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Both Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert bid goodbye to O’Brien in various segments and bits Thursday night.
The Mysterious Benedict Society actress and comedian Kristen Schaal even gave the Conan host a shout-out at the end of her appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers, quipping, “Thanks for having me on the last night of Conan’s show.”
During Kimmel’s monologue, he referenced O’Brien’s recurring masturbating bear character before congratulating “Conan O’Brien on 28 years of very funny late night television” and shouting out Andy Richter and the rest of the show’s staff and crew.
“We look forward to whatever you have planned next at HBO Max — and also, I want to say congratulations to Jay Leno on his new time slot at TBS,” Kimmel joked, referencing the 2010 Tonight Show controversy that led to O’Brien launching Conan on the cable network, with Jay Leno taking back his role at NBC.
Later on in the show, Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt also showed up, with a cameo by saxophonist Kenny G., to celebrate O’Brien’s departure — with a retirement party for Kimmel.
“Jimmy, thank you so much for letting me be a part of this incredible night,” Pratt said while jokingly congratulating Kimmel’s 18-plus years on the air. “It’s just so nice to be able to congratulate you in person, come on, guys, on his last show!
“We got you a cake, and don’t worry, pal, now that you won’t be on TV anymore, you can have as much of that cake as you want,” Pratt continued.
Kimmel clarified that it is his last show before heading off for a break, mirroring his move in 2020 to take a summer hiatus, but not his swan song. Pratt playfully pitied the host.
“Yeah, sure you will. No, that’s the spirit. Never give up,” the actor said to laughs.
Pratt posted his actual farewell to O’Brien over Instagram, writing, “This is me on Conan 11 years ago. My first talk show. I think I stood up in the middle of the interview to take my jacket off at one point. He’s been a friend and supporter since day one. Much love #teamcoco”
Colbert also mentioned the infamous masturbating bear, but offered a longer and more personal goodbye to O’Brien, who he said “had an amazing tenure.”
The Late Show host jokingly recounted O’Brien’s time in late night, starting “at the tender age of 9” before moving on to The Tonight Show and an 11-year-stint at Conan, in addition to work on his “spinoffs,” “Conan the Tank Engine” and “Conarcos.”
“Conan is a dear friend and a lovely fella who has been nothing but a strength and a great source of advice for me as I took over a late night show, and I want to congratulate him on 24 incredible years … and several perfectly fine ones as well,” he continued. “I hope he makes the most of his six days of retirement before starting work at HBO.”
As part of his “bittersweet” goodbye to the long-running late night host, Colbert also brought on Brian Stack, who worked as a writer with O’Brien for 14 years, to dish some “dirt” on his former boss. It initially involved pointing out very obvious facts about O’Brien — his Irish-Catholic identity, his height and his middle name.
But the bit took a darker turn when Colbert pushed Stack on whether an NDA was preventing him from sharing more juicy details.
“Oh, you mean like, something where I’m not allowed to reveal details like whether or not I’ve been asked to sign an NDA?”
That’s when Stack began to “spill,” jokingly revealing that the NDA may have been a get-well card after O’Brien “got a pretty nasty contusion after he tripped after we robbed that hospital.”
“Yeah, yeah that’s right,” Stack continued. “We needed the money to buy cocaine for orgies at Betty White’s underground sex dungeon.”
Stack kept the bit going, sharing that once, “Pat Sajak made us all drink endangered leopard milk out of Lincoln skull,” and that at other points Conan sold counterfeit penicillin and had to go into hiding with Ukrainian arms smugglers.
“I’ll never forget what he told me just before he filed his fingerprints off and had his face reconstructed using cadaver flesh sourced from a Chinese political prison,” Stark said. “He looks me right in the eye and he says, ‘Brian. If I can give you one piece of advice, it’s never tell anyone I’m gonna murder Jeffrey Epstein.’”
Colbert closed out the bit declaring O’Brien “will be missed.”
“Congratulations, Conan. We’ll see you at Betty White’s sex dungeon.”
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