Hi, my name is Michael Obama, and I feel honored to honor well with Conan O'Brien's friend.
Back to school. Ring the bell. Brand new shoes walking loose on the first. Hey there and welcome to Conan O'Brien needs a friend, we are well into our third season already. Yeah, and having a lot of fun, really enjoying the guests so far. Very excited about today. As always, I'm joined by St. Thomas. And how are you, son? I'm doing very well. Very good. And Mr. Matt Gawley, the producer, you do a fantastic job and I salute you.
Hey, thanks. I salute you back, both of you. OK, this is a pretty chipper way to start things. Sure. It seems I have a question, which is a lot of people are wondering how are people staying safe right now and how to even make a podcast and in a safe way? I would like to emphasize that Sonia and I are in the same room, but we have some distance between us. Maybe you could back up a little bit.
I know I can't. I'm way too close. But all the guests are coming to us via Zoom and Matt. I don't I haven't seen you in person in a long time. You are well ensconced in your lovely home and you communicate virtually with us. Yeah. So everyone's we're all doing this as safely as we can. But it still begs the question, are people being safe outside of this zone? Right. I wore a mask a lot before covid just.
Yeah. For night prowling and just looking around and oh, let's go back there and prowl what I like to use to like to do and I still like to do it.
Now there's more of an excuse, but I used to like to cover my face and just sort of prowl around at night and if someone's not home, go in the home. And I used to try on their clothes and stuff and it was just a way to be someone else for a little bit. And it's going to be uninhibited and sort of see how other people lived. I thought it was a really cool way to to and occasionally they'd come home and have to scary out the back and or murder them.
And I never did that. I would be very clear. I never murdered anybody. I'm just a night prowler or a prowler who likes to just sort of spook around and and look at things. And I've been in a lot of your homes. If you're listening right now and I've worn your intimate apparel, let's just say that. And then I put it back. So you had any question why my underwear smelled like sunscreen?
Yes. Well, anyway, I should probably I don't know why I put it on down there. It just doesn't make any sense. But I really lather it up. But listen, my point is I am safe. That's what we're going to take away from that long digression in which I admitted to being, well, a peeping tom, a night prowler, a creep. Well, but, Seona, I worry about you a little bit because I know that you come from a very large sort of collective family.
Yes. And people probably feel this incredible pressure to gather. I'm lucky no one wants to hang with me, so I'm fortunate. But you you getting your parents and your relatives understand when you say, hey, hey, don't come over. No, no one understands. No, but, you know, my mom and dad have to take it seriously because dad lives with them and he's 97. That's my grandpa. Is that a is that Greek Armenian.
I, I don't know your part Greek and your part Armenian. Yeah. McWhirter Greek. I'm mostly Armenian. My grandma went to my grandma's was Greek and fun. Fact about her is her nickname was Tomball which means chubby. And when she died they put that on her grave. Oh my God. Yeah they. So if you go it's Tumbulgum obsession which is like Chubbie obsession. She was basically named after her, her fat shamed nickname was put on her tombstone and maybe she was a little chubby as a kid.
Yeah, but the point is, maybe she was I'm guessing she grew up like in the nineteen twenties. Yeah. I mean so she grew up in the nineteen twenties or whatever and maybe she was a little chunky. Yeah. And they called her chubby and then she probably turned into a beautiful woman and then they were like nope, we're putting it on your gravestone. You were chunky kid. I don't know who made that call but that was her nickname was Tomball, which in Turkish means the chunky, chubby little thing.
And then when my grandpa died, they were going to change it. But I her name was Seona and they just didn't want to put the name Solanum obsession on a gravestone. That's so funny because I picture Seona on a gravestone all the time. Oh, my God.
What did they reveal? I oh no.
I made a you dying joke earlier in that I felt that this gravestone was for your unhappiness, the death of sadness and happiness. That's what I meant it to be. And I think that's how everyone took it. Oh, is that. Yeah. When you when you are free of all unhappiness, we're going to make a gravestone to your unhappiness and put Sona on it. And then it's very small letters on happiness. Well, that's I'm not I'm not an unhappy person.
