interesting facts about themselves. The third thing was always that they were in a sex cult.
- 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."
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: When Conan and Jordan Schlansky are trying to escape Escape Room LA, a puzzle room attraction themed as a Film Noir detective agency, Conan resorts to bribing the "secretary" $300 in real money to give them clues (he also turns back the timer to have more than an hour). He then confirms to guest Rosario Dawson that he really did bribe the secretary.
- 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 frequently adopts a brief Harvard accent when he says "If you think you've spotted an error on our show..." during "Fan Corrections".
- Broadcast Live: It's not, but Conan tries to pretend it is.
- Broken Record:
Conan: Looks goooood!
- When Captain America: The First Avenger was new:
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 (evaluating Minecraft): 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.
- Brutal Honesty: In the "Clueless Gamer" where Conan and J. Cole play Splinter Cell: Blacklist:Conan: What do you think my chances are of accomplishing any of this? Be honest.
J. Cole: Zero.
- 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.
- 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.
- Jordan Schlansky counts too.
- Aaron Bleyaert is quite literally Conan's punching bag.
- Camera Abuse: After mentioning the glitch in Madden '15 where Christian Kirksey is one foot tall, Kirksey made an appearance on the show, dancing in front of Conan, who proceeded to kick the tiny Kirksey into the camera.
- Camera Tricks: In late September 2015, Conan announced that over the weekend, Warner Bros. expanded the amount of studio seats so that thousands could watch his show. Footage was multiplied a few times and stacked on each other so it looked like there were more seats than usual. The "illusion" was ruined when objects "disappeared" as they exited the frame.
- Captain Colorbeard: The episode where Will Ferrell shaved Conan O'Brien was titled "Redbeard's Last Stand".
- Captain Obvious: An occasion gag in the "Clueless Gamer" segments; Aaron will describe what's happening on-screen, and Conan will say variants of, "I can see that."
- 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!"
- A typical Punxsutawney Dr. Phil sketch usually starts off with him coming out and saying "Thanks so much!" about two or three times as the audience applauds, and ends with him pulling out a switchblade knife and saying "I will kill you" when Conan refuses to take his advice.
- Stanley Barkwell, Conan's old warm-up comedian, repeatedly says "Make some noise."
- 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.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Briefly. An episode post Sandy Hook shooting had a downbeat Conan admitting he didn't feel like doing an opening monologue, since he didn't really feel right making fun of current events on such a tragic day. Instead, he brought Minty the Candy Cane out to cheer everyone (and himself) up.
- Character in the Logo: The logo when the show premiered, was the title, and a silhouette of Conan O'Brien's iconic hair (which is also the page's image).
- Chest Burster: In an unused skit, the 2014 Olympics torch returns from space seemingly normal... until an alien pops out of his chest.Conan: My worry is if we don't do that soon, another show might do it.
- Chicago: Conan did a week of shows in Chicago June 11 - 15 2012.
- China Takes Over the World:
- The sketch "Why China is Kicking Our Ass", showcasing something idiotic about American culture.
- 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.
- A sketch parodying The Irishman ended with: "Netflix, a subsidiary of Disney, a division of TikTok".
- 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.
- Cloud Cuckoo Land: To promote the show, an HD webcam was set up next to a stairwell at the new offices. For a while it was also a regular webisode on Fridays. Apparently an "average day" includes dancing Tacos, lettuce baseball, bears doing aerobics, magic shows, a girl with green pants, puppet shows, raptor attacks, spontaneous William Shakespeare lectures as Conan himself eats an apple, jolly ranchers used in eating contests, and a very irate Andy yelling at everyone to get back to work.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander:
- Anytime Harland Williams is a guest.
- The same goes for Jeff Goldblum, carrying on from Conan's NBC tenure. His January 2020 appearance included hijinks with hard candy and the rope tricks he learned for Nashville.
- Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Joe Biden became this during the 2012 presidential campaign thanks to Manipulative Editing.
- Cluster F-Bomb:
George: Welcome to the wonderful world of gay! And, if any of you mother(fuckers) (fucks) with this (shit), I will come here and (fuck) your (shit) up!
- George Takei, in a sketch about coming out and parroting an exact speech earlier in the skit:
Director: Okay, cut to the dipshits... (camera switches to band)... Go to the (fuck)ing wide shot... (camera switches to the audience) Not that (fuck)ing wide shot, you shit-for-brains, the other (fuck)ing wide shot! (camera switches to shot from back row) Now cut to the two useless pricks! (camera switches to the producers) Now cut to (fuck)face! (camera switches to Andy) And now back to Captain Asshole! (camera switches to Conan)
- In one episode, Conan was rated TV-MA, due to showing clips from Deadpool. Conan used the opportunity to make the episode Darker and Edgier, and one of the things was to air what the director in the booth is saying.
Conan: (amused) He calls me "Captain Asshole".
Director: (Fuck) you.
Andy: OK, Pat, I'm gonna solve it. "The fuck stops here." (buzzer)Pat Sajak (vocal impersonator): Oh, so close! The answer is "the buck stops here."note (buzzer)Andy: I think I better solve it, Pat. "Fuck Fuck Goose"?notePat: Not even close. (buzzer)Andy: "Fuck of the draw."notePat: Nope. (buzzer)Andy: "Fuck o the Irish."notePat: Uh-uh. (buzzer)Andy: "Fuck Be a Lady Tonight."notePat: Are you serious? (buzzer)Andy: "Fuck in the saddle again."note (buzzer)
- A February 2020 sketch featured Andy showing (fake) footage of him as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune to illustrate how the show's puzzles supposedly trick players into guessing an inappropriate answer (after showing a clip from an actual "Wheel" bonus round that aired days earlier, in which a female contestant missolves "Kicking Back" as "Chasing Tail"). The result is Andy (wearing the same Hawaiian shirt each time, as Conan lampshades afterwardsnote ) somehow answering every puzzle, even those with too many or not enough unsolved letters to even be feasible for the word to be included, with these:
"Fuck in the box"?note (buzzer)
"Fucking the quarterfuck."note (buzzer)
"Mighty Fucks."note (buzzer)
"May the fuck be with you."note (buzzer)
"Joy Fuck Club."note (buzzer)
"Long-haul fucker."note (buzzer)
"Fuck puppet"?note (buzzer)
"Finger fuckin' good."note (buzzer)
"Thomas the Fuck Engine."note (buzzer)
"Curl up with a good fuck."note (buzzer)
"Dwayne 'The Fuck' Johnson."note (buzzer)
"Star Fucks."note (buzzer)
"Monster fuck rally."note (buzzer)
"Fuckingham Palace."note (buzzer)
"Green Bay Fuckers."note (buzzer)
Are you sure?
- The Collector of the Strange: After a few complaints from employees, Conan investigated Pierre Bernard's figurine collection (which consists of women in skimpy outfits). Later, Pierre revealed he also collects plastic female busts, and went with Conan to pick one up at a guy's house. When the two were sampling the bust, Pierre mentioned that once he buys it, it's going into storage. Conan was flabbergasted that he didn't even have room for what he was about to buy.
- Comic Sutra: The Tokyo Sandblaster.
- Comically Serious: "Nick Offerman from Parks and Recreation Reads Tweets From Young Female Celebrities."
- Conan's associate producer Jordan Schlansky is the embodiment of deadpan seriousness.
- "Common Knowledge": Invoked; in the "Clueless Gamer" about Super Smash Bros. 4, Conan asked Aaron who the second president was, after his aggravation at knowing all the characters in the gamenote . Aaron replied, "Benjamin Franklin", and an aggravated Conan shouted, "HE WAS NEVER PRESIDENT!!!" note
- Companion Cube: His Eisenhower-shaped mug, which was on his desks at Late Night and The Tonight Show.
- Confusing Multiple Negatives: In light of the "Best Picture" controversy at the 89th Academy Awards where the wrong picture was read from the card, Conan said Warren Beatty shouldn't be blamed, because the card was confusing, with such statements like "Moonlight is NOT the film that DIDN'T win BEST PICTURE", "But La La Land definitely IS THE FILM THAT did not lose for NOT BEING BEST PICTURE", and an arrow diagram.
