January 20th, 2010
11:17 PM ET

Transcript: Conan O'Brien's January 20 monologue

Below is a transcript of "The Tonight Show" opening monologue from January 20th:

Hello, I’m Conan O’Brien, sorry if I’m a little late…I had a job interview at Lady Foot Locker.

I should have known something was up when NBC sent me that 2010 calendar that only went up to January.

Over the past week, ratings for the “Tonight Show” are up by 50%. When NBC executives heard this they told me, “See, you really don’t fit in around here.”

This whole experience has been so surreal. I never thought I’d be jealous of the long, illustrious run that NBC gave “Joey.”

It’s been reported that before I agree to a final settlement with this network I want to make sure NBC takes care of my staff. At first they thought I was gullible – they said the staff would be taken to a big farm where they’d be allowed to run free forever.

On Friday, Northwestern University is holding a “Conan O’Brien Day” where a group of students will gather on campus and do the string dance. Then the football team will beat the crap out of them.

I’ve been having a hard time explaining this whole situation to my kids – because they’re still very young. So I had a doll made of myself – and now I can show my kids EXACTLY where NBC touched daddy.

Believe it or not, there are stories in the news. There was a big Senate race in Massachusetts yesterday, and the winner, Scott Brown, made a victory speech where he mentioned that his two daughters were “available.” At least this explains his campaign slogan: “Scott Brown: Creepy for Massachusetts – Creepy for America.”

Earlier this week in California, a goat somehow got into a strip club and caused $2,000 worth of damage. Then it got up on stage – and earned all that money back.

Madonna has been consulting doctors about conceiving another child at the age of 51. After examining her, the fertility doctors all say the same thing to Madonna – "What the hell happened to that thing?"

I’ve been trying to look on the bright side and make the best of a tough situation. Even though I had this job for only 7 months, in the world of entertainment, that’s actually a pretty long time In fact, I came up with a list of things in Hollywood that lasted less than 7 months:

-Kid Rock’s marriage to Pamela Anderson: 5 months

-Popularity of the “Leave Britney Alone Guy”: 4 months

-Ed Hardy T-shirts being cool, not tacky: 5.5 months

-The plot of “Lost” being vaguely comprehensible: 3 months.

-Joan Rivers’ 17th face: 6 weeks.

-Interest in Denise Richards’ side of the story: 18 hours.

-Gary Busey’s love affair with an Encino parking meter: 44 days.

-Lindsay Lohan’s first and third stints as a lesbian: 3 months & 5 months.

-The Masturbating Bear’s disappearance from the airwaves: 6 months 29 days....

Filed under: Late Night comedy

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Jessica*

    @ Frannie – Yes! Craigy is the best!!

    I didn't say Leno is always funnier, I said last night he was funnier. Conan's monologue wasn't funny.

    January 21, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Becky Hare

    Leno retired his spot on the Tonight Show. It was given to the rightful predecessor, Conan. I understand that Leno's 9:00 ratings have hurt NBC's 10:00 news. You've got to figure it was the ripple effect that also hurt Conan's ratings. I was a Leno loyalist when he had the Tonight Show. However, I always liked Conan in the late night slot and love him as the Tonight show host. I think it is very unfair for Leno to now decide to take it back. I have no intentions of watching the Tonight Show when he returns. I have lost all respect for him, not to mention NBC. I will resort to Letterman until Conan resurfaces. I hope FOX picks him up and he kills Leno and NBC's ratings!

    January 21, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Frannie

    Sod the lot of them and bring Craig Ferguson on earlier!

    January 21, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. d1120

    I'm glad I go to bed at 10 p.m.

    January 21, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chad

    I've got one for his showbiz popularity.

    Amount of time Conan O'Brien was actually funny: Never.

    A Madonna Vag joke? Really? Is that still funny? Is it still 1992?

    And someone, anyone, please explain to me how a masturbating bear is funny? It's juvenile.

    January 21, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. KarenB central Florida

    under the circumstances, keep chin up, take the money and be glad they didn't find a way to get out of that!

    January 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Victor

    Let's be honest. Jay did not fail with the Tonight Show. In fact he was #1 up to his retirement. NBC took him out of the Tonight Show because they didn't want to lose Conan, just like they didn't want to lose Dave when they had to pick between him and Jay.

    However, I believe, like Rosie O'Donell, that Jay is kind of being classless here. If his show failed it was because NBC tried to do something no one had tried before, eliminate a whole hour of prime time scripted shows and substitute it with a late night type show. This was a moronic move on their part, but we all know what geniuses those NBC execs are. Jay should have accepted his show wasn't working and stepped back into retirement with his head held high. However that is not what he did, he made sure that Conan would quit by not telling NBC to go hang themselves when they made the 11:35pm half hour show offer. He should have placed himself in Conan's shoes. Would he have moved the Tonight Show back to 12:05am if he was the host or would he agree with Conan in seeing that moving the Tonight Show would just do irreparable harm to that franchise?