I know. But you're still not completely free. I want you to be I want you to be completely blissfully happy. See, I just saved it. No, you did. I really did. I really did. Oh, wait. A lot of stuff coming in on the Internet right now. This is live streaming. Koenen nailed it. This is great. I don't see you checking any. Oh, here's a story that's just fantastic in that iPad's not on in variety assistant mistakes.
Conan's wonderful warm remark for a cruel quip. This is a review in Variety, it's being is coming out right now, the redtop quipster had a rare moment of genuine kindness towards his assistant, son of a session in which he said he wished her to be free of all misery and he wished that he could build a gravestone to any sad moments you would ever have in the future. She snapped at him. Oh, that's so mean. You want me to die?
He tried to clean it up and then she apologized to Sergio Garcia. So this is pretty. I apologize for that. Haven't happened yet. This is one of those reviews, you know, so I wrote that that information's wrong. Anyway, I'm going to tell you a story, which is that when I was a kid, one of my uncles had these really big, larger than life uncles, very tall, massive heads, just huge heads, everyone.
And, you know, Irish people have big heads. My brothers and sisters and I all have massive heads like caricature heads, like massive head, and then like a body that even though our bodies are big, they can't compete with our heads. But this uncle would come over and he was this larger than life guy and a big deal and a big, powerful lawyer in Worcester, Mass. And I don't know if it's because he didn't remember my name or whatever, but he'd call me him fat and like, oh, that's right.
You told us it was just on the podcast. So but I don't mind it because I just love any story where you get called ham. Yeah. And I just had this orange hair that was cut in a bowl. My two front teeth were dead because I fell in the driveway. I had freckles I hated. I was always wearing some hideous nineteen seventy shirt that had been put on me that my brothers owned before me. I was just miserable. And then this guy would come in and go like, hey, look, it's ham fat.
You're also called pigeon pie. What's with you in foods? I don't know. My mom still calls me Pigeon Pie. If I call her, she'll go like, Oh, hello, pigeon pie. I'm like, when I was a kid, I didn't question it. But now I think a pigeon is a dirty dirty bird. Yeah, that shit's on statues all day. They're filthy and they're covered with dirt and ash. So the IRS, they're Skytrax.
So the idea that you would grab some of those when they weren't looking break their necks and shove them into a pie and then then that's what I would be called. It's pretty hilarious, mother. Bad, bad. That is bad. But yeah, I think I think I just hope that you and your family, you got to talk to them and say, look, you've got to take this seriously. You've got to be safe. Oh, I know.
I know. I know. I know. It sucks. It's there's a lot of skepticism in certain communities and it has infiltrated my life a little bit. But no one's going to be in a viral video yelling at someone. Right. Right. You're not like that. They're not they're not going to do that. No, no. And it will say your people are they really are lovely people. They are nice. I know they are they really are very nice.
They just don't believe in science. OK, so let's just move it on. Unnecessary to say that super spreader science denier.
I do think you can't. You were in the same room. I just said lovely things about your about your parents. So so what? I snuck into horrible things to say about somebody very quickly. Like a ninja. Big deal. Like a ninja. Yeah. I'm a very silly variety covering this one. Yeah. Oh here it is right here. No Gladue. This is Hollywood Reporter. Thank you. Yeah. We're getting these streamed live. Conan O'Brien, known as one of the warmest and kindest of hosts.
I went way out of his way to praise song assistance sessions parents as being, quote, lovely.
But O'Brien soldiered on and continue to say how lucky he was to work with such lovely people before quickly muttering super spreader science denier terms, which Koenen put out there for the health and safety of all those listening in the podcast community. Oh, come on, this is a great article. It says it gives me seven stars out of five words. Yes. Which is impossible, as it say. We need to wrap this up and get to the episode.
