The Biography of Conan O'Brien
Conan O'Brien is most widely known as the host of NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien. The series, which debuted on September 13, 1993, brought the world such memorable skits as In the Year 2000, staring contests, If they Mated, Actual Items, and introduced Late Night characters including Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, the Masturbating Bear, and, of course, Airsick Moth.
Conan was born on April 18, 1963, in the city of Brookline, Massachusetts. He grew up in a large, Irish Catholic family, with six siblings. Conan graduated from Harvard in 1983 as a valedictorian, after writing for the University's humor magazine, the Harvard Lampoon. By the time he graduated, he was President of the magazine for two consecutive terms, a feat not accomplished since Robert Benchley in the 1920s.
After college, Conan landed a few television writing jobs, but none of them went anywhere. From 1988 until 1991, he wrote skits and jokes for the late night weekly television series Saturday Night Live. He left that show to work on a series that flopped, and was later hired as a writer for The Simpsons. He wrote the episodes "Marge vs. the Monorail" (9F10) and "Homer Goes to College" (1F02).
Conan O'Brien's big break came when an NBC executive placed confidence in Conan as a talk show host and gave him his own show after Jay Leno's The Tonight Show. Conan, with the aid of sidekick Andy Richter (who left in 2000 to pursue an acting career, and currently stars in Andy Richter Controls the Universe) and drummer Max Weinberg (of Bruce Springsteen fame) and the Max Weinberg Seven, struggled for years to make the show work. Something eventually clicked, though, and the show finally became a success, among both critics and viewers.
O'Brien was also very successful as the host of the 54th Emmy Awards on September 22, 2002. The show began with a skit of him waking up to find himself at the home of The Osbournes, running late for the show. In the skit, Ozzy Osbourne attempted to rush him to the awards ceremony but Conan ended up on the set of The Price is Right, and Bob Barker was pissed! ("Don't touch the wheel!")
On January 12, 2002, Conan O'Brien married Liza Powell, who he first met as a guest on his show.
For an example of Conan's wit and style of humor, check out his excellent speech at the Harvard graduation ceremony in 2000:
Conan O'Brien's Commencement Speech for the Harvard Class of 2000