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Ten Reasons to Love Conan O'Brien Besides His Show
The creator of Masturbating Bear has other talents.
By Amanda Green
Conan O'Brien's back, and I couldn't be happier — not that I'm planning to watch his show or anything. Here are ten reasons I'm with Coco that have absolutely nothing to do with guest stars, recurring sketches, or the String Dance.
1) He was stalked by a priest.
Anyone can be stalked by unhinged losers living in their parents' basements. Conan, the consummate Irish-Catholic, was stalked by Father David Ajemian of the Archdiocese of Boston. Apparently, the two went to Harvard at the same time. When Ajemian couldn't get tickets to Late Night, he snapped and began contacting Conan's parents, sending death threats, and trying to sneak into tapings. The wackjob eventually stood trial and went to jail. He's no longer a priest, but he probably doesn't mind. Coco was his real religion.
2) In college, he was the drummer in a band called The Bad Clams.
Save yourself some time, and don't look for any footage on YouTube; there isn't any. We can only close our eyes and imagine it.
3) He mixes it up.
What did Conan O'Brien do while he was on hiatus from television? You may have heard that he went on a thirty-city live tour. But he also decided to try something else new: releasing two records with the help of Jack White and his label Third Man Records. One featured Conan and the Legally Prohibited Band playing rock and rockabilly. The other was a spoken-word album in which Conan channeled Frankenstein. (We hear William Shatner liked it.)
4) He made a woman famous by following her on Twitter.
Conan O'Brien may not be the most popular person on Twitter, but 1.8 million followers are nothing to sneeze at. In March, Conan chose to randomly follow one person on Twitter. Nineteen-year-old Detroit college student Sarah Killen, a.k.a. @LovelyButton, was the lucky tweep. At one point, Killen's following was growing by 150 users every minute. She was all over the news, got a free computer among myriad other offers, and raised money for charity. Kanye West was taken by the story and tried to do the same thing in April. His sole Twitter followee, a British teenager named Steven Holmes, didn't want the attention.
5) He's got some of the funniest tweets ever.
Aside from the whole Twitter deity (Tweity?) thing, Conan O'Brien's hilarious tweets showcase his writing talent. He's more than just a physical comedian or television host. He's a talented, pithy writer, with tweets like, "This Halloween, I’ve hired Larry King to sit in a rocking chair on my front porch" and "The White House is proposing a way to spy on suspects while they're online. The plan is called 'Signing them up for Facebook.'"
6) He wrote "Marge vs. the Monorail," one of the best episodes of The Simpsons ever.
Conan O'Brien was a writer and producer for The Simpsons from 1990 to 1993, the show's golden age. It may not sound that impressive that he wrote a mere four episodes, but "Marge vs. the Monorail" is one of the highest-rated episodes in the series history. A monorail comes to Springfield and Marge is distrustful. Leonard Nimoy guest stars. Homer's muses, "Donuts: is there anything they can't do?" I wonder the same thing about Conan.
7) He'd appear on Finnish currency, if it still existed.
Celebrities can be annoying when they get political (ahem, Sean Penn). Not Conan O'Brien. In 2005, he pointed out his resemblance to Tarja Halonen, the first female president of Finland. Conan jokingly ran a series of fake ads endorsing Halonen for re-election. She won by 3% and invited the talk-show host on a trip to Finland. Conan agreed, but still reasonably demanded that his face be put on Finnish currency.
8) Tilda Swinton wants to play him onscreen.
Speaking of female doppelgangers: on the final episode of The Tonight Show, Conan O'Brien asked HBO to make a made-for-TV movie about the debacle starring Tilda Swinton as himself. The Academy Award-winning British actress said she'd take the role in a heartbeat. If Cate Blanchett can play Bob Dylan, why not?
9) He's a role model.
NBC really screwed Conan over when they tried to move the timing of The Tonight Show to accommodate Jay Leno. But in an age where celebrities are quick to lose their cool and burn bridges, Conan showed grace and dignity. He spoke his mind and showed America how to lose an unfair fight. On his final episode of The Tonight Show, Conan shared this advice: "Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism; for the record, it's my least favorite quality. It doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."
10) He's smarter than you, but you'd never know it.
Don't let Conan O'Brien's self-deprecation and awkwardness fool you. He knows exactly what he's doing. Sure, Conan's funny and relatable to the masses, but he's also super-smart. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. He wrote for and served as president of the esteemed Harvard Lampoon. His senior thesis covered Faulkner's use of symbolism. Whether we're playing Trivial Pursuit or beer pong, I want to be on Team Coco.