It says O'Brien then started to go on a little bit too long, despite the fact that he had a wonderful guest on that day. O'Brien was then reminded by his annoying producer, Matt Gawley, formerly resident of a living under a bridge in the downtown L.A. area until he was saved by the kindly. O'Brien gave him a microphone and a headset and said that by a night Nightcrawler I was out night prowling. I was out at night prowling with my mask.
Anyway, my when I met Matt under a bridge and made him why are you under the bridge where you live to tell them right now.
But why we could improvise. Yes. And weren't you a creep living under a bridge, Matt? Yes. And I was going to say yes. And but then you added the creep part. Yes. And so you were some creep living under a bridge. Yes. And I quit. Oh, I'm glad you quit that horrible lifestyle and clean yourself up to come join me. Listen, we can't waste time and we can't wait to do it.
We can't waste time. And you know what? I blame both of you. I what you know, you're the red card of time waster. I am a folk. Gist podcast from a broadcaster. You know what, a lot of podcasters are just podcasters, but you know what I am. I began as a broadcaster and then branched into podcasting. So no one's got their eye on the old time clock more than this guy. I am a laser beam focus that will bring us to the promised land.
And that promise land starts now. I am very excited about our guest today is a hilarious comedian who became co head writer of Saturday Night Live in 2017. He's also one of the hosts of Weekend Update and I am thrilled he is with us today. I do admire this gentleman. Michael Shea, welcome. Most times I'm talking to someone on the podcast, it's someone I already know, there's been I think there's been three instances, you included, where I don't really believe we've met.
We may have met at some point. We do. Do you think we did meet? Definitely met. And you would never, ever, ever even track or remember where. So I could do whatever I want with this story.
But definitely a long time ago before and I didn't I cut your face to the razor. You remember really well, just when there was a day where I was I was in a weird mood and I was slashing people and I think I was auditioning for the Bloods. I think it was an initiation. So this guy and the Bloods really didn't want me to be honest with you. The Bloods, they said it's not a good fit. And I said, I'll show you fellas.
And I'm a real good slasher. I like strings to get you that. I really, you know. I know. And that's how I repaid you. You helped get me into the Bloods and I in all of New York City. I had so many people to slash. And I went after the guy that made the introduction. And I feel so bad. I apologize again. I apologize.
What really happened really happened. Before I did comedy, I used to make T-shirts and sell them on the street. And you walk, walk and I know. Really? Yeah, right on Prince Street and Wooster. I don't remember what it was, but I used to like kind of draw these pictures and put them on t shirts and you were walking down and I never forget because like you, I don't know if you noticed about yourself, but you're pretty unmistakable.
Yes, I'm told. I'm told, yeah. It's I've always said it's like me and Big Bird from Sesame Street. When we walk around in sunglasses, everyone does. We're not fooling anybody. Yeah. Like white Shaq. Like it's definitely you remember. Well, you bought the shirt from me and I was thrilled.
It was like, oh, that's nice. One of my favorite moments being out there like that. And yeah, you were very nice and kind and you just you like Australia gave me money and then you left. No, cool.
No, I don't tip for sure. When was the last time you ever do that? You go to a store and you buy, you say like I might like to buy it. And here's a little something extra for you. I don't do that in a store, so I don't know. I didn't know that that was the custom. But it wasn't a door. It was it was a kid on the street, man with a table. I was real sad.
I made sure to look as sad as possible. Yeah. You know, I think, you know, I bought the shirt, I bought the shirt. And then now clearly I committed some faux pas by not adding an extra, you know, an extra tip. So I feel no no advice. He didn't offer me a job to. Oh, God, no, no, I can't do that. And I thought it was I thought we had a good business exchange and and now suddenly I'm getting all this shit for not saying, come with me, young man.
You saved my life. We're going to we're going to fight crime together. A great origin story. Yeah, I know. Let's change the story to I said follow me. I'll show you all about comedy. And and then we went and lived on a mountaintop. No, I have so many questions. First of all, I am very, very excited to quote, meet you even though we've technically met. But you've got you've had such an impressive career at such a young age.
