Below is a transcript of "The Tonight Show" opening monologue from January 22:
Ladies and Gentleman, we have exactly one hour to steal every single item in this studio.
We’ve a had a lot of fun being here these last 7 months, but like everything in life, the fun has to come to an end a decade too early.
The terms of my settlement say that I can’t host another show for 7 months. So next week look forward to the “Andy Richter show” with his sidekick, me!
As I set off for exciting new career opportunities, I just want to make one thing clear to everyone listening out there: I will do nudity.
Now that this mess is almost behind me – I just have one last request: HBO, when you make the movie about this whole NBC late night fiasco, I’d like to be played by Academy-Award winning actress Tilda Swinton.
People have been asking me what’s going to happen to our studio after we’re gone.
There are actually a few possible uses for our studio being kicked around. I thought I’d share some of the ideas with you right now:
-Site of Tiger Woods’ 1st Annual Mistress Reunion
-Fitting room for cast of “The Biggest Loser”
-Storage facility for apology notes to NBC stockholders
-Waterpark for Max Weinberg’s illegitimate children
-Hair and chest oil storage for the “Jersey Shore” cast
-Future site of “Cooters”, the nation’s first pants less sports bar and restaurant
-Studio preserved as a nice, quiet, peaceful place where the cast of “Chuck” can be alone with their thoughts
-Magician David Blaine will attempt the impossible by trying to remain in the studio for longer than seven months
-Leave the studio cold and empty and re-name it “The World’s Largest Metaphor For NBC Programming”
-Panic room for Gary Busey after the rise of the fire hydrants
-Studio will be air-lifted to a location with better luck, like on top of a native-American burial ground
It's hard to feel too sorry for Conan with his 45 million–and I've never been a real fan but I still think NBC execs, really, what were you thinking?
We have loved Late Night with Conan since the early nineties. The Tonite Show was never the same once Johnny Carson retired and Leno took over. Leno was ok, but lacked the much needed smarter, cutting edge humor that Conan has. I agree with another poster on this site – Conan is much more like Johnny Carson than Jay. I totally disagree that Conan is not as good an interviewer than Jay. Conan shows so much more respect and interest to his guests than Leno ever has. Plus, Leno has sort of evolved into this creepy "dirty old man" persona over the last few years. In fact, we quit watching him probably 2.5 years ago. We know CoCo will return!! Bigger and better than before. And really, how much longer before Leon will retire, for good, anyway. He has outlived his usefulness on the Tonite Show!!!
Conan, you are indeed a stand-up guy. Your monologue on Friday set a new standard for proper conduct under a difficult situation. Carson couldnt have done it better. You are correct; if you try hard and are a nice person, invariably good things will come. Sail on Conan.
What is with NBC today?
I called the main number and all I got was the message:
"Something is terribly wrong, weasels have taken over the office, ignauas have eaten our phone system, all representatives are busy fighting off the weasels. Goodbye"
At least the message is truthful.
Jay Lenno killed the tonight show long ago. I liked Conan before his move but my interest in the tonight show just died. By the way NBC, yes I belong to the demographic group with the largest amount of disposable income.
I love the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. I just love the guy and he is hilarious. He keeps me company every 6AM when replays are aired on cable here in our city. I just hope he can find another network in September so we can enjoy more of him. Good luck Conan! I know with your talent in hosting you'll be working again.
You summed it up pretty good brian, if leno was a stand up guy he could have helped find a solution to this mess.Instead he just sat back knowing that he was getting the tonight show back,pretty self serving. As for the haiti thing,truly tragic as was new orleans,however this has nothing to do with either event. As we speak huge sums of money are being donated worldwide, spent correctly these people would have it better than they ever have. As for conan giving up his settlement to haiti, the people making remarks like that should empty their bank accounts as well for the cause. Not likely to happen.
Nope. Still not funny.