- Construction Catcalls: Subverted in the first episode of Conan's week of shows in Harlem from 2017: A construction worker called out various women in the audience, but instead of shouting lewd things to them, he shouted very politically correct things in the same tone as catcalling.
- Consummate Professional: According to Kevin Hart, Ice Cube.
- 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.
Conan: "Hello, Tesla... [in a disoriented nerd voice] ... can I get "Carl Yastrzemski" put on my horn? .... [Boston Red Sox fight song plays] ... You just did it automatically? ... Thank you! ... Can beef stew come out the back?... already done? Thanks, Tesla!"
- Conan's daily driver is a Tesla, which has factored into a couple of amusing moments aired during the Scrapasode episodes, including this fake phone call to Elon Musk during the third episode:
- Cool Sword: One of Steven Ho's segments featured him attacking Conan with a katana.
- 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 at 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 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.
- The corners of Jordan Schlansky's mouth occasionally tug up, showing that he's not the complete stoic the show portrays him as. Sometimes he'll even crack a smile or even crack completely.
- 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.
- Cover Version: One segment in "Conan's Video Blog" was "Crowe Bops", making fun of Russell Crowe's then-recent starring role in Les Misérables (2012). Crowe sang his own versions of "What Makes You Beautiful", "I Knew You Were Trouble", and "Thrift Shop". For added hilarity, none of the three songs used the melodies from the songs, but instead used the melody from the Les Mis song "Look Down".
- Crazy-Prepared: Jeff Goldblum's first son (Charlie Ocean) was born on July 4th, 2015. Conan was amazed:Conan: That's fantastic: You had a son to promote the movie you were coming out with a year later! That's insanity!
Jeff: Yeah, I thought that when I was conceiving-
Conan: You back-timed the conception for the movie company!
Jeff: I'm like Babe Ruth; I thought, "This is gonna come out the fourth of July...
Andy: (laughs) I think maybe your wife had a little more to do with that.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Steven Ho can get Conan to do some pretty impressive stunts during his segments.
- Cultural Cringe: Conan accused Jordan Schlansky of this in the sketch where he confronted him about buying an Italian coffee maker.Conan: I notice that you talk about Americans almost with contempt. You do realize you're from Buffalo?
- Darker and Edgier: Not darker, but edgier: TBS has been more lax on language than NBC was. It's not uncommon to hear "shit" uncensored on the show.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Well, the Masturbating Bear has shown up...
Conan: If I had a robot left hand, let's just say I never would've left my dorm room in college. (to camera) A-shaba-daba-ding.
- 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!")
- In the "Clueless Gamer" about Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, during the part in the game where Conan's character got a robotic hand replacement:
Conan: Having sex on a stuffed unicorn! Bley, get out of here. Get out. Get out! (Fade to Stock Visual Metaphors before returning with Conan's hair disheveled) Uh... The Witcher: Wild Hunt comes out May 19th. And, um... it's the best thing that ever happened to me in my whole life.
- A similar joke was said when he and Elijah Wood played Final Fantasy XV when referencing fighting a giant worm boss: "Last time I beat on a worm for 72 hours, I was in college!"
- During a monologue, Conan did the "churn the butter" motion, but the audience reacted like he was miming masturbating. Conan noted how freakishly long his penis would be for that to make any sense. Andy only made it worse by doing the "churning the butter" motion on his side, making it look like he was giving a handjob.
- The "Clueless Gamer" for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ends with this, after Conan is repeatedly Distracted by the Sexy.
Jordan: Let me tell you, there is an implication of judgment here.
- In the "Jordan Schlansky's Product Review" about a replica Darth Vader helmet, Conan asked Jordan if the helmet gives him pleasure. Jordan replied yes, and clarified "visceral pleasure", not "sexual pleasure". Conan pressed further: "Do you think it's possible, and be honest, that when looking at this, you would ever pleasure yourself?"
Conan: No there isn't. (...) You're finding a judgmental tone to what I'm saying, which I did not intend. My question was very simple: when you're looking at this Halloween mask, you gonna jerk off? (laughs)
Triumph: I will not forget your snub.
- When Triumph protested his omission at the Golden Collar Awards, he started a series of chants, one of which was:
Man: I will not forget your snub.
Triumph: On my penis, I will rub.
Man: On my penis, I will rub.
Triumph: (to man) ...It sounds a little (fucked) up coming from you.
Ted Turner: Conan, if you can watch Duck Dynasty without masturbating, I'd like to see it.
- A line from Ted Turner:
Conan: Didn't he, at a certain point, just say, like, "Okay, go ahead, whatever you want to do. (in Irish accent) Ahhh, go ahead with your masturbating!"
- Molly Shannon had a bit about how she would go to confession week after week and admit to masturbating each time:
Andy: Go to town.
- Death Glare: Conan does this at the camera after every Fan Correction video.
- Definite Article Title: During one of the Jeff Goldblum interviews, he told a story about how he got his bowtie, and remarked to his then-girlfriend, "I'm gonna wear it on The Conan." Conan instantly jumped on it:Conan: Is that what the kids are calling it these days? "You goin' on The Conan?"
- Department of Redundancy Department: "Welcome to Andy Richter's Sports Blast. I'm Andy Richter and this is Sports Blast. Welcome."
- Seems to be a favorite gag of Andy's. While he was driving cross-country to the New York shows: "Gonna check out Meteor Crater, which apparently is a crater that was made by a meteor."
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: "I just told God to shut up!"
- Disproportionate Retribution: In the "Clueless Gamer" where they played Grand Theft Auto V, Conan's revenge for getting thrown out of the strip club is to take a helicopter to the strip club and shoot a rocket launcher at the building.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Conan, distracted by Nicole Scherzinger's cleavage.
Aaron: You wanted to see some naked girls?
- As mentioned above, his "Clueless Gamer" for The Witcher 3 was completely derailed because he got fixated on the potential of sex scenes in the game.
- Meta: One sketch called "Unrepentant Donkey-Loving Freaks", where the sound booth kept "accidentally" playing disparaging sound bytes over footage of an audience member, had a woman sitting behind him with very noticeable cleavage. Many YouTube users commented how they couldn't concentrate on the sketch because of said woman.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Done deliberately for one of the Coffee Table Books That Didn't Sell: "Porn Actors in New Careers". The cover pic was a fast food worker holding a condiment bottle near his crotch and squeezing it, looking like an ejaculation. The audience groaned, and Conan didn't show any more pics from that book.Conan: This is nice, I like when I have a dialogue-
Andy: That's right.
Conan: ...When they let me know when we've missed the mark.
Andy: You create a problem, and then you solve it.
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: A few times before Will Ferrell shaved off Conan's beard, he hijacked an unrelated video Conan wanted to show, and ominously threatened Conan that he would shave him smooth on May 2nd.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Conan will occasionally invert this trope to hilarious effect when one of his monologue jokes bombs.
- 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.
- 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.
- Double Entendre: In the "Clueless Gamer" on Halo4:Aaron: She [Cortana] updated your firmware while you were asleep.
Conan: (to camera) I bet she did.
- Dramedy: Parodied in the recurring sketch "This Is Conan".
- Drinking on Duty: When Conan did a piece where he searched the office for a missing mug that belonged to his assistant, Sona Movsesian, he found out that quite a few of the Conaco staff do this...Sona included. Jeff Ross's assistant, Lindsay Varquez, pulled a bottle of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey out of one of her desk drawers during the piece.
- Driven to Suicide: The "waiter who doesn't write anything down" pretended to get Conan and Andy's orders, but when he went backstage, he admitted that he didn't remember anything, and immediately stripped down to a gymnastics leotard, performed a high rise act and purposefully fell to his death, shouting "I'm a failure!"Conan: Well... (shrugging) He's dead!
- 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.
