Conan O'Brien Still Angry at NBC, Makes Nazi Metaphor
Conan O'Brien continues to talk about his bust up with NBC in the new issue of Fortune magazine.
"You know that scene in the first Indiana Jones movie where he gets thrown through the truck windshield by a Nazi? I was thrown through the windshield of broadcasting," says O'Brien, who was replaced by Jay Leno after hosting the Tonight Show for just seven months.
"I made a decision and that decision very quickly led to me walking away from the crown jewel of old broadcasting and, in addition to that, being legally prohibited from going on television…." O'Brien goes on. "Ten years ago, if my situation with NBC had unfolded, none of this would have happened. Yeah, maybe I was 10 years too late to do The Tonight Show that I wanted to do. But I was just in the nick of time. Do you know what I mean?"
O'Brien points out that most notable figures have faced failure.
"The Beatles were trying to be the Everly Brothers, and they couldn't quite pull it off. Elvis really wanted to sound like Dean Martin. But, you know, by failing. You have an image in your head of this iconic person," he says.
"For me, it might have been Johnny Carson, where you grow up with him, and you think, 'Well, that's who I need to be' -- to realize that feeling I had when I was 8, sitting in my parents' house and watching him," he adds. "And then things happen, and you think, 'Oh, my God, I didn't -- that fell apart.' But it's the failure to be that person or to completely follow through on what he did that leads you to something that's much better."
O'Brien, who now hosts a nightly show on TBS, says that NBC was annoyed he joined Twitter during the eight months his contract kept him off air.
He recalls being told, "The network isn't crazy about you tweeting. They're not sure that's cool."
"Tell them I would be thrilled if they shut down my Twitter account. I'd love it if that got out. You think PR's been bad up till now? Wait till you take away my Twitter account," says O'Brien, who has nearly 2.5 million followers now.