Conan was never that funny in his old slot so it came as no surprise that he really was awful as Tonight Show host. If Leno had decided to retire, NBC would still have had to fire Conana with his lousy ratings and God awful show. My neighbor's pet gerbel is funnier than Conan; so is watching paint dry/
Everyone who judges Conan for receiving those millions.. I bet they wouldn't be saying a single word if they were in his position. If Conan has the ability to receive that sum of money, then YES..he should take it. The green, pathetic shade of jealousy is no ones shade so stop criticizing him for making a living! Also, I love the fact that Jay, who apparently to some of you is funnier and classier, does not have a following nearly as loyal and creative as Conan's. Doesn't that say something??? Conan's speech at the end of his last show was heartbreaking. No one can say that he doesn't care about the Tonight show.. That man exudes pride for his work and will do it his way. Too bad mediocre America, which is the mass majority of NBC affiliates apparently, can't look past their contempt for creativity to see what they are missing. Conan wanted to have fun on television and he will do it...on a network that appreciates him. I hope he goes to the same time slot as Leno so that he can whip the floor with him. :)
I will miss Conan, who was more down to earth than Jay Leno. I will not watch the Tonight Show ever. I think Jay is a pompous ass. I will watch Jimmy Kimmel or anyone else but Jay. NBC is bunch of losers.
Freedman is taking this way too seriously. Great use of your thesaurus.
NBC's problem is that they want to lock up the best hosts so they have bargaining leverage (if Jay leaves, Conan can replace him) as well as less competition on other networks. They promised Conan stuff and are paying him big bucks for breaking those promises and for keeping quiet about it, lest nobody trust NBC's promises ever again. If NBC knew what to do they wouldn't be last in the ratings and have five hours to fill for the rest of the season.
I would like to see a longer monolouge. Maybe an hour? A whole show of monolouge and crazy segments. Even if the quality is not 100%. The best writers on current events. I don't really care for the interviews. I think that everyones favorite part is the beginning. Anyway.
conan finally got his humor back once he got pissed and let himself go. eventually rating would have been good but NBC tried to hard to control him. now they are free from each other they will be good. conan should not disappear he should keep in the eye of his fans. in the mean time maybe use 3million to produce a movie about south los angeles. be a producer beat nbc at there own game. email me got script will hire coco crew if they are available to make movie.
Haiti Haiti Haiti... It's a shame that we won't even take care of our own less-fortunate, but choose to throw our money outside of our economy instead of investing in our own economy to help our own homeless.
Regardless.. Conan should not have lost the Tonight Show. NBC made a mistake in the way they handled it. If Leno is such a big draw, then Leno would have done fine where he was.
Conan is not funny. It is not because am not American or English speaker that I am not getting his jokes – trust me, I tried so hard to put them in perspective and tried so hard to understand them. But I have tried this so many times and found out that he is not funny at all. Not funny to me. Am glad some people find him funny though – good for them. I do not find Conan funny. On the other hand, Leno is funny. He is funny may be because he just tells the jokes without thinking how we will react, and he gets a laugh. If not, he does not seem to bother. And most of Leno jokes are mainstream and normal and laughable. He is smarter and makes real annoying situation funny. And that is a gift I think. I am not a big crazy fan of Leno but I think I would prefer he gets the job than Conan. Am glad Conan got the money though...
I like Conan. Best of Luck. Maybe you can do the "Tonite Show" [alternate spelling to avoid Copyright infringement] in another dimension in a different time spot in a galaxy far away so as to have the signal reach us at exactly 11:30 PM ET !
Good luck with Tilda Swinton playing ur part
The truth is that Conan could not pull off those ratings that Leno had – pure and simple – he had NO chance against Letterman. Those are the facts. NBC was stupid for messing up a good thing i.e. Leno at 11:35 RULED that time slot – let's not ever forget that, that is a FACT – it's hard to beat that with with Conan's "masturbating bear" sketches that is really for the Late late night. That is one of the reasons I didn't care for the Tonight Show with Conan, but I did watch Leno. The only reason Conan starting to get higher ratings is b/c of this mess that NBC cooked up – not b/c Tonight Show content started to improve...
