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Whenever I am asked who my favorite of the late night talk show hosts is, my answer, without hesitation, is always Conan O’Brien. However, it appears that I am going to have to change my answer, because after nearly 11 years, the 58-year-old, four-time Emmy-winning host has ended his self-titled talk show on TBS and, with it, his 28-year run on late night television. Yet, fans of the comedy icon’s brazen wit and unmistakable hairdo need not worry, because there are still more Conan O’Brien TV shows to look forward to, and other fun things he is involved with, such as this new program I am sure will earn HBO Max a new slew of subscribers.
Conan’s Untitled HBO Max Comedy/Variety Show (TBA)
The last episode of Conan aired on TBS on Thursday, June 24, 2021 - months after host Conan O’Brien announced that he would be leaving the basic cable network he has called home since November 2010. However, he will still be under the Warner Media umbrella when his next show drops on HBO Max, which his travel series Conan Without Borders has called its the exclusive streaming home.
Details are scarce about what to expect from this upcoming program or even when it be available to stream on HBO Max, but it is being described as a weekly variety series featuring his signature brand of comedy. This will be the fourth iteration of Conan O’Brien’s career as a TV host following his aforementioned TBS show, his 16 years as the host of Late Night, and seven months with The Tonight Show on NBC.
Like some of the other programming he was involved with on TBS, Conan O’Brien will also be working for HBO Max from behind the scenes. The former writer for Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons is serving as a producer for a TV pilot coming to the streaming platform.
The show, from Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet writers Aaron Brownstein and Simon Ganz, is called Gumshoe, which will follow a naive young cop who forms an unlikely alliance with a teenager obsessed with true crime. The comedy, also starring Philippa Soo of the Hamilton cast, will be the latest scripted series produced by Conan O’Brien’s company Conaco, which was also behind TBS originals, the short-lived People of Earth and the animated sci-fi comedy Final Space, as well as the crime procedural spoof Eagleheart for Adult Swim.
Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend
When you are not watching Conan O’Brien (or the content he produces) on television, you can hear his voice from wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Since November 2018, the comedian - joined by his longtime assistant Sona Movsesian and producer Matt Gourley - has hosted the audio interview show Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, which is staged as a desperate attempt for him to have a more fulfilling social life, but is really a fulfilling, and fun, excuse for him to converse with celebrities longer than his talk shows have previously allowed.
As of July 4, 2021, there have been 133 episodes of the podcast (produced by Team Coco in association with Earwolf) with two-time Academy Award-winning actor and filmmaker Sean Penn appearing on the most recent installment. However, that does not include the latest bonus addition to the series, dubbed Conan O’Brien Needs a Fan, in which O’Brien invites non-celebrity admirers of his to be his guests.
Show Business Is My Life (But I Can’t Prove It): A Film About Gary Mule Deer (2021)
When you are not watching Conan O’Brien on television or listening to him on Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, there are other places you will be able to see him. The beloved host will be appearing in a number of projects as a featured commenter, such as this upcoming film.
Show Business Is My Life (But I Can’t Prove It): A Film About Gary Mule Deer is a documentary focusing on the life and career of Gary C. Miller, a comedian known better as Gary Mule Deer, who has appeared in some of the best ‘70s movies (namely Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke, and1977’s Annie Hall) and TV shows like Nash Bridges with Don Johnson. Conan O’Brien is one of several notable talking heads to be featured in the doc (now in post-production), including fellow comics like Steve Martin and Carrot Top, country music artists Vince Gill and Amy Grant, and even O’Brien’s Tonight Show predecessor (and successor) Jay Leno.
Turn Every Page (2021)
As a graduate of Harvard University who has also been known to have people who exist outside of the entertainment industry on his shows, it should be understood that Conan O’Brien’s life is not completely consumed by comedy. Take, for example, his involvement as a talking head in another documentary expected to come out in 2021 that deals with more serious subject matter.
Pulitzer Prize winning writer Robert Caro and his longtime editor Robert Gottlieb are the subjects of Turn Every Page, a new profile of their many collaborations during the past 50 years and the challenges they faced to produce their most recent and most anticipated project. According the film’s official website, the doc (directed by Gottlieb’s daughter, Lizzie) will feature commentary from the likes of actor Ethan Hawke, former United States president Bill Clinton, and, of course, Conan O’Brien.
While attending Harvard University, when he was not serving as the President of the legendary satirical magazine The Harvard Lampoon, Conan O’Brien was a student of history. A prominent figure he looks up to is John F. Kennedy, whom he has been known to imitate on his shows from time to time. I wonder if his impression is what got him a spot on this docuseries.
According to Carmel Monthly Magazine, young musician and filmmaker Ashton Gleckman paid Conan O’Brien a visit at The Largo Theatre in Los Angeles (where he was filming Conan during the later days of the pandemic) for an interview about the 35th president for his upcoming six-part documentary on the subject. Kennedy, expected to be released in 2022, is narrated by E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial star Peter Coyote and will also feature comments from Star Trek movies actor Bruce Greenwood (who played John F. Kennedy in the film Thirteen Days) and the late politician's niece, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
I am the kind of fan who admires the work of Conan O’Brien enough that I will follow him pretty much everywhere he goes. Therefore, if his HBO Max show has not premiered first, you can probably expect me to seek out Turn Every Page and Kennedy when they are released.