I mean, and your. Yeah. You've done a what he's done.
Anybody else saying that it would make sense. But like your Conan O'Brien, you've done everything that I've done, but like a lot better. I don't think that's true. It's hard to read. Yeah. Please, let's not let me most people ran the Vietnam War, OK? They they were the ones that said we've got a really good idea. Let's get into Indo-China and get involved and start bombing the shit out of stuff. So, no, I don't put I don't consider that a feather in my cap.
Let's just put it that way. It is pretty awesome and historic as an arsenal right. Writer coming in the names you hear about Conan O'Brien and like, you know that, you know, that's like that's those footsteps you follow the likes of Adam McKay, Conan O'Brien, Jack Handy, all the. Oh, yeah.
So people used to talk about Conan O'Brien. That was well, I don't know. That word got around pretty quickly. He's used to people and he'll buy your product, but he's not going to give you a little something on top. No tip. O'BRIEN So like a completely different thing that seems like a job. Exactly. Yeah, it was a war wound. It. The war won't I jumped on a grenade, I threw my crotch on a grenade to save the battalion, you know, I am very impressed because I really I think you're terrific on Saturday Night Live.
And you were head writer on the show, which is incredibly impressive. I was not a head writer when I was there. So you win that one. No one made me head writer barely, barely ahead of the three head writers. I'm one of them and I do the least amount of work. Certainly credit.
That's hey, that's how you that's how you get by in this business. A little credit. But I find and I am very impressed with your standup. I just think you're absolutely fantastic standup and you're such a good joke writer. And that's like one of the first things I wanted to talk to you about is I really love the way you write and the jokes that you come up with. And I'm curious, when did you know you had a brain for that, that you could do that?
I'll tell you, my experience was I was very intimidated. I used to think I can make my friends laugh and I can sort of think of funny things on the fly and make people laugh. But I'm not a writer. I used to think that I don't. I'm not really a writer. And it took me a while to realize that that's what writing is, is coming up with the idea. Then you just have to put it down. Did you have that block?
That was a block for me.
I think it was the opposite for me. It was more like I think I can say funny things, but I've never performed before. So when I started comedy, I went to an open mike just because I wanted to try comedy. And I was like, so intimidated about being on stage. I've never heard my voice in a microphone before that, you know, like, I never really perform. And so go into the open mike and seeing people try and be bad at it was like, all right, well, they got courage to be bad.
And I could at least be bad at it, too, you know, just to see what it feels like. And I don't remember what I said for maybe the first six months of doing standup, but I remember the first time I got up there and being on stage and hearing my voice and a microphone and seeing a crowd like, well, crowd open mikes, 11 people looking at their phone, but. Right, right. You know, but seeing like the people and kind of having that stage, it felt natural.
So that kind of came first. And then the jokes really was like, I always believe something that I was saying was funny. I just but it was all about how do I make you see it? The way I see it, you know, almost like being in a different country and you don't know the language and you're trying to look for directions. That's how I look and feel. Great, right. I know what I'm trying to tell you, and you have no idea what I'm saying.
So I'm just trying to say things that we can agree on so that you kind of get the gist of what I'm trying to say. You have it in your mind and in your mind. It's really funny. And then the dress is how do you get them to see it exactly the way you do? And when they do, that's when you get the electrical current. That's when they're inside your head and they're experiencing it exactly the way you are.
And they're laughing. And to me, that's the face of God like that, that yes, that is when I know there's a power in the universe. Because, I mean, it's the only thing that really I mean, there's a lot of nice things, as you know, there's a lot of nice things that come along with with being in this business. But I would still do it. I would do it for free if I could still get that fix, you know, for free, for sure.
I mean, I started out paying to get on stage. I was like, literally, you got to pay like seven dollars or something like that to do three minutes and maybe get a laugh because maybe the worst audience you possibly ever see. But yeah, that feeling, when you do get a laugh, it'll take you through anything. It's so much fun. And, you know, as a comedy fan, you when you watch come, you're in audience and you see a comedian kill.