His talent just could not pull it off pure and simple so he's gotta go. Nothing personal – just business. But something is telling me that with 45 mil. for like 14 months of work is lot sweeter deal than Leno has in the end...
Why are some of you bringing up Haiti in your posts? What does Haiti have to do with late night television on NBC and Conan's buyout?
Regardless, Conan will be missed by NBC. It's just that the peacock execs don't know it yet. They are too smitten with themselves and their titles to notice what is real and what is fantasy. By the way, if they have $45-million to throw around, why aren't they donating to Haiti? (Thought I'd toss that in to illustrate the irrelevancy of Haiti to late-night TV.)
I wish they would have just fired Jimmy Fallon and gave the show back to Conan until Jay retires on his own terms.........Jimmy looks awkwardly uncomfortable out there sometime. He is always terrible in his monologue and has no sense of delivery. He was a funny actor, and probably just a funny guy, but hosting a show is different from just being funny, especially when you are reading the jokes. Which is where Jimmy seems to get awkward, especially when a joke fails, he just fails with it and he needs to learn to deal with that better and recover the joke with something of his own, something Conan was brilliant at. Lose Fallon, bring back Conan, it's not like NBC and Conan's production company have completely severed ties.
Conan show is the best show in the world. I love his show. He is so deserved to take Tonight show host. No one can deny about it. Obviously, NBC is such a dummy network I have ever seen. They have no idea about Show business. Rating is matter? Then, Grab Conan!!!
Truthfully, I'm not a big fan of Conan, but I have watched him enough to recognize that he's a pretty funny guy. And, I'd watch an entire season of his show before I'd watch a half hour of Leno; I don't get what anyone sees in "the Chin."
We will miss you in latinAmerica Sr. Conando.......
Conan was the better man in this one. He would have made 80 million if he stayed. Half the pay isn't the same as the whole thing. He also loses his dream job. The job HE was promised by NBC. They reneged just like they did to Letterman. I wonder what Leno has on NBC that makes it so easy for him to get what he wants. Why is he the bad guy? because he's funnier looking than he is funny and his attitude is "I'm the victim" when really he's the one getting the sweet deal.
Had conan kept the ratings up,this would never happen,his show is boring,but Id rather watch him than that old fart letterman,welcome jay leno!
Their loss. The network is filled with short-sighted people. You will have the last laugh and we will all be laughing with you. Looking forward to years of brilliance. Keep writing!
I did not watch much Conan, but I do not watch much Leno, Letterman or Falon either. I liked Conan's sense of humor, and I did watch his last show. I think he went out in very high style. And, I say shame on those who took his jokes seriously enough to actually spew out hatred against him. Apparently neither Conan nor Leno will ever be able to lighten all the people's lives all the time, but at least some of the people some of the time. And for all you hardballers out there who don't know that they were trying to make your lives a little happier, please go out and buy the best of Carson, he always lightened everyone's lives all the time. Conan was more a Carson than Leno, and I am a car guy saying that. Let's wish Conan another gig soon.
In spite of all the bull you managed to pull off one last Heartfelt (yet funny)! show comically I Think your a genius and your parting remarks were very nice! the network was stupid in letting you go but you showed restraint and I Believe Respect, I Look forward to your future career one request Dont get Naked... you are just too pale
Farewell Sailor May the Wind ever be at your Back
How many people at work did you make smile? In fact if you didn't go to work; would anyone miss you (not co-workers)? Thats the Entertainment field and 45 Million is a nice fair number. Good for you Conan.
Now I have no humor to look forward to before I go to bed at night. I used to look forward to it because waking up to go make minimum wage is not fair. I need a change and certainly Obama ain't doing it.