- A minor one occurred in one "Coffee Table Books That Didn't Sell"- one book was called You Ready For This?, and had comparison photos of people who are ready versus people who aren't. The last comparison's "not ready" photo had an old woman lying in what looks like a hospital bed. After a mixed reaction from the audience, Conan reassured everyone: "She's just resting. She's gonna be around a loooooong time."
- Dying Alone: One "Buzzfeed's Running Out of Lists" featured "Jeopardy! Champs Dying Alone", with one caption reading: "The one question they didn't know was "What is love?"."
- In the "Jordan Schlansky's Product Reviews" about Darth Vader's helmet, Jordan began to describe the product and Conan interrupted him:Conan: May I interrupt you for just one second?
Conan: You will die alone. (audience laughter) Continue.
- In the "Jordan Schlansky's Product Reviews" about Darth Vader's helmet, Jordan began to describe the product and Conan interrupted him:
- Early Installment Weirdness: Way back in late 2010, a viewer sent in a mistake they spotted concerning the bass clef in the title sequence. Unlike the other instances, they actually owned up to this mistake and fixed it. It's very jarring considering shortly after, they started the "Fan Corrections" segment where they never admitted to making mistakes.
- There's also Conan's beard. He had it on and off during the 2010-2012 period, but after that, he was always clean-shaven.
- Elevator Floor Announcement: In the "Clueless Gamer" on Halo4, Conan knocked an enemy off a ledge and said, "Lingerie, third floor!"
- Embarrassing First Name: Discussed what it was like to grow up with the name Conan when Jason Momoa was on to promote Conan the Barbarian.
- End of an Age: The old set was retired in January 2018 to make way for a new one. Also as of 2018, Conan no longer seems to do his trademark "scrunch up legs and leap forward" move that he's been doing since his Late Night days. He now does a "cut" motion to the band at the end of the theme song. He still does the "string dance", however.
- On the 10/4/18 episode, Conan announced that Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band won't be joining him for the switch to the half hour format in 2019. To put into perspective: Nearly all the band members have been with him since the beginning in 1993.
- Enemy Eats Your Lunch: When Conan forced Jordan Schlansky to clean his messy office, he noticed that Jordan had made a sandwich, and took a bite.Conan: Does it bother you that I came in here with a camera crew, you were all ready to eat this delicious sandwich that you put a lot of work into? And now... it's going into my fat face.
Jordan: Uh, it should bother you more than me.
Conan: And yet it doesn't.
- 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!"
- Followed in May 2011 by "Redbeard's Last Stand", as described in Important Haircut.
- 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".
- Ethereal Choir: Used in the Chicago shows when various objects were launched over the raised State Street Bridge.
- 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."
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The sketch "Nick Offerman From Parks and Recreation Reads Tweets From Young Female Celebrities". The only thing not described in the title is that he is also doing a random woodworking task before each tweet.
- Experimented in College: Conan has admitted to having done this, but it's a running gag that's Played for Laughs.... Or is it?
- Extreme Omnivore: Often Played for Laughs with New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie.
- Fanservice Extra: In one of the Chicago episodes during a skit about Abraham Lincoln impersonators, Cassie Keller portrayed Mary Todd Lincoln, complete with cleavage.
- Fee Fi Faux Pas: During one segment, Conan was talking about Twitter and said "tweeted, or twatted." Immediately after he said this, he was embarrassed.
- Felony Misdemeanor: In a 2014 interview with Norm MacDonald, he was discussing the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, and while he didn't have any problems with the alleged murder, he did have a problem with Oscar's prosthetic legs, claiming they gave him an advantage over runners with normal legs.
- Fetish: According to a skit, podiums for Andy when getting busy with Conan.Conan: Not the podium again...Andy: Why not? It's the only way I can get aroused.
Conan: You Tarzan, me HOT!
- Not to mention, in the same skit, Conan is apparently attracted to Andy wearing leopard print.
- Fighting Irish: Conan is very confrontational during remotes. Mostly done for laughs.
- Flashback Cut: A few episodes featured a brief skit where Conan and Andy have a flashback to an event that occurred in the past, which involves either Conan or Andy acting in an exaggerated manner depending on who's doing the remembering, and usually also involves Conan throwing someone through the wall in a fit of rage and/or getting thrown through the wall himself. To top it off, said skits were filmed live in front of the studio audience, with the transitions taking a comically long time because they had to continually switch between the main and "flashback" sets, often with Conan and Andy not even bothering to clean up or change clothes.
- Foreign Culture Fetish: Jordan Schlansky is a huge Italophile who romaniticizes Italy and its culture. Conan has gotten years' of material out of mocking this and even centered an entire "Without Borders" episode around Italy and Jordan to see what the fuss is about.
- Freedom from Choice: In a "Clueless Gamer" on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, while setting up his character, Conan quickly became annoyed at how many choices there were.Conan: Okay, this is a problem I have right away: Too many choices. For a few minutes there we were in a wonderful new world and now I'm doing my taxes. (...) "Eye height"? This is madness!
- Freudian Slip: In a sketch about Stephen Colbert proclaiming that his show had the first instance of a masturbating bear, Conan meant to say "I saw the tweet", but it came out as, "I saw the teat". Andy accused him of having animal sex on the brain, and Conan acted like a little kid: "Aw shucks, ya caught me."
- Fridge Logic: Invoked: A common thing when a sketch doesn't make sense. For example, in one sketch about the adventures of "pizza rat", the rat was shown actually making the pizza he was going to drag into the subway afterwards. Andy noted something that didn't make sense after the video:Andy: Now are we saying the rat snuck into the pizza parlor?
Andy: Okay... then why was there a rat-sized apron?
Conan: ...Good night, everybody!
- Fun with Acronyms: "Conan's VD Explosion", a Valentine's Day contest for viewers.
- In a skit about the world's longest cat, Conan remarked that his reaction to seeing the YouTube video about it was, "BFD". He immediately added: "I have no idea what that means."
- 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'".
- Gender Reveal: While playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, a pair of sexy legs come out of a tub, and Conan is intrigued. But the next cut reveals that the legs belonged to a guy, and Conan laments that the game tricked him into being turned on.Conan: This game just outed me! That was totally unfair!
- 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!!"
- When Conan did a performance review in the office, he pretended that everyone was hanging on by a thread.
- 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.
- When Conan gave staff performance reviews, he tried going into Andy's office but Andy shouted at Conan, "GET OUT!!!" Conan immediately walked back out.
- Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Occasionally at the top of the show, someone from the studio audience will point at Conan. He'll remark that being pointed at is creepy, and likens that action to The Grim Reaper.
- During an interview with Harrison Ford, Conan showed a montage of Ford pointing in movies.
- 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.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Andy refers to this as "Porky Pigging it".
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Conan and Andy.Conan: People say a lot about us, that we're lovers or whatever.
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.
- And on another occasion...
Conan: (looking coy) Andy, looks like you and I left New York too soon!
- When gay marriage was legalized in New York...
- 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.
- Hollywood Pudgy: Invoked when Conan and Jordan Schlansky discussed different body types; Jordan was of the opinion that he has a hard time watching Conan's Late Night episodes from 2002, claiming Conan was uncharacteristically overweight for that period.
- 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!
- Hypocrisy Nod: In a 2015 monologue, Conan and Andy complained that 2016 election talk was already underway, and Conan immediately proceeded to tell jokes about it.
- In a "Basic Cable Name That Tune" from 2014, Conan began singing "Sherry", despite that the segment is all about playing sound-alike songs so they don't have to pay royalties. Conan calls himself out on this.
- 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 Have This Friend...: A sketch from 2013 about the post office delivering certain packages on Saturday had an allusion to this, with a guy from the audience (Eddie Pepitone) asking unusually specific scenarios:Audience member: What if you're a stalker who sends a creepy post card to Glenn Close every day? A post card with a photo of your back, with the name "Glenn Close" shaved into it? Will they still deliver that on a Saturday?
Conan: No, I'm sorry, sir, they will not deliver postcards.
