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Conan O'Brien has done a lot since his days as a writer on The Simpsons, but audiences are always curious to hear about his time on one of primetime's most iconic network television shows. The late-night host recently fielded a couple questions about his stint on the Fox animated comedy, and revealed his favorite character in the franchise to write for.
Mr. Burns. You could make him as old as you wanted; there’s not a figure in history you could bring up who he didn’t know. Also, when you give a character unlimited wealth and unlimited cruelty, there’s no end to what they can have in their basement.
An excellent choice, wouldn't you agree?
When one is writing a story line for C. Montgomery Burns, there are few boundaries. Sure, The Simpsons can travel across America at the drop of a hat, but can they recall a time they fought Theodore Roosevelt, or have an early prototype of a man-powered airplane stashed away? The limitless amount of wacky stuff his character is capable of is why Conan O'Brien loved writing for him, and likely why Mr. Burns is featured on the show so often.
Conan O'Brien's days on The Simpsons helped further secure him a foothold in Hollywood, but also apparently helped him keep gaining ground and eventually become one of the longest running late-night hosts on television. O'Brien told Rolling Stone writing on the show helped give him a strong work ethic that carried onto his other projects.
At standard sitcoms or even Saturday Night Live, they write the material and then a couple of days later, it’s shot. At The Simpsons, you keep going, rewriting it three or four times before it even gets to the cast. The animations come back months later, and you’re still editing it. It taught me to keep going back at it — something can always be improved.
As far as other nuggets of wisdom Conan was willing to impart unto the world, he had a specific bit of advice for younger generations hoping to get a start in the business. O'Brien said folks should find ways to make themselves essential, and that he's sought to do that throughout his career. That's probably how he's managed to be on the late-night scene for all these years, even if things haven't always turned out the way he's wanted.
Conan is on TBS weeknights at 11:00 p.m. ET. It's an exciting time in television at the present, as lots of new shows are returning and premiering each and every day. Be sure to stay in the loop and head over to CinemaBlend's handy 2019 midseason premiere guide to see what TV shows are on the way.