When you were first on at 2 AM complaining about no one up to watch you, I was sitting on my cornflower blue couch bonding on your Cooper insight. I was up nights writing on my computer, an Apple screen monitor box. Eventually I put my stuff on a computer hooked into internet and my stuff got towered by GE. I think you are funny and I'm glad you're also now rich. Letterman has to account for his longevity...bite me GE?? I'll stay with J.
Well we won't be watching NBC any more. Our entire family, 5 generations, decided that a network run like a bunch of weasel lawyers do not deserve our attention.
NBC is dumb. Leno is a boob. If he was so good at 11:30 why was a he a total failure at 10PM?
As I've been saying for two weeks. DUMP Conan, Keep Jay. NOW, I wonder how long Jay's contract is and what buyouts he will have. HOWEVER, I relish the day he knocks Letterman back on the trash heap he crawled out from. Boy, do I feel sorry for Harry having a father like that slimeball creep.
Come on, Conan had seven months to get an audience and he failed to get the ratings he needed. What about all those other shows that get axed in six weeks or less? I am sure they would have loved to received seven months. He was handed a franchise, had very good initial ratings but could not hold his audience. Conan lovers out there need to realize that being more popular doesn't mean that you are better, but in television terms it means money. Jay Leno is more popular and gets higher ratings which makes all the affiliates happy. Remember the local stations were seeing a big drop in revenue. Regarding the buyout, that is just plain obscene. Conan himself needs a reality check. He was given a great shot but didn't make it. It happens all the times in sports, television and business. Accept it, move on and stop complaining and blaming. If people actually watched him in sufficient numbers he would still be there. Too bad, so sad. Enjoy your 45 million or whatever.
I think Conan was the funniest man of late night. My parent don't agree, they just don't seem to get his humor, they are more of the Leno fans. Different generations, different points of view. I miss the old line up with Leno followed by Conan as well. I will look forward to what ever Conan does in the future (except the nudity) !
The best part of Jay Leno is his chin..... and the issue with NBC is that now that Leno will take back the Tonight Show the ratings will continue to fall, but no worries, they will pay Leno 50 million in 6 Months or risk losing television advertising Great Job NBC!!!!!
NBC did a terrible and costly mistake to negotiate 5 years ahead of time with Conan. Afraid he was going to leave for another network, NBC offered O’Brien a deal that turned out detrimental for the network. You don’t cease something when it is at its best. Jay Leno was doing great and NBC should have waited until his retirement-day with The Tonight Show; Conan would have gotten it and flourish.
What I want to know is this: He dropped the ball, the ratings dropped, and quite frankly, his humor is sophomoric. So why didn't NBC simply cancel the show for poor ratings, like they do with so many other shows, and then "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" goes away, and NBC fills that time slot with a new show, something like "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Again"?
You're one of the funniest guys on television. Good Luck Conan!
I never watched Conan, somehow I never connected with his "humour". I personally find him dull and uninspired. However, I am NOT in support of this stunt by NBC. Jay Leno finished his stint as host of "The Tonight Show" and chose another opportunity. He failed to make anything of his new show (in fact it was a downright letdown). Now, for him to just walk back and shove Conan aside has caused me to lose all respect for Leno AND NBC. No one I know will be watching the Tonight Show, somehow it's lost its place .. it will never be the classy, wonderful show it was under Carson. Leno will now effectively smash it into the ground. Boo! Jay Leno... you have $800 Million, retire with grace.
Not funny, not funny at all. I guess that's why he's leaving.
I can't believe they're replacing the talented Conan O'Brien with Jay Leno who hasn't told an original joke or done any innovative comedy in 16 years. I guess that says a lot about the quality of people watching tv.
NBC made a BIG mistake. Conan is the best. His talk show is the only one worth watching. Leno's show is perfect for the Middle America crowd with its "family circle" humor.
