While Jay Leno was saying goodbye to his viewers (again), last night Conan O'Brien was doing a very special zombie-focused episode of his own talk show in anticipation of AMC's The Walking Dead returning this Sunday. But he did address The Tonight Show vaguely but humorously during his monologue, when talking about the start of the Winter Olympics.
"The Olympics start airing tonight on NBC," Conan said. "That's right, NBC has the Olympics. It's a big deal. NBC will finally get to show somebody who's ok with passing the torch." The joke was O'Brien's only direct acknowledgement of The Tonight Show during the monologue, but as he put it, "I allowed myself one, but it was a good one."
All things considered, it was a little joke and an amusing nod to the situation. It got a big laugh from the Conan audience, and unsurprisingly so, as fans surely haven't forgotten that Conan O'Brien was the first to succeed Jay Leno on The Tonight Show a few years back. The short version of the story is that Leno left The Tonight Show in 2009 and Conan took over. NBC put Leno on at ten and then eventually when Conan's ratings weren't good, tried to shift everything back to the way it was, putting Leno back on The Tonight Show, resulting in O'Brien's exit from the Peacock, after which he eventually went on to host Conan on TBS. Given that Leno's (most recent) last episode of The Tonight Show was last night, it was as good a time as any for Conan to take a little dig at the situation while addressing other NBC coverage.
But Conan's episode wasn't about The Tonight Show, it was about The Walking Dead, as some of the cast -- Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Steven Yeun, Danai Gurira, Lauren Cohan-- appeared to talk about the series and have a bit of zombie fun with Conan. Here's Yeun and Lauren Cohan talking about Glenn and Dayl getting together, and then Reedus addressing the idea...
And here's the cast talking about how to deal with a zombie apocalypse. I love Danai's answer:
And among the goofy non-cast related segments, here's the ad for "ZOMB-EASE" the orthopedic shoes designed for zombies who need better arch and ankle support...
The full episode isn't online yet, but you can look out for it here. Meanwhile, if you want to see what you missed during The Tonight Show, check out the highlights, including Garth Brooks performances, celebrity appearances and Jay Leno's heartfelt goodbye here.