With virtually 30 full years since its debut, Late Night time with Conan O’Brien has formally been canonised within the historical past of late night time tv. It was an unlikely feat, particularly because the present (and O’Brien) have been rising from the shadow of the earlier host of the Late Night time franchise, David Letterman. When O’Brien first took the stage on September thirteenth, 1993, Letterman nonetheless loomed massive with each the general public and the Late Present itself.
The truth is, O’Brien’s present appeared defensive in regards to the comparisons instantly, with its first gag on its first-ever episode clowning on O’Brien for being an unknown comedy author and emphasising the strain that got here with following Letterman. The in any other case cheery bit comes with a reasonably darkish punchline, indicating that though Letterman had stepped away, the subversive streak that made Late Night time so watchable would proceed with O’Brien on the helm.
It took some time for O’Brien to settle in and discover his voice, whereas essential assessments of O’Brien’s atypical strategy to internet hosting have been largely dismissive at first. Barely twitchy and clearly uncomfortable taking the reigns of the present, O’Brien would want a while to completely embrace his gawky and absurd strengths. However a few of these traits could possibly be seen instantly, as was the case when O’Brien welcomed his first-ever visitor John Goodman.
Goodman had lately accomplished work on The Flintstones and was ostensibly there to market it, however his position because the present’s first visitor was strategic as effectively. Goodman had appeared on Saturday Night time Reside for the primary time as host in 1989, the identical period that featured O’Brien as one of many present’s writers. As a seasoned comedic actor with not less than a cursory earlier historical past with O’Brien, Goodman was a logical option to banter with the brand new host and play up a few of the sillier gags he had deliberate.
That included an over-the-top presentation of a medal for being the present’s first visitor, full with photographers and triumphant fanfares. At one level, O’Brien does a cutaway gag that leaves Goodman laughing in his seat, and his interview phase concludes with Goodman leg wrestling George Wendt. It’s a daft sounding premise on paper, however the sheer dedication to bodily comedy from each males makes brings the splendidly weird first interview of O’Brien’s profession to an finish.
Following Goodman, O’Brien additionally interviewed a 17-year-old Drew Barrymore, who had lately starred within the tv movie The Amy Fisher Story, and The Odd Couple star Tony Randall, who had made quite a few appearances on Letterman’s Late Night time previous to O’Brien’s run. O’Brien wouldn’t welcome his first musical visitor till the next episode, when the host launched an upstart British rock band by the title of Radiohead enjoying their then-recently re-released debut single, ‘Creep’.
Try the total first episode of Late Night time with Conan O’Brien down beneath.