    Jay, you may take back the Tonight Show, but the way it was done was dirty and it will leave a stain on your legacy. I wonder how you would have felt if Johnny had come out of retirement and made NBC kick your sorry butt out on the street.

    Then again, we all know that would never have happened. Johnny has always been classy, unlike Jay.

    January 21, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. vette gal

    Whine, whine, whine....that seems to be all Conan does really well.

    It is his choice to leave; NBC was willing to move his show to a different time slot. Networks do this all the time with shows whose ratings are not as high as they should be. He, of course, was unwilling to do this because his ego is so large. Unfortunately, most people have forgotten or chose to ignore this fact and, therefore, feel sorry for Conan. Right! Sorry for the guy that wouldn't admit his show was doing badly in the ratings, wouldn't move to a different time slot to keep the show that he so admires (or so he says), and walks away with $40,000,000.

    Personally, I'm glad he's leaving. His humor is lame just like him.

    January 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chloe

    I can not believe this has actually happened. I have looked forward to seeing Conan for a long time. I live in France, and unfortunately we can only watch The Tonight Show to stay connected to our television American pop culture. I have stayed up super late week after week just to be amused by Conan. I find Jay Leno so boring and not funny. I only hope that wherever Conan goes, the station will think of brodcasting worldwide.

    January 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. V. Reynauld, Virginia Beach, VA

    @My O My: Conan "did his best" and is "hysterical", yet he couldn't bring his entire 12:35am audience over to the tonight show or ever break 2.5 million viewers? The belief that he did his best and he's a great comic is the only thing hysterical.

    I find it hilarious that he signed away all rights to the potty humor skits that brought his viewers. He's got NOTHING now and he expect us to feel sorry for him because he got a 33 million dollar settlement? If he gets another night show gig anywhere, I'll be amazed.

    January 21, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  11. brenda

    jessica, it's ENTERTAINMENT, not CNN. but if you like jay leno, you obviously don't really know what entertainment is, so i'll cut you some slack.

    jay is a hack (which is sad to say, because he was a great stand-up in the 70s and 80s), and now he's trying to act like he's not the bad guy... just like he did back when he screwed over letterman, which everyone seems to have forgotten about. read 'the late shift.' if it weren't accurate that would be called libel/slander and leno would've sued, but he didn't.

    and yes, conan IS bitter and should be! how would you feel if you moved your family and staff 3500 miles away based on promises made to you by your employer and then your employer decided to get rid of you to make room for someone who failed at their job?

    January 21, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bronson

    I would rather have Arsenion Hall instead of either those two. Neither were particularly topical or interesting.

    January 21, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. heresjohnny

    I find Jaywalking far more amusing than a masturbating bear...In fairness, Conan's audience is not going to sit down every night at 11:30 and watch TV (like Leno fans have and will). Does NBC really think that their precious target demographic of 'young people' settles in before midnight, if then? Conan late night was in his (and his viewers) element.

    January 21, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. Andi

    Conan has two more days on the air, I think he's entitled to talk about anything he wants. He could get a bottle of Jack and sit at his desk drinking for an hour and he'd still be funnier than "Jay-walking". Conan has earned it.

    January 21, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. My O My

    You did your best, Conan! Regardless of what they say, you deserved better, and you are hysterical.

    @Jessica – Don't worry. Jay will be back soon with more of the same mind-numbing drivel that has placated your moral sensibilities for so long. NBC is terribly sorry for thinking that audiences might be at least somewhat progressive. I'd say give it at least 1 to 2 years, and Jay will begin making jokes about his denture cream, Medicare, and AARP card.

    January 21, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  16. dworm

    Sorry to see him go. He was just getting his groove. I like Leno but he should gracefully step aside. Conan deserves much more.

    January 21, 2010 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  17. Holly

    Well, since NBC basically gave Conan a job and then said 'Hey, remember that contract you signed that binds you to do your show every night? Yeah well, it doesn't apply to us and we changed our minds, sorry!' I'd say he's doing very well for basically being the "underdog" of NBC late night. I loved his show from tonight, especially when he said that since he only has so little time left he can do whatever he wants... and NBC has to pay for it. That was pretty priceless.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:39 am | Report abuse |
  18. Mike

    his job is not to tell the news.... its to be funny and entertain... if his ratings are up 50% then he is obviously doing his job very well..

    personally im watching to see exactly what he has to say about it

    January 21, 2010 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
  19. Jessica

    Sounds like someone is bitter. Sadly, Leno's monologue was funnier tonight.

    Yes we all want to know what's going on in Conan's world – but he's right there is news out there and we'd rather hear that then just the same "I'm being screwed" thing over and over.

    Even though it does totally suck that he is being screwed – there is still a job to be done.


    January 20, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |

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