Conan Christopher O'Brien (born April 18, 1963) is an Emmy-winning American comedian, writer and television personality best known as host of NBC's late-night talk/variety show Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
While attending Harvard, O'Brien was roommates with Damon Krukowski, who later became drummer for the indie band Galaxie 500. O'Brien had previously bought himself a drumkit, but had only recently given up playing it and instead earned his talent in playing the acoustic guitar. He lent it to Krukowski, whom he knew would get more use out of it. O'Brien's drum kit can be heard on many of Galaxie 500's early recordings.
From 1991 to 1994, O'Brien was a writer and producer for The Simpsons, credited as writer or cowriter of four episodes Of all the episodes he wrote while writing for The Simpsons, he considers "Marge vs. the Monorail" to be his favorite. Years later, in his speech given at Class Day at Harvard in 2000, O'Brien credited The Simpsons with "saving" him, a reference to the career slump he was experiencing prior to his hiring for that show. As of 2004, Conan's office at The Simpsons was being used as storage.
Conan ad libbed the fictional website name "hornymanatee.com" on December 4, 2006, after a sketch about the fictional manatee mascot and its inappropriate web-cam site. NBC opted to purchase the website domain name for $159, since the website did not previously exist. The network was concerned that someone might register the domain name and post content with which NBC would not wish to be associated, or that people would get upset and sue NBC when they found out the website is fictional. NBC now owns the rights to www.hornymanatee.com for 10 years, as per Conan O'Brien. According to Conan, it was decided that, since NBC owned the name, they might as well create the website. Late Night has since developed an actual website, which now has received millions of hits, reaching 4 million page views in four days. People send in "horny manatee" artwork, poems, and other content. According to the Alexa website ranking system, Hornymanatee.com has had over 10 million web hits.
As of October 2006, Late Night with Conan O'Brien had for eleven years consistently attracted an audience averaging about 2.5 million viewers.
In 2006, Jay Leno named Conan as his replacement when he leaves the "Tonight Show" in 2009. Leno stated on the show that he had done this to avoid a repeat of the controversy and hard feelings that resulted when he was chosen by NBC to host the Tonight Show over David Letterman. According to speculation, NBC had asked Leno to do this so Conan, who was a vital asset to the network, wouldn't jump ship for a more lucrative offer. It was rumored that at the time of the announcement ABC was talking to Conan about possibly replacing Jimmy Kimmel.
In 2005, O'Brien appeared in The White Stripes' music video, "The Denial Twist". The band had previously been a week-long musical guest on Late Night when they were promoting their 2003 album, Elephant.
On March 7, 2006, NBC announced that it had ordered a pilot episode for Andy Barker P.I., a new comedy which O'Brien was executive producer of, who also co-wrote the pilot. The show starred O'Brien's former sidekick Andy Richter. After several episodes and low ratings, the show was canceled.