David Letterman Interviewing Conan O'Brien

LETTERMAN: Our first guest not only has his own late night talk show, he also has put out a very funny book.  I have a copy of it right here.  It's called “If They Mated” and a look at the cover will give you a general idea what it is about.  Do me a favour and welcome back to the big, blockbuster program... suddenly I'm Walter Cronkite. (Cronkite voice) Just back from Bosnia, Conan O'Brien!

(Conan comes out to the “Late Night” theme)

LETTERMAN: Conan, how the hell are you doing?

O’BRIEN: I'm doing real fine, thanks.

LETTERMAN: Happy Super Bowl weekend. How are all of our old friends over at NBC treating you?

O’BRIEN: Great. Things are going well.

LETTERMAN: This is a big weekend for you and your network because you're covering Super Bowl XXX. Are you involved in that at all?  I know they wanted everyone involved.

O’BRIEN: Yes. Our show is in our third season now, and I thought it was time to promote my show on the Super Bowl.

LETTERMAN: They didn't just give it to you? You had to buy time?

O’BRIEN: Exactly. I don't know if you're aware, but it's $1.3 million for thirty seconds of time on the Super Bowl.

LETTERMAN: Over a million bucks for a half minute commercial.

O’BRIEN: But I felt I had to buy time. We've been on for a while and it is time to go to the next level. I scraped up as much money as I could get together, Dave.

(Audience laughs)

I don't know why people are laughing. I find that offensive. I'm tired of being laughed at, Dave. I'm tired of being everyone's joke. But laugh away if you will. 

(Audience laughs)

I scraped together all my money and I, Conan O'Brien, bought time to promote my show on the Super Bowl.

LETTERMAN: Do we have that here?

O’BRIEN: Yes, this is what people will see when they watch Super Bowl XXX.

LETTERMAN: Roll it. Conan O'Brien's Super Bowl commercial.

(Conan is standing in front of an American flag)


(Audience laughs)

O’BRIEN: Thank you. Thank you very much.

LETTERMAN: That's very savvy of you to do that.

O’BRIEN: You know what it is?  It's not about time; it's about impact. People will see my fat Irish melon and think, "I don't know what this is, but I've got to watch that guy's show”.

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: (Dumb guy voice) What the hell's that? Cable's on the blink.

(Audience laughs)

(Normal voice) Conan, you're into your third year now.

O’BRIEN: We've done 45,000 shows.

LETTERMAN: That's some schedule.

O’BRIEN: Hard to believe, but it is true.

LETTERMAN: How are things going? What kind of feedback have you been getting? Are you settling in to the job?

O’BRIEN: I'm settled in. I'm liquored up every night. People like that. It's a more comfortable Conan.

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Got an open bar every night?

O’BRIEN: Open bar before the show.  It works. The first year, I was jittery and it bothered people, but it's better now.

(Audience chuckles)

LETTERMAN: So you're greased every night?

O’BRIEN: I'm drunk now, Dave.

(Audience laughs)

No, that's wrong.  You shouldn't applaud that. It's wrong. That's wrong when people do that. That's cheap and I feel bad about that. I apologise.

LETTERMAN: So when you go out now, what's the reaction?

O’BRIEN: You know, for a while there, it was outright hate, which I absorbed.

(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: I find that hard to believe.

O’BRIEN: I inspire hate in a lot of people. It's just a charm I have.

(Audience laughs)

For the first year, people weren't sure. "Who does this guy think he is?"  They tuned in at 12:30 and it wasn't you.  It was a bad scene, man, if I may use that term. Then, I'm finding now that people are more accepting, but I still get humbling experiences.

LETTERMAN: Like what?

O’BRIEN: I recently did a remote piece. We went to Cleveland to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Everyone in the world was at this thing. They have a line to get in. I'm going in to do my remote and people start signing autographs. It's a frenzy and I'm standing near these people, and people start asking me for my autograph. I'm thinking, "OK, fine." I start signing autographs and feeling good about myself, and I think, "I've arrived". We shoot the remote and it takes all day.  Everyone's left when we're leaving. I'm walking through the littered streets and I find my autograph in the gutter.

(Audience laughs)

"Best wishes, Conan O'Brien," in the gutter. 

(Audience laughs)

I'm thinking to myself, it's part of the frenzy, and a guy goes, "You! You! You!" and he gets the autograph and goes, "Eh!"

(Conan makes a tossing motion over his shoulder)
(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Do you know what you need? A Sousa March. 

(Band starts playing) 

We've got to do a commercial. We'll be back with Conan O'Brien.

(Return from commercials with Dave holding Conan’s book)

LETTERMAN: Conan, this book is a best seller, I believe?

O’BRIEN: (Laughs) Yeah... oh, yes. I don't know. I have no involvement in this, Dave.

LETTERMAN: “If They Mated”. This is an idea you had for your show. It is nearly
self-explanatory, but let's show the folks the cover and explain what we're talking about.

(Shot of part of cover with Hillary Clinton and Newt Gingrich)

O’BRIEN: This is where we use advanced computer technology to find out what would happen if couples mated.

LETTERMAN: Like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Newt Gingrich. And show the progeny. 

(Shot moves to show their "child")
(Audience laughs)

And you've done genetic research to show this is accurate?

O’BRIEN: Let me point out that this is not a joke; this is not "comedy." This is science. Again, I don't know why people are laughing at this.

LETTERMAN: We've got some others loaded up, so take us through the drill.

O’BRIEN: The first one are not actually going out, as most of the ones in the book are. This is Regis and Kathy Lee Gifford.

(Split screen shot of both)

They're not "getting it on," as the kids say, but what would happen if they had a child?

(Shot of the amalgam face)
(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: I went to high school with her.

(Audience laughs)

O’BRIEN: I dated her.

LETTERMAN: Every high school in the world has a girl that looks like her.

O’BRIEN: And she's got a "good soul." In the next one, we look at a couple that is actually going to have a baby: Roseanne and Ben Thomas.

(Split screen shot of both)

We did some testing on what the baby would like when it grows up, and here we go.

(Shot of the amalgam face)
(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: Do these people actually give you blood for your tests?

(Audience laughs)

O’BRIEN: Blood and tissue samples, yes. This is a very good-looking couple: John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Darryl Hannah. 

(Split screen shot of both) 

So this is going to be an attractive baby. Let's look at the future.

(Shot of the amalgam face)
(Audience laughs)

LETTERMAN: It's odd, the tricks nature pulls. Sometimes it skips a generation.

(Audience laughs)

O’BRIEN: Nature is often cruel. Finally, this is one that's not in the book.  This is a little bit of a treat because we're here. It's a gift for you. This is you and Drew Barrymore.

(Split screen of Drew and Dave)

LETTERMAN: Let's see this.

(Shot of the amalgam face)
(Audience laughs)


(Dave laughs)

O’BRIEN: This is just good science.

LETTERMAN: Very, very resourceful. Now do you have to run right back and do your show?

O’BRIEN: We did the show already. The show is done for the weekend.  I can hang out here all day and eat the cookies in the back.

LETTERMAN:  You can eat all the cookies you can find. Congratulations, Conan. We'll be right back.

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January 26th 1996
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