When it comes to celebrity success stories, one of the more interesting ones out there involves that of comedian Conan O’Brien. While most people know him from his short stunt at “The Tonight Show”, the truth is that his history in television and comedy dates back much further than that. Still, what many people do not realize is that O’Brien had to work his way to the top of the comedy business, and the odds were not always in his favor. Today, while he has certainly been through a lot in the process, he has beat the odds and has his own popular nighttime 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 began at a very young age, so it was no surprise to anyone when he ended up later on going to Harvard University and becoming a writer for their sketch comedy entitled “Not Necessarily the News”. While attending Harvard, he was also the president of the “Harvard Lampoon”.
His break into the television business was not an easy one. It took him years to get involved, despite his efforts, However, by the year 1987, he had become a writer for Saturday Night Live. He later moved on to write for The Simpsons in 1991, where he enjoyed moderate success.
However, O’Brien’s true test came in 1993, when the surprise announcement was made that he was going to be taking over for David Letterman in hosting “Late Night” on NBC. Letterman had been well liked and respected as a host of the show for many years, so many were sad to see him go. This, on top of the fact that most people had never even heard of Conan O’Brien before, made it difficult for many to accept him as the new host.
So it was not much of a surprise when O’Brien’s new late night talk show was not very successful right off the bat. In fact, his ratings suffered so much that the television producers considered taking him off the air on more than one occasion. However, not knowing who to replace him with, they gave him a little bit longer to prove himself.
After about three years of “Late Night” being hosted by O’Brien, the show finally started to gain attention and a more positive outlook. People were beginning to embrace O’Brien’s lunatic and self depreciating humor, which is now a staple of most of his monologues. His continued to host “Late Night” until 2009, when he was eventually offered the spot to take over for Jay Leno in “The Tonight Show”, a long standing dream that O’Brien had ever since Carson hosted it.
Again, ratings for O’Brien’s “Tonight Show” were not favorable at first, and NBC did not give him much time to improve. Leno ended up taking back over for the show several months later, leaving many to think that O’Brien would be out of the game for good. However, he has since launched a very successful late night show of his own on the TBS network, and ratings have been high since its debut.