When it comes to celebrity success stories, one of the most interesting is that of comedian Conan O’Brien. While most people know him from his brief performance on “The Tonight Show,” the truth is that his history on television and comedy goes back much further. Still, what many people don’t realize is that O’Brien had to fight his way to the top of the comedy business, and the odds weren’t always in his favor. Today, while he’s certainly been through a lot in the process, he’s beaten the odds and has his own popular late-night talk show titled “Conan.”
Conan O’Brien was born on April 18, 1963 in Brookline, Massachusetts to an Irish Catholic family. His interest in comedy started at a very young age, so it came as no surprise to anyone when he ended up going to Harvard University and becoming a writer for his sketch comedy titled “Not Necessarily the News.” While attending Harvard, he was also president of the “Harvard Lampoon.”
His entry into the television business was not easy. It took him years to get involved, despite his best efforts. However, by 1987, he had become a writer for Saturday Night Live. He later went on to write for The Simpsons in 1991, where he enjoyed moderate success.
However, O’Brien’s real test came in 1993, when the surprise announcement was made that he was going to replace David Letterman as host of “Late Night” on NBC. Letterman had been well loved and respected as the host of the show for many years, so many were sad to see him leave. This, plus the fact that most people had never heard of Conan O’Brien before, made it difficult for many to accept him as the new host.
So it wasn’t much of a surprise when O’Brien’s new late-night talk show wasn’t very successful from the start. In fact, its ratings suffered so much that television producers considered taking it off the air on more than one occasion. However, not knowing who to replace him with, they gave him a little more time to prove himself.
After about three years of “Late Night” being hosted by O’Brien, the show finally began to gain attention and a more positive outlook. People were starting to embrace O’Brien’s self-deprecating, lunatic humor, which is now a staple of most of his monologues. He continued to host “Late Night” until 2009, when he was finally offered the spot to replace Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show,” a long-standing dream O’Brien had since Carson drove it.
Again, O’Brien’s “Tonight Show” ratings weren’t favorable at first, and NBC didn’t give him much time to improve. Leno ended up taking over from the show several months later, leaving many thinking O’Brien would be out of the game forever. However, he has since launched a very successful late night show on the TBS network, and the ratings have been high since his debut.