Audience member: All right, what if you're a stalker who sends a creepy letter to Julianna Margolis every day, a letter wherein I describe what I would do to her if we ever found ourselves in a snow-bound cabin with nothing but a futon, three crates of whip cream, and a jar of Nutella. Will they still deliver that?
Conan: It... it's Margulies, and no, not on a Saturday.
Audience member: All right, what if you're a stalker who sends a catalog to Annette Benning every day, an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog where I paste my head on top of all the studly young bodies with the rock-hard abs and functioning genitalia.
Conan: They will, no, no catalogs. They will not send catalogs. No.
Audience member: All right, what if you're a stalker- (Conan chuckles) who sends a package full of vibrators to Diane Sawyer every day, vibrators that turn red, white and blue and play the "Star Spangled Banner" when you turn them on? Will they still deliver that?
Conan: Yes, in fact, they will deliver packages.
Audience member: (holding package that's playing the "Star Spangled Banner") You hear that, Diane? It's in the mail! (runs out)
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: In the "Clueless Gamer" on Watchdogs, Conan came across a woman on a boat and accidentally shot her.
- 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 Haircut: 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.
- Impromptu Tracheotomy: In the "Clueless Gamer" of Tomb Raider (2013), Conan accidentally caused Lara Croft to die by being impaled through the neck by a tree branch. He was horrified at such a death in a video game, and to make matters worse, he caused Lara to die the same way multiple times in a row. Finally he handed over the controls to Aaron Bleyaert, pleading for him not to let it happen again (it did anyway).
- Info Dump: A recurring element in the "Clueless Gamer" sketches; Aaron delves into the backstory of the game, and Conan looks bored.
- Inherently Funny Words: Referenced in the 10/30/17 monologue:Conan: Disgraced Congressman Anthony Wiener- (audience laughs) That's his name! Come on! Let's grow up here! It's the easiest guy to do jokes on, 'cause I just report on him and they start giggling. "Hehe, you said "wiener"!"
- Conan and Andy are both amused by "FIFA" and say it sounds like a little dog.
- 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.
- Incredibly Conspicuous Drag: Conan wore pearls, lipstick and a wig to try and look like Calista Gingrich.
- Innocent Innuendo:
Conan: Do you think you wanna be dirty?
- From a segment where Conan and a professional cleaned Jordan Schlanksy's messy office.
Jordan: Not in the way you're referring to.
Conan: What do you think I meant?
Jordan: ...My office.
Conan: (while being massaged) Okay, I'm just gonna bend over and you can really do your stuff, alright?Chad: (leaning over a chair to massage Conan) Conan, this is really hurting my groin.Conan: That's how I want it, now get in there! And don't be afraid to use your thumbs, Chad, come on!
- In one "Buzzfeed's Running Out of Lists", Conan was standing when the segment started, and the Buzzfeed arrow graphic was positioned in front of Conan's crotch area. Pointed out by Andy.
- Invoked to the nth degree in separate flashbacks wherein Conan and Andy overheard each other doing... Things.
- Cue Andy barging in, demanding to join the fun. Everyone then screams in horror.
- Insistent Terminology: When Aaron Paul discussed working with a snake in one film shoot, he was disgusted that the snake kept going to the bathroom. Andy chimed in:Andy: They don't "go to the bathroom", they just shit.
- Instant Seduction: Discussed in the interview with Jenna Elfman.
- Instrumental Theme Tune: Composed by Jimmy Vivino and Conan.
- 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.
- Iris Out: In the sketch "Two Guys, One Desk", it ends with an Iris Out on Jeff Ross's face.
- 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?Andy: Absolutely.
- Insufferable Genius: Jordan Schlansky will often go into tedious detail about the minutiae of coffee and Italian culture if given half the chance, which drives Conan up the wall.
- It Makes Sense in Context: In a sketch where the camera kept cutting to an unsuspecting guy in the audience while Conan is describing a news story about a man who had sex with a donkey, an audio clip plays: "I'm a donkey-lover until the day I die." Conan demanded to know why that audio clip played while the camera was on the victim, and the director in the booth said they accidentally hit a pre-recorded clip for a sketch they were making. The context was a political sketch where Andy looked at an elephant sign (Republicans) and rejected it, grabbing the donkey (Democrat) sign instead.
- Jaw Drop: Conan gave one when Steve Schirripa told an anecdote about how, one time at a restaurant, Reggie Jackson was rude to the staff, so in retaliation, the cooks stuck the shrimp he ordered up their butts and served it to him.
- 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.
"Once again, I've learned nothing and wasted everyone's time."
- Basically, he'll play this up whenever he does a remote or interacts with his staff.
- 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)Conan: So here's your assignment, pal, I want you walk around America and talk to 18-year olds and find out what's what!
Jimmy: You know what's trending, the new The Love Boat, have you seen that?
- When Aziz Ansari was a guest on 11/16/15, he got to meet Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, who invited Aziz to Jumbo's Clown Room for drinks. Those who don't live in the L.A. area are understandably confused, so Conan called attention to it: "That's a great joke if you know what Jumbo's Clown Room is."Note
- Larynx Dissonance: (in high-pitched voice) "I'm Thor!"
- Last Note Hilarity: A Running Gag in "Basic Cable Name That Tune" to avoid copyright infringement.Conan: Same pattern. Kind of the song, then just a crappy non-note at the end.
- Later Installment Weirdness: A few examples:
- The 2018 episodes, as the set that was used from 2010 through 2017 suddenly was changed from the L.A. oceanside with a giant moon into a replica of the Warner Bros. backlot.
- The 2019 episodes, as the show shortened to a half hour, Conan wasn't dressed in a suit and tie anymore, the band was gone, and each episode (usually) only had one guest. Also, the set was different again.
- Most of the late March through June 2020 episodes, as they were shot in Conan's home doing Zoom interviews due to the COVID pandemic.
- The July 2020 episodes to present, as they were shot at the Largo At The Coronet Theater instead of a traditional studio set, again due to the pandemic.
- Leave No Witnesses: A one-shot skit involved Conan mentioning that plants have long term memory. A visibly nervous Andy went backstage to his dressing room and choked a plant to death, then shot a nearby flower pot, and finally chased down a plant (which hopped in a getaway car) and caused it to crash.
- Like Brother and Sister: Conan's relationship with his assistant Sona. At one point even buying her a "car" to give her live so she couldn't refuse it.
- 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.
- Even during skits, Conan and Andy just slap an article of clothing or two on top of their suits. Which has led to Conan doing his so-called low-budget vlogs while still clad in his suit, and apparently grilling in his backyard while wearing an apron... Over his suit.
- Long List:
- One sketch involved a waiter claiming he didn't need to write Conan and Andy's long lunch orders down. The amount of food that Conan and Andy ordered was ridiculous, and of course the waiter couldn't possibly memorize it all, despite claims to the contrary.
- The recurring sketch "Celebrity Income Breakdown" inevitably has one instance of this.
- Long Title: The title for the 7/11/13 episode was "The Episode Where We Worked So Hard on the Show We Didn't Have Time to Come Up with a Great Episode Title, So Let's Just Call This One 'Steve'".
- The Love Boat: The title graphics for the 2012 Valentine's Day episode incorporated The Love Boat circle and anchor graphics.
- 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!
- Major Injury Underreaction: In the first episode of ComicCon 2018 week, an usher asked a wookie to leave the theater, and got his arm ripped off. The usher nonchalantly said, "At least I match." Note
- Manipulative Editing: Done for humor. Common for anything involving Barack Obama.Obama: We're gonna need more revenue. And my expectation is, we're gonna find some magic beans that you can toss on the ground and suddenly a bunch of... money grows on trees.
Joe Biden: We will NOT succeed!
- Also, during the 2012 presidential campaign:
- This was also applied to Alex Trebek to make his Jeopardy! clues sound like nonsensical gibberish.
- 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."
- Mascot: Spoofed.
- 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.
- Mean 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.
- Minor Injury Overreaction: In one of the NYC episodes, Conan played basketball with some guys and the ball accidentally collided with another player. He dropped to the ground in pain, and Smash Cut to Conan being carted on a stretcher into an ambulance. Later, Conan was released from the hospital and goes to play chess. He accidentally banged his hand on a scorekeeper, causing him to drop to the ground in pain again. And be put in an ambulance, again.