It's the greatest feeling until you've been on stage and you're making all those people laugh and everyone laughing. It just it just it's a weird thing to explain, but it's a lot of fun. Yeah. And then what happens is once you are up there doing it and you're killing, the next time you go and you sit in an audience and you watch someone else kill, you're thinking, no, those can be those can be my.
Laughs Dennis, why aren't I up there? Oh, I saw that one coming. Didn't you see that one coming? I did. And then, sir, sir, please sit down. You're ruining the show. And Tonin, why are you being such an asshole? Why are you say he's not that funny? I don't know why. And then they hustle you out and you're not allowed to go back. I don't know if you've had the experience.
This is maybe I've said too much, but I mean, the waitress is like that guy didn't even tell you exactly. No, it's. Well, we have some similarities. We both come. I mean, I always look for what's the commonality and. I think you're are you one of seven I'm one of six kids are you want to sell?
Yeah, I want to sell to my parents and I can't believe I'm the last or the youngest. I'm in the middle. I'm in the middle of it.
So I was the anonymous guy in the middle that was like, you will know my name one day because I really got to I really did have the impression they didn't quite know who I was sometimes because we all looked exactly the same. Or you were like super tall. Not all of us. But I think most of us are pretty tall. Most of us are pretty tall. I'm like one of the tallest, myself and my brother Justin. There are like six for me.
And I wasn't tall most of my childhood. I don't associate with being tough because I got tall really late. I had a growth spurt really late and suddenly became six four and put on no what was still the same weight. So I was when I was about 17, suddenly I became or seventeen and a half I became six four and I was one hundred and fifty five pounds. And I can have, I can have an engineer draw that for you.
It's horrible. It doesn't work on paper. Like I kept falling over and collapsing and it was too weird. No, no wind was a real problem. I'd often wake up in like a haystack hundreds of miles from home not knowing what happened. But yeah, we had and I you know, I think we both grew up in the projects now.
Correct me correct me if I'm wrong. Michael projects me sort of that just correct me if I'm wrong. Projects means well to do suburb. Right. Is that is it. That's what I've always said. That's why I always tell people I'm from the projects too. And then we start. They seem confused because that was my definition of projects during these new projects don't work out so well. I don't know who was great in this project, but. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And you grew up in in New York a little bit Manhattan. I grew up in the Lower East Side and then when we moved to Jersey City, so we thought Jersey City was a suburb. So when we when we I didn't because it was such a culture shock of New York City, New York City pretty well the is that not everything is on top of each other, you know. Yeah. No matter where you live, you probably live around three hundred people, you know, just very immediate radius.
And we didn't get to two family house and it was like some old white people, like living around in homes like this. We must be rich, no stairs. But it was like not you know, it was probably worse. But you don't really know that because you get a decent block in a different town and it feels like the suburbs. If you from before, you know, was the city, you know. Right. Right. You don't know.
You don't have much until you start meeting kids with a lot. Yes. And so I went to high school at a performing arts high school, LaGuardia, of music and art. And it was it was the best performing arts high school maybe in the country. But, you know, it's free for the city kids. And so you'd meet kids of all walks of life you'd make. Yes, that was way forward. And you and me kids that were way richer, you know, like super rich and poor from the Upper West Side and Queens of Brooklyn to from all over the place.
So you kind of meet the whole city because it's a it's a public school, essentially, but it's just everybody kind of has some talent. And that's when I started to kind of get to realize, oh, you know, we grew up on this. But what also but it's also kind of funny, like, wow, I made it to where you made it to and I didn't have what you have. So you feel this sort of it's OK.
You know, I guess it's sad. You wish you grew up differently, but also you like. But I made it I still made it to where you got to and I didn't have everything. So, you know, it wasn't all bad, I guess.
Well, I guess one question I would have is now you've had this really incredible success and how does your upbringing or the way you grew up influenced how you deal with that?
