Conan O’Brien closed out his late-night run with a sweet reflection on how he’s tried to build a career out of blending smart with stupid on the final episode of Conan Thursday, June 24th.
“I have devoted all of my adult life to pursuing this strange, phantom intersection between smart and stupid,” O’Brien said at the end of a farewell address. “And there’s a lot of people that believe the two cannot coexist, but God, I will tell you, it is something that I believe religiously. I think when smart and stupid come together — it’s very difficult — but if you can make it happen, I think it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”
The bulk of O’Brien’s send-off found him thanking the litany of collaborators and supporters he’s had throughout the years, including his writing and production staff, longtime sidekick Andy Richter, and Lorne Michaels, who vouched for O’Brien when he was first hired to host Late Night. There was also a special thank you for Lisa Kudrow, whom O’Brien had met in an improv class, and who gave him the confidence to accept his first talk show gig.
“Lisa Kudrow had more faith in me than I did,” O’Brien recalled. “And she said, ‘You gotta do it, you have to do it, you’re the only one that can do it.’ I thought she was nuts, but I wouldn’t be doing this job, you wouldn’t know me, if it wasn’t for Lisa Kudrow.”
After thanking his family, O’Brien closed out the show by saying, “I am so grateful to all my staff and the fans in this country and around the world who have joined me in this really crazy and seemingly pointless pursuit — to do things that are kinda stupid but have something smart in there somewhere. And then there’s a little tiny flicker of what is kind of a magic, I think, that’s what I believe. So my advice to anyone watching right now — and it’s not easy to do — but try and do what you love with people you love. And if you can manage that, it’s the definition of heaven on Earth, I swear to God. It really is.”