Good riddance. Conan was not funny & a spoiled brat. The question is was his temper tantrum over a 30 mins time slot real or orchestrated as a way to be paid to leave the show. $40 mil is a big chunk of change. HOWEVER, he is talentless and will never ride the crest of the wave he once did. Next year he will be fat, drunk and sitting on a beach for the rest of his life maybe doing spots in CHIPs movies
See ya on HBO, Conan!
Conan, just let us know where you're going. We'll be there.
I'd walk away all dignified if you paid me 40 million. Doesn't have to work another day in his life, unless he wants to catch up to Jay Leno's car buying spree.
I'd get rid of both of them and inject some young new blood onto the scene. $40 million, that's OBSCENE!!!!
Now you can go to Haiti Conan and help the people there.
Thanks Conan for mentioning us in your monologue. We'd love to open a pants less sports bar in your old studio!
My respect for Conan got a large boost last night. Class act, brother. Long may you run.
NBC has made a huge mess of this, what will happen in say 3 to 5 years when Jay is done, again. Who is going to take over the tonight show? Fallon? dont think so he has even a younger audience than Conan. Conan had 16 years of experience hosting a show. NBC has basically screwed them selves for the future. This may be a short term fix for ratings but not a long term one. Good luck Conan, you would have made an excellent long term host.
This is to all those people out there who didnt like Conans humour. Please go back and watch some of Carsons skits, they are closer to Conans then Jay Lenos lame jokes and pathetic attempt at humour any day. Don Rickles was on all the time and had would have had 75% of his comedy censored by todays standards. People just seem to forget. Jay please retire, take your wife out for dinner, she is lonely.
It's a great day for America, everybody!
Conan O'brien left the Tonight Show with dignity. His final remarks were as classy as could be considering the slamming he took from the NBC executives. Nice severance bonus but in my mind the best alternative to this senario would have been to ax Fallon. I watched his program for several minutes twice and never went back. Best solution would have been to restore NBC late night the way it was a year ago.
Too bad no on thought of that.
The network pulled the programs or rearranged them because of money pure and simple.
Johnny Carson was and always will be arguably the best.
Conan is not as funny as Jay. period. but the thing is when humor becomes a thing to make a living, it is not humor anymore.
Bottom line – Conan was not a good "Tonight Show" host. He was tentative, looked frightened, had a terrible delivery, and was a very weak interviewer.
Otherwise he was fine.
Is there reason any reason in the world Jay should've said I don't want a job after his 10 PM show was canceled? Are you in a position to turn down a job after being fired from your last one? NBC made the decision to get rid of Conan and bring Jay back to "Tonight.." Why is Jay being made out to be the bad guy?
NBC offered Conan the chance to begin the "Tonight Show" at midnight, but that wasn't good enough for him? Why? Maybe he figured he'd rather take the 40 mil. BTW, he made an excellent decision. I just can't understand why anybody feels bad for a guy who gets 40 mil in severance pay.
Conan will go on to have a great career...as a comedy writer. Hopefully, Jay will be able to once again have the late-night success he had formerly, despite the undeserved bad-mouthing he's getting in the press and from Letterman.
Maybe Dave should go back to concentrating on cheating on his wife and banging his interns (and then putting them on the air!). Then he can continue with his criticism of Jay.
When Johnny left, the Tonight Show became a thing of the past. No one has been able to recoup the flair, the penach, that came with him. When he took over from Jack Parr, he didn't get a warm welcome but worked his way into it. I haven't seen anyone else attack that chair in that way since. Leno and the rest just came in with what they already had and thought that was enough. NOT!
Well...does anyone see a similarity between this and the whole Favre retirement w/ Aaron Rogers – Oops I'm not fiasco?? I am not a Ted Thompson but respect him sticking to his guns....unlike NBC and Jay Leno. Grass isn't always greener on the other side and need to be responsible for your decisions. Like Rogers, Conan got the worse end of the ordeal – whether you think he is funny or not. I hope NBC rots, Leno fails (again) and I hope the Vikings and Favre lose!