- 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 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.
- Money, Dear Boy: Invoked during the 2013 interview with Harrison Ford. After Ford refused to reveal any spoilers about The Force Awakens, even after Conan bribed him with $1,000:Harrison Ford: (to audience) Do you have any idea what they normally pay you to come here and do this?
Conan: (laughs) I thought you came here for the love, Harrison, just the love for me!
Harrison Ford: No, I don't go anywhere for love. (Conan laughs) I stay home for love.
- 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.
- "Hahahaha! Wasn't that a great clip? Subscribe to my YouTube channel for an endless supply of ME! Hahahahahaha... (gets serious face) Ugh."
- 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 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.
- When Conan and guest Terry Crews play Battlefield1, the two get depressed about the birth date/death dates in the game, and decide they need a "bunny break", which consists of the two holding rabbits. Cue audience "awww"s.
- Whenever a famous celebrity dies, Conan has to awkwardly transition from a tribute to a comedy sketch. Wisely, he always calls attention to this whiplash.
- Motor Mouth: When Jeff Bridges was a guest, Conan forgot to let Jeff plug the latest movie he was in, Seventh Son. Before Conan brought out his next guest, he asked Jeff to quickly tell what the movie was about before he showed the clip. At this, Jeff spoke in high-pitched gibberish, causing Conan to burst out laughing.
- Mr. Fanservice: This promo. Even inspired a few claims of Even the Guys Want Him.
- The Musical: "Bears in Our Pool", a musical about the news stories of bears wandering into town and getting in people's swimming pools.
- 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.
- Naked People Are Funny: In the 2015 Angie Harmon interview, previous guest Jeff Garlin interjected when the subject of butts came up:Jeff: (to Conan) By the way, I've seen you naked, my friend. That's all I'm sayin'. (stifles laughter)
Conan: That's true, you have seen me naked. We used to live together and you lived to tell the tale. I don't know why you're laughing.
- Namesake Gag: During a bit about New York history, Conan claims that the mayor's official residence, Gracie Mansion, is named in honor of the 18th-century merchant Archibald Mansion.
- Name's the Same: Invoked: Conan was NOT happy that an upcoming Pixar movie is named Coco, claiming that's been his nickname since 2009 and that Disney/Pixar should've gotten permission first.
- Narm: Invoked; during their "Clueless Gamer" of Grand Theft Auto V when the main character is furious that he couldn't keep up with the villain and bangs the steering wheel while screaming, Conan bursts out laughing.
- 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."
- In a later Halloween episode, it was "revealed" why La Bamba is able to come back alive and well even if he's killed: There's a whole bunch of "La Bamba" pills which, if placed in water, grow an entirely new, replacement La Bamba.
- The "waiter who doesn't write anything down" keeps coming back, despite supposedly killing himself at the end of every sketch.
- 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.
- Nightmare Fuel: Invoked. In the 1/6/15 episode, Conan observed how one of the title cards when coming back from commercial was disturbing: It was Andy's and Conan's heads as green peas. Conan joked that it's the show's job to freak him out with weird graphics.
- "No. Just... No" Reaction: One of the "What Am I Watching?" segments contained footage of a particularly sleazy reality show, to which the info button just said "No."
- Nonindicative Name: One viewer who sent in a Fan Correction had the YouTube name "OnTheHighwayToHell9", despite his appearance (an Ithaca college student with glasses) not suggesting such a hardcore name.
- 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.
- No Sympathy: When Jeff Goldblum briefly choked on a lozenge, Jeff noted that Conan didn't help him at all. Conan gave a sarcastic retort:Conan: I'm sorry, I should ask, "Are you okay?" (...) I'm sorry you almost died seconds ago, because you decided to munch some candy out here.
Conan: Jeff, that's terrible! We completely ruined that poor guy's life!
- On the 4/18/17 episode was a sketch parodying a true story about a group of reality show contestants who weren't told the show was cancelled and lived in the wilderness for longer than they had to. Conan had a similar show concept, about two guys who share a desk. He forgot that he made the show and by now, only one of the two guys was alive.
Jeff Ross: Fuck 'em.
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: Parodied during a 2/10/15 monologue when Conan made a joke about how women have to use duct-tape and rope to get their boyfriends to see Fifty Shades of Grey with them:Andy: "I'm not seeing that sex movie. No way, Jose."
Conan: "We're going to that environmental documentary!"
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Occasionally, Conan will say this when describing a "news of the weird" story.
- 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."
- Conan has frequently had to clarify that Jordan Schlansky really acts that way in real life. He's not putting on an act for the cameras. After one of Jordan's "product reviews" sketches in 2016, he said he was sick of hearing the question, "Is Jordan for real?" and to stop asking.
- Nostalgia Filter: When Conan played Golf on Atari 2600 during a "Clueless Gamer" sketch:Conan: What a horrible era for mankind. I can go and look at an old butter churn or a turn-of-the-century car, and I can appreciate the beauty of it. I can look at a 1950s Bakelite phone and it still works and its very beautiful. This is awful.
- 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.
- Obviously Evil: Referenced in a one-time sketch where Conan auditioned for various TV commercials. He was of the mindset that directly telling the audience what their character's motivation is would save a lot of confusion, while the commercial director considers that insulting the audience's intelligence.Killion: When you tell the audience what's happening that's called "indicating".
Conan: I never took an acting class, but I would think it would be, when I'm watching a movie, I would appreciate it if a character came out and said "Hello, I'm evil." That would help. They don't do that enough.
Killion: They don't, because that's called "indicating", because most people can figure out who the evil one is. That's part of the fun of going to the movies.
Conan: Well, you use your turn signals, you avoid an accident.
- Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: In one "Why Would You Tweet That?", Nicolas Cage tweeted that he was starring in Turd Demon 4: The Turdening.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Conan mentioned in one episode how the Basic Cable Band often plays famous rock songs... but only during the commercial break. When the camera's on them, they play original material instead. And of course, the way the show breaks are formatted doesn't even let the band be heard very much before it cuts to commercial.
- 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.
- Starting in late 2015, Conan's included a bit where he lets an audience member touch his clothed nipple.
- Ever since Donald Trump announced he was running for president in 2015, Conan's done his Trump impression in virtually every monologue. The impression consists of pulling his hair forward, making an exaggerated "sucking" face and delivering a stinging hand gesture into the camera while saying "You're fired!" or calling someone a loser. See just one example here.
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Kevin Nealon had a story about when he went skiing. He was convinced the ski resort was racist, as he was told by the staff that some skiers are afraid to go there because of all the "blacks". Referring, of course, to black diamond, the hardest downhill level.
- 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.
- Only Sane Man:
- Conan, in sketch that started with a "stagehand" dying, then had the entire crew and Andy immediately creating elaborate memorials and implying Conan was heartless because he had no idea how any of this was happening so fast. He cuts to commercial saying, "I'm going to try to figure out what the fuck just happened."
- The behind the scenes remotes that don't involve Conan acting like a Bad Boss towards the employees at his production company will often instead have him react with befuddlement and incredulity towards their eccentricities and flagrant poor work ethic.
- On Second Thought: In an early episode, Conan was talking to La Bamba, who replied with non-verbals. Conan immediately lampshaded this:Conan: Okay, no, you can use real words. Why do you... you're like a silent film actor. (gives thumbs up) No, words are fine, La Bamba. You won't be penalized for speaking.
La Bamba: Okay!
Conan: Well, no... (gives thumbs up) Go back to this.
Conan: (laughing while talking) Okay, don't. That was awful. Oh my God. I just saw... the end of the world in your eyes.
- In the sketch where Conan hires a professional to clean Jordan Schlansky's filthy office, he noticed that Jordan rarely looks someone in the eye when talking to them. He insisted that Jordan look him in the eye, but immediately regretted it:
- On the Next ______: Parodied hilariously.
