The red-headed funnyman has been part of the late-night TV scene for more than two decades, hosting “Late Night” for 16 years, briefly becoming host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” in 2009 as the replacement for Jay Leno, and then losing that job to Leno’s return, before hatching “Conan” on TBS in 2010.
He has hosted such events as TV’s Emmy Awards, but he is almost as well known as a writer for two of television’s longest-running shows — “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons” — after fine-tuning his talents as president of the Harvard Lampoon for two years.
Conan Christopher O’Brien is one of six children of Thomas Francis O’Brien, a physician, epidemiologist, and professor of medicine at Harvard, and Ruth O’Brien, a lawyer and retired partner at the Boston firm Ropes & Gray.
At Brookline High, he was managing editor of the school newspaper, won a national writing contest, and was valedictorian in 1981. While at Harvard, he met his future boss at NBC, Jeff Zucker, who was president of The Harvard Crimson.
O’Brien is known for his quirky, off-beat humor, which took time to catch on with the public. One of his more famous quotes: “My favorite comedy is comedy where nothing is achieved and there is no point.”