This is pathetic. Here this "man" is wasting millions of dollars because his poor little ego is hurt because he got pushed out of a tv slot. Why can't he be a real man, heck , a real human being, and find some way to direct that money to a worthy cause...Uh, er, let's see, - Maybe some real victims, in Haiti, for instance? But, no, because he is a spoiled kid, he's decided that he is going to waste every penny that is left in his allotment. What a Jerk! Instead of his belly-aching and constant crying "poor me", "poor me" he should have searched for some ounce of self-respect and found some way to work through the maze of corporate red tape to donate that money to those who are in need. I have no respect at all for Conan O'Brien. I can't even look at anymore news about his situation for it is a shameful travesty.
never understood how he got this far...he was never funny.
Sometimes, as in most, true talent is overlooked and trampled on in show business. They'd rather take a small leap with a man who's basic bit is mediocre then a big one with a man that if you gave even half the chance would remodel the world of nightly programming to fit him. Jay has the older generation, but in ten years who's going to remember him? The baby boomers are retiring and a new crop of Conan-watching youths are going to be the most important for advertising and ratings. I respect people who leap before they look, but NBC... couldn't you hear the snapping of the croc's teeth before you took the ignorant plunge? Good luck Conan and see you soon!
What a mess has NBC created. Honestly, I don't think Conan's kind of humor suited The Tonight Show. Leno is more mainstream and will always have better ratings at the 11:35 time slot. I miss the old days when one could watch Leno and then Conan (with Andy!!!). I miss those staring contests.
Your still not funny!
NBC made a terrible mistake by keeping Jay Leno instead of Conan. NBC you do not seem to get it. Conan is much more talented than Leno; you didn't give the show the opportunity it deserved. Your ratings will go down with Leno.
Conan is funny, I like him and he will be back soon.
One more thing....Jay Leno is a big fat jerk!!!!
You will be missed. You know, after so many years of watching late nights, I think I'm going to retire as well. Its not going to be fun anymore without you Connando. I wish I could do it with 45mil but I guess 30,000 a year will do. Thank you for all the laughs.
Hmmmm. $45mil to leave. Most people, when they get fired, get COBRA, a modest severance package and that's it. No need to be concerned about Conan's future, eh?
Imagine the impact $45 mil could have on the resurrection of lives in New Orleans, Haiti, etc.
Is it September yet?
Conan's the best! But NBC did not think outside the box on this one. None of this would have happened if they replaced Richter with Triumph, the Insult Dog. That for sure would have helped the ratings!
Conan O`Brien was the reason I watched NBC at all. Whatever he did, it was worth watching. Without him, there is no reason to watch NBC anymore, at all. Thanx NBC...Conan, whatever you do next, just let us fans know, we will be watching.
True comedian. Outstanding sense of humor amidst confusion and turmoil.....
sorry to see you go, but NBC made a big mistake to put you there in the first place...one word..GREED....I wish you luck, with all you do in the future.
Conan's ratings are very high right now. But where were all these fans when he really needed them on the Tonight's Show?
Good ridance Cone Head! Good bye classless humour! Fly back to the planet from whence you came from. 7 months of pure rubbish. What a waste. And all of that gets a 40 million dollar reward.
Conan ended his short lived tenure in a very dignified fashion. Pretty classy of him to do so, wish him all the best. Fox has seven months to get a deal done and a studio ready, be very surprised not to see him there.
um that's a $40 million please-go-away settlement plus change, a huge chuck of which is his personal moolah to do whatever he wants with.
not $40,000 not $400,000 not $4,000,000 but $40,000,000
NBC may be run by weasels in suits.
Heck, most businesses may be run by weasels in suits.
Dante's Inferno, every major governmental and commercial enterprise may testify to the perdurable truism, that, well, biologically generated waste products rise to the top of the great bowl that is life, right there with the cherries.
But c'mon the kid is pretty smart and did all right by himself.
we will miss you Conan.. hope to see you soon on another show. oh and by the way first!!!
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