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Conan O’Brien was at the South by Southwest Film Festival on Sunday for the premiere of Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, a documentary that chronicles his struggle to absorb the trauma of his loss of The Tonight Show on a national comedy tour last year.
But he wasn’t exactly thrilled about being at the Austin, Texas-based festival.
“I personally have trouble watching it because it’s a time in my life that I don’t like to go back to,” O’Brien told the Associated Press on the red carpet. “I’m happy where I am now. I don’t really need to go back to it. But I made a commitment” to director Rodman Flender. (O’Brien has been friends with the helmer since they were Harvard classmates in the 1980s.)
The film follows O’Brien during his 32-city Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television tour last summer. He announced the tour after leaving late-night show following NBC’s decision to reinstate Jay Leno in the 11:30 p.m. slot.
O’Brien said the movie provides a lot of insight into how he was feeling during that time, when he didn’t get a lot of sleep and lost 15 pounds.
“It’s a swirly cone of crazy emotions,” he said. “It was anxious, depressing but also euphoric and exciting. It was not just one emotion; it was a lot of emotion. I was confused but also really excited by new possibilities and I think you see almost every emotion in the movie. You see pretty much everything.”
O’Brien launched his new talk show, Conan, on TBS in November and said he thought he had moved on from all the Tonight Show drama and had even forgotten at one point that Fletcher’s movie about him was in the works.
“I’ve put this all behind me and this came along and suddenly Rodman said, ‘Hey, the film’s done’, and I said, ‘What film?'” O’Brien said.
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