Well, particularly with comedy, that's true because nobody thinks you're funny. You know, that you grew up with that footage, you know, whatever. Like I'm funnier than you. I you know, so it's never you never really feel that accomplished around those friends. They always remember when you weren't funny, you know. Yeah, but no, because it's it's it's subjective and it's like no one grew up with Michael Jordan and said, well, he was a shitty athlete.
Right. Just like, you know or you reference Shaq earlier, no one was like Shaq basketball. I grew up with him. And you like that you talk. Yeah, he's sure he was eight feet tall as a child and he was, you know, but but it's so clear and it's so objective. But comedy people can always any. I can say, I don't know, I've got a mechanic that's funnier than you, the person who just installed my gas lines funnier than you and could be true.
Could be true. True. Yes, it's possible. I mean, that's the craziest thing. And I think the only reason that I got the opportunity that I got is because I really had nothing to lose. I was very unemployed. You know, I was like odd jobs here and there, making very little money so I could go to do open mics every day at six o'clock because I wasn't at work. So there's I think about that all the time.
Like, if I would have gotten the job to make 40 grand, 30 grand a solid job that I probably would have been under qualified for at that time, I would have never tried comedy because I would have been too afraid to risk that. So I wouldn't have followed that dream to do this because I was protecting something that I really don't want to do, you know? So it's a very kind of strange thing. There's a lot of people who don't take the chance on something that they want to really do just because they're afraid of jeopardizing the thing that's making them miserable.
You know a lot. Right. And a lot of ways, you know, some people love doing what they do, but I wouldn't have love that, you know, I hate being a waiter or be in a bar back or working in a cubicle. It will drive me nuts. And I just wanted to find something that I could do that wasn't that because it just it felt wrong. It felt like I felt like a cat and shoes, you know.
But yeah, if I had it, I wouldn't have let it go because that's that's one of the downsides of growing up. The way I grew up, it was like, you have to do something now because I don't we don't want you to be alone because it's so easy to just be a bum, you know, being mean and just no ambition or something like that was like the biggest fear and doing comedy. It was very scary for a lot of people.
It was like, I think by the bubo is about people that is trying to live his dream. But that's and that's not I'm not going to I grew up with it just more so a fear, a common fear, because we didn't know so many people that made it out. So it was hard to see it work if you've never seen it work. And I think now maybe people coming up from my family or from my neighborhood will believe in people who try a little bit more because there's an example that it works sometimes, you know.
Yes. And that's how the project is exactly like the suburbs. Yeah. I mean, basically, I knew that that's where going to end up. That's really there's no difference. There's no difference as far as I can see. And I know there's some people out there listening to things that I'm in some kind of a bubble or I've lost touch. But my butler assures me that I am on point and I know what's happening out there. So let's not have any of those comments, because that's a huge waste of time for everybody.
So much so that live, because that's something we have in common. And I remember showing up and them saying, OK, oh, go in that room. Steve Martin is the host this week. He's he's in there and go pitch him an idea. And I literally thought, wait a minute, you don't even know who I am and you're having me go pitch to Steve Martin. What if I have got a gun? You know what? If I shot a good I wouldn't just meet some twenty four year old and, like, get in there and talk to one of the biggest stars in the world.
What if I say crazy? I you know, I don't know. Like, I couldn't believe that that was you go from zero to one hundred and fifty. That was my experience then. It's terrifying, but but cool.
What was what did you have that a similar feeling was almost verbatim, like literally my first, because I came in as a guest writer in the middle of the season. They were doing the same way. They were bringing in different new voices and they were bringing in two writers a week. And I happened to be one of them because I saw journalist and just asks me, Colegio, who is head writer at the time, was like, hey, we're doing this thing where we're bringing in guest writers and just fresh faces, if you'd like to do it.
So I came in and my first day I don't know what a guest writer. I don't know what that means. I don't know if I'm being like an intern. I'm thinking it