- Orwellian Retcon: Done for comedy in "Fan Corrections"- when presented with an error he made on the show, he'll use Insane Troll Logic and obviously doctored footage to prove he was right all along.
- Overly Long Gag: Any instance of "Media Reacts", where news reporters across the country all say the same thing, one after another. There was a particularly long one in the 12/16/2013 episode.
Obama: Thanks to me, one thing is certain: Osama Bin Laden will never threaten America again, and Al Qaeda is on the road to defeat! (audience applauds; Obama applauds with them, even continuing after audience applause has stopped. Eventually, he stops, only to start applauding again)
- In one monologue, Conan thought Obama was milking the fact that Osama Bin Laden was recently killed a little too much. Cue Manipulative Editing to make it look like Obama was applauding himself for an unnaturally long time.
- The Clueless Gamer where Conan played Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare featured an extended section where Conan's character kept dying while trying to cross the street. It took Conan 59 attempts to do it successfully. For added hilarity, on try 59 he realized that there was a walkway he could've taken instead.
- "Celebrity Income Breakdowns" on Nicolas Cage involves the residuals he earned on so many ridiculous movies Conan himself starts corpsing at around the midpoint.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: When Bob Odenkirk was interviewed on 3/1/16:Bob: Look, I'm not saying I'm one of the best... I'm one of the best dramatic actors on Better Call Saul in the lead role.
- Painted-On Pants: The jeggings. Oh dear God, the jeggings.
- 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.
- Parallel Porn Titles: In one "Fan Corrections", a fan said that Conan got the name of The Dark Knight Rises wrong, calling it The Dark Knight Rising. As per usual, Conan told the fan he was dead wrong, as he wasn't referring to the 2012 Hollywood film, but the low-budget porno based on said movie. Said movie featured a gay three-way between Batman, The Riddler, and Bane, and the "Rising" in the title literally rose.
- 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".
- When Conan and Steven Yeun visited a Korean health spa, they were fully nude for part of it, and their privates had to be pixellated.
- Plagiarism: In 2015, Conan brought attention to the fact that a French variety show had ripped off their "Tull's Tips" segment, with virtually identical presentation and execution. Later, Conan was shocked that now a German variety show had copied "Tull's Tips" too!
- Playing Against Type: Invoked: In response to the news that Ben Affleck was going to play Batman in the Batman v. Superman movie, Conan showed three teaser trailers which "proved" Affleck has the chops to play the Caped Crusader. All three clips were merely clips from Gigli and Jersey Girl with a Batman mask superimposed over Affleck's head.
- Plumber's Crack: In a sketch about a stalker asking Conan if the post office will still deliver packages on the weekend, he was ecstatic that they will, and shouted to Diane Sawyer that her stalker package was in the mail. As he ran up the studio steps, his butt crack was clearly visible, causing Conan to burst out laughing and show an instant replay.
- 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.
- Portmanteau: Leprekong, which combines a leprechaun with King Kong. It's as funny as it sounds.
- Portmanteau Couple Name: "Candy", for Conan/Andy. Invoked by Conan on the 05/11/11 episode while talking with Miranda Kerr, and a couple of times since.
- Potty Failure: Any joke about Al Roker.
- 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!"
- For the 2015 Super Bowl, Conan did his annual "Puppy Conan" sketch. This time, one of the puppies defecated on stage, causing the segment to go Off the Rails.
- When The Miz was on a second time, he gave Conan a pair of wrestling shorts. Conan remarked: "These look like incontinence pants."
- An entire part of the 6/20/16 interview with Kumail Nanjiani was about pooping your pants.
- Joked about in the 8/30/16 episode with stunt master Steven Ho: Conan briefly squatted down, and announced after standing back up: "I just urinated."
- Praising Shows You Don't Watch: Invoked and averted. When Conan interviewed Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, he noted that he never fakes having seen a movie or show if someone asks. If he has a guest on and hasn't seen what they've appeared in, he'll say something like "A lot of people are talking about this movie."
- Precious Puppies: Following the 2012 edition of the Animal Planet Super 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."
Dana Carvey: (as Stewart) Yeah, well how you doin'? Yeah. Well pretty good. How are you doin'? Yeah. Yeah. Well FUCK you.
- 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.
- There's also Dana Carvey dropping multiple F-bombs as various famous people (Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Stewart):
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 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 was usually left uncensored 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:
- In the sketch where Noah announces he's eaten all the animals on the ark, Noah's wife twice says, "What the (fuck)?!?"
- After lukewarm audience reaction to one of the Coffee Table Books That Didn't Sell, Conan told the studio audience that when they watch the show on TV later on, they won't see that last one. He's "cutting that (fucker) out."
- After a particularly weird sketch about Larry the stagehand's death and instantaneous memorials, Conan cuts to commercial with, "I'm going to try to figure out what the fuck just happened."
- 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.
Reporter: Mr. Boehner, what do you think the White House should be doing?
- One particularly prominent example was when Dawn of the Planet of the Apes came out: Conan began to tell a joke about John Boehner discussing illegal immigrants, but a trailer for the new Apes movie began to play instead, annoying Conan. Then an image from the movie appeared behind Conan, further annoying him. Then the camera cut to the control room, where one of the crew members was dressed as an ape. Conan got even more "upset" at these blatant product plugs and demanded no more. Cue an ape playing the bongo drums near the band. Conan, "furious", demanded no more distractions, and finally went on with his immigration story...
Boehner: (ape voice dubbed over his voice) Ho ho! Go see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes! Ho ho!!!
(Dawn logo appears on screen and producer Jeff Ross bursts through it)
Jeff Ross: Everything's goin' ape!
Conan: She gave me a book! (audience laughs) I thought we had a real human connection here! I thought something REAL was happening here! "Hold this up on camera!" NO! Ridiculous! (briefly flashes the cover)
- In an episode from 2014, an audience member engaged in this: During Conan's monologue, he started to tell a joke about an app that teaches men how to perform oral sex on women; said audience member was audibly heard over everyone else and Conan called her out. When he invited her up front, she gave Conan a book she wrote and asked him to show it. Conan was understandably confused:
Andy: She's probably not dissatisfied with inept oral sex, either! Probably all just a scam to get that book on camera.
- Prolonged Prologue: One of Conan's pet peeves during "Clueless Gamer": There's usually a long intro sequence before he can actually play the game. When he reviewed Battlefield 1, he remarked how refreshing it was that he could start playing right away instead of sitting through a movie first.
- 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."
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.
- 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:
Dean: I think it's fair to say that the British weren't the only ones who were coming.
- When cleaning Jordan Schlansky's messy office, Jordan lectured Conan about "TDS note ", to which Conan told him, "I find you TDS."
- When Dean Norris discussed his role as Benjamin Franklin and how he was the 1770s equivalent of a rock star, he mentioned that he loved the prostitutes, and added:
- Raging Stiffie: When Sofía Vergara was a guest, Conan observed how when there's a beautiful woman on the show, more crew members than usual are on the set. One of the guys that suddenly appears is a man driving a cart called "Boner Tours".
- Before one "BuzzFeed's Running Out of Lists", the logo (a jagged arrow pointing upwards) appeared near Conan's groin, making it look like he had an erection. Pointed out by Andy.
- A Rare Sentence: The premise of "Things That Have Never, Ever Been Said".
- 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.
- Really 700 Years Old: Conan himself apparently, appearing in a Game of Thrones spoof of the scene revealing Melisandre's true age, with Conan retiring to his hotel room, then taking of a necklace revealing himself to be impossibly ancient.
- "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.
- Red-Headed Stepchild:
- Ginger-bashing is occasionally commented on for obvious reasons. Notably, when the news came out that a sperm bank was refusing red-headed donors. Conan was a bit insulted by this. He also wondered what people were seeing every night that was turning them off of redheads.
- Tim Minchin played his anti-ginger-bashing song "Prejudice" for his second appearance on the show, which made the already funny song extra funny.
- Reflective Eyes: One Fan Corrections had a viewer claim that Conan mistook a lemur for a marmoset. Conan countered by saying he did show a lemur- it was just in the reflection of the marmoset's eyes.
- Renaissance Man: In July 2014, Conan made an announcement that, due to his "mastering the TV medium", he has taken up film acting as well. His first movie role is a part in Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda.
- Retcon: The Fan Corrections segments, in which Conan responds to allegations of research failure with implausible (and bogus) "proof".
- Retool: The show underwent a massive retool because Conan was becoming tired of the late-night talk show formula. Episodes were cut down to 30 minutes (including commercials) with more emphasis on interviews rather than sketches and musical performances. Along with this, the show switched to a smaller set with armchairs instead of the usual couch and desk. Conan and Andy also ditched the traditional suits for more casual clothes. Unfortunately, this also meant that the Basic Cable Band couldn't be featured anymore.
- Revised Ending: In one of the Christmas episodes, an alternate ending to Miracle on 34th Street is shown, with Kris Kringle shooting Thomas Mara and bolting.
Tony: You missed me, motherfucker! (swims out of frame)
- One of the Fan Corrections was about Scarface- Conan claimed that the real ending had Tony Montana living after being shot repeatedly and falling in the pool.
- Rewind Gag: Done in a sketch about Italy legalizing public masturbation: Andy bolted out of the studio and footage is shown of a plane departing for Italy. Conan informed Andy from afar that the law only applies to Italian citizens; cue the same footage from before, only reversed and with the U.S. national anthem playing over it.Conan: (laughing) We do dumb things here, I gotta say, running that plane footage backwards... that's the dumbest thing we've done in a while.
Andy: Even I didn't know there was an "R"!
- Rhyming with Itself: Parodied and lampshaded in "Thursday", Conan's parody of "Friday":Why is there a rapper here?Why exactly am I here?Did I just rhyme here with here?I am getting out of here.
- Ridiculous Exchange Rates: In a sketch where one of the Oogieloves paid the show a visit, Conan asked how much money the movie made. The Oogielove replied, "An Oogie-illion dollars!" An aggravated Conan said to stop screwing around and tell him what that was in actual dollars. The Oogielove sheepishly replied, "Fifteen dollars... and counting!"
- 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. When Captain America: The First Avenger was released, the sketch then used Rise of the Planet of the Apes for its jokes instead.
- 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. Chronicled in this video and culminating in Rudd's visit before the release of Ant-Man.
- Conan's resemblance to actress Tilda Swinton is brought up every now and then. As is his popularity in Finland.
- Whenever viewers are directed to a page on the show's website, it shows up on-screen as "TEAMCOCO.COM/PAGE". However, the slash symbol is always replaced by a headshot of Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash.
- One infrequent sketch involves Conan reading a "news of the weird" story (usually involving someone doing something perverse) and asking, "What kind of sick person would do that?" Smash Cut to an unsuspecting person in the audience. Conan notices this and admonishes the director for cutting to them accidentally, and continues with the sketch. Despite this, the camera keeps cutting back to the person in the audience, despite Conan's repeated objections. Coincidental sound bytes are also often used. Here's just one example.
- Sanity Slippage: A Running Gag in Conan's monologues during the coronavirus pandemic. Conan will state he's slowly going insane by being stuck at home.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: One of Mitt Romney's lines was taken out of context for comedy during the 2012 election.Romney: Guess who's gotta pay that? Not me, I'm gone!
- 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: 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.
- 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: Easily my least favorite person in world history.
- He also regularly pokes fun at his tendency to be a creepy lech with women on the show, his awkward gangly build and his pale skin.
- Before every "Celebrity Survey", Conan said that unlike a lot of talk shows, "We don't use professionals, and I think it shows."
- The segment "What Am I Watching?", which is meant to be a series of jabs at other shows, occasionally will make fun of Conan, such as one where the info button said of the show, "Lanky Irish-American seeks the love he never got from his parents."
- Brian LaFontaine (Brian Stack) in "Basic Cable Name That Tune", who insults himself with a big smile on his face. Conan hates him, too.
Brian: My wife and children agree.
Robert: Donald Trump has worn me down, as you can see...Note
- When former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich was on in 2018:
- Separated at Birth: The premise of "Who's the Pope?"
- Servile Snarker: Sona, Conan's assistant, who heaps on the snark in exasperation at Conan's antics.
- 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 was hilarious.
- 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.
- A subtle one at the end of the "Bears in Our Pool" sketch: Conan claps, and increases in intensity with a forceful look on his face.
- Athlete Alana Nichols gave a ShoutOut to Paul Rudd when she threw to a clip of herself, only for the clip to be from Mac and Me instead.
- The Show Must Go On: In the 1/19/16 episode, Marisa Tomei had to cancel because she was sick; Ed Helms was called at the last minute and filled in for Tomei. As it was such short notice, the interview was completely ad-libbed, with no preparation on either Conan or Ed's part. The two covered such exciting topics as what Ed ate for lunch.
- Show Within a Show: Puppy Conan, and its Spin-Off Hamster Conan.
- Sidekick: Andy Richter
- In the Clueless Gamer skits, Aaron Bleyaert.
- Single Tear: Conan often mimes this, then "drinks" the tear to make him strong.
- In the 6/15/15 interview with Angie Harmon, Conan admitted that he doesn't have a butt, and joked that his wife goes outside every night while looking at the ocean, and a single tear rolls down her cheek. Cue raucous laughter from Jeff Garlin.
- The Singularity: Parodied in the "Del Taco Del Flusho" sketch: A toilet with a special lever allows you to receive a new burrito every time you "make more room". So basically, you do nothing but sit on the toilet, poop and eat in a never-ending cycle.Narrator: And the more you use it, the more Del Taco Del Flusho perfects its intuition, anticipating your body's needs, and gradually reducing the lag time between delivery, consumption, and elimination until your body and Del Taco achieve a perfect synchronized loop which we call "Delfinity".
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Conan's habit of attempting to infuriate and annoy Jordan Schlansky borders on this.
- Skewed Priorities: Conan has more than once accused Jordan Schlansky of pursing other things at work, not helped by Jordan never being specific about what exactly he does as associate producer. One time, when Jordan noted that he has boxes for shipping wine in his office:Conan: Okay, this is a place of business. This is a television show. You seem to think that we are running a moderately-sized Italian restaurant. You have cheeses, you have wine, you have salami, you have different waters... I see very little work going on here.
- Slipping a Mickey: During a late 2014 "What Am I Watching?" segment, one show that Conan channel surfed to was The Cosby Show. As this was during the height of his rape accusations, the info button merely said "No comment at this time." When Conan noticed that the clip consisted of Cliff Huxtable offering his wife a drink, Conan ad-libbed: "No, don't drink that!", referencing his alleged drugging of women to sexually assault them. The audience reaction was a mixture of uneasy groaning and laughter, which of course Conan called attention to.
- 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. This was also the case for the episode featuring the cast of The Walking Dead and the episode featuring the cast of Sons of Anarchy; each had a special Cold Open.
- The "Conan Without Borders" episodes are this by default (see Vacation Episode below).
- As with virtually all talk shows, Conan began to host the show from home starting in late March 2020 and interview guests remotely, due to the stay-at-home orders amidst the coronavirus. Starting in July, he temporarily moved production to the Largo At The Coronet Theater in Los Angeles, both to help out the theater (all theaters have obviously been struggling during the pandemic due to, well, not being able to put on shows) and because it's easy for the crew to social distance in such a large venue. He still conducts celebrity interviews via Zoom, though.
- Song Parody: In the 6/4/15 episode, there was a montage of Conan's times having the tux put on him before the Audiencey Awards. The song that accompanied it was "Puttin' on a Tux", a parody of "Puttin' on the Ritz".
- 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 Im 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.
- Speech Impediment: Due to Manipulative Editing, Obama seemed to have this when describing the Affordable Healthcare for America Act.
- 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.
- Spiritual Successor: "If They Melded" is an update on the Late Night sketch "If They Mated". The difference is, this sketch had moving footage of two melded celebrities as opposed to still images.
- "Why Would You Tweet That?" is similar to "Twitter Tracker" on The Tonight Show.
- 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.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: In a remote where Conan gave performance reviews, he asked his employees who he should fire. Without fail, everyone picks Jordan Schlansky, amusing Conan.
- Strange-Syntax Speaker: When Harland Williams was a guest, he had a bit about how Yoda can never get married, because every time he makes it to the part where you're supposed to say "I do", Yoda would say "Hmmmm, do I?"
- Streisand Effect: Invoked during an interview with Will Ferrell: He came out with a white bird on his shoulder, but didn't mention it. When Conan pointed out there's a bird on his shoulder, Will got offended and asked Conan not to ask him any questions about the bird. Predictably, the entire first half of the interview became about the bird.
- 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!"
- Stylistic Suck: Conan's Video Blog. Complete with all the awkward pauses, low-quality webcam resolution, and the best title screens Windows Movie Maker can provide. It was "designed" to reach out to his younger viewers.
- Suddenly Speaking: 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.
- Super Window Jump: Conan apparently did this after Madonna's half-time show during the Super Bowl.Conan: Wooooorld peaaaace!
- Suspiciously Similar Song: Invoked: The precept behind "Basic Cable Name That Tune", where contestants identify off-key knockoffs of popular songs, like "Tuba Guy", "Have Intercourse With Yourself", or "Scrabble Foot".
- 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, "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.
Jeff: Ocean spray. Cranberries. Delightful. Horrible concoction. You take that cranberry sauce out of that can and slice it into slices, what a horrible, horrible dish. I'm sorry, Ocean Spray people.
- On one episode, Conan delivered this monologue joke: "Oprah now has a half-sister, thats a big story Oprah says that when she was looking for advice on how to approach her half sister, she consulted Dr. Phil. Unfortunately, Dr. Phil wasnt much help, because hes 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.
- Jeff Goldblum made an out-of-nowhere diss to Ocean Spray during one of his interviews:
Conan: Wait a minute. Do they ever get commercial time on this show? (Jeff Ross nods) They buy commercial time on our show!
Jeff: I apologize.
Conan: They're paying for these socks right here! (lifts pant leg to show sock) They're responsible for that high quality sock.
Clean up on aisle "This show sucks."
- The premise of "What Conan's Watching", but a particularly nasty one for "Guy's Grocery Games":
- Take That, Audience!: A recurring gag when "Ted Turner" appears on the show; he'll call the audience a bunch of pot-smoking, unemployed, hippie pansies. Or variants thereof.
- A manipulated ad from AIG in early 2013 had the actors saying, "Fuck you, America."Note
- Tears of Joy: In a 2019 episode, Conan noticed an audience member was crying. Luckily it was happy tears- the woman was a big fan of Conan and was overwhelmed to be there. Still, Conan felt guilty that he "made her cry".
- Tempting Fate: Discussed in one episode. Conan remarks how similar his tendency to droop half of his face and slur his speech (mostly saying "Yeah, shee?"), mimicking a gangster in a movie, is to a stroke and that someday he'll have a real stroke and people will assume he's doing a bit.
- 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?!
- Think of the Children!: One "Rehearsal Scraps" featured Conan really surly about rehearsing "Before Photoshop". After being thoroughly unamused by the examples so far, he pleaded while laughing, "PLEASE don't make me do this bit! I have children!"
- 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!
- After Cheryl Boone of the Academy accidentally pronounced cinematographer Dick Pope's name as "Dick Poop", Conan said that there were more instances of her mispronouncing names:
- Tongue-Tied: Occurs on occasion:
Conan: You're having a little trouble today there, WikiBear, with some of your talkin', huh?
- 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.
- In the 3/5/15 episode, Conan said Adam Sandler's starred in numerous "flooms".
- When introducing one "BuzzFeed's Running Out of Lists": "Here are some Buzzfids- Buzzfids, Buzzfeeds, oh Jesus Christ..."
- 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.
- Tough Room: Conan has noted that Andy won't laugh at just anything- he tells it like it is: If a joke isn't funny, he won't laugh. So you know if you hear him chortling off-screen, it truly is tickling his funny bone.
- Trash of the Titans: Frequent buttmonkey Jordan Schlansky is an extraordinary packrat. Whenever Conan visits Schlansky's office, Conan will always comment about how space is littered with boxes full of seemingly-random objects. Conan brings in a professional office organizer to try and clean the office up but they're barely able to make a dent.
- 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.Obama: It's all my fault, I can't fix it.Romney: I will kill 710,000 jobs!
- Undesirable Prize: Andy has awarded audience members with "prizes" such as; a shoebox full of hair, a custom-made "World's Best Sex Offender" coffee mug, an N.P.R. gun holster, a jar filled with an unidentified whitish liquid with a hand-written label reading "NUZZ", a bag labelled Mountain Dew full of an unidentified yellow liquid they found in Creator/KathyGriffin's dressing room, and a cake no one picked up from the bakery, which reads "Hope Your Operation Was A Success!".
- The Unintelligible: In a 2014 interview, Jenny Slate said she does the worst Arnold impression of all time, and to demonstrate, she took a line from Twins which both Conan and Andy couldn't even decipher at first: "I did nothing, the pavement was his enemy!"Conan: "I did not think... the pavement was his enemy?"
- Unreadably Fast Text: "Comedy For DV-Rs", where a Long List scrolls up the screen and can only be read via slowing the footage down.
- Vacation Episode: There have been quite a few of them:
- The week of shows he did in New York City in 2011.
- The week of shows he did in Chicago in 2012.
- The week of shows he did in Atlanta in 2013.
- The week of shows he did in Dallas in 2014.
- The 3/4/15 episode, where Conan visited Cuba (which had recently started friendlier relations with the U.S.).
- The 11/17/15 episode, where Conan visited Armenia, the home country of Sona Movsesian, his assistant.
- The 1/25/16 episode, where Conan entertained the troops at the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
- The 4/9/16 episode, where Conan visited South Korea.
- The 12/7/16 episode, where Conan visited Germany.
- The 3/1/17 episode, where Conan visited Mexico.
- The 9/19/17 episode where Conan visited Israel.
- The week of shows he did in Harlem, NYC in 2017.
- The 4/11/18 episode where Conan and Jordan Schlansky went to Italy.
- The 11/28/18 episode where Conan visited Japan.
- The April 2019 episode where Conan visited Australia.
- The August 2019 episode where Conan visited Greenland.
- The November 2019 episode where Conan visited Ghana.
- 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.
- Vocal Dissonance: In the "Clueless Gamer" where Conan and J. Cole play Splinter Cell: Blacklist, the main character is wearing a backpack so Conan dubs him in a little kid voice: "Hiya, fellas! What's up?"
- 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.
- Waxing Lyrical: When Conan gave performance evaluations, he told one of his employees, "Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has those days." Then he lampshaded that he's heard that somewhere.
- 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.
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)
- 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.
- 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. This is also 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.
- On the 3/19/15 episode, Conan began the "Conan's Video Blog" segment, but the colors on his display were screwed up: Conan was blue, and the ocean background behind Conan's desk was red. At first Conan wanted to do the segment in these funky colors, but after a couple minutes a staff member stepped in and fixed the colors.
- 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"!
- 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.
- What, Exactly, Is His Job?: Associate Producer Jordan Schlansky. Nobody, not even Jordan himself, can clearly identify what he does for the show on a daily basis.
- 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 Through the Cold: For about a week towards the end of 2012, Conan had a cold that made his voice really hoarse.
Andy: (really deep voice) I frankly don't even know why I'm here.
- Andy went through something similar in early March 2016. Frequently lampshaded.
- 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.
- You Look Familiar: Conan will point out if an actor in a sketch is the same person that appeared earlier in the show in an unrelated sketch. This has especially been prevalent in the episodes during the 9/15/04-9/18/04 week, when Brian Stack played an audience member too exhausted from heat to laugh, yet also appeared in other unrelated sketches. Conan: (singing) It's the show that reuses actors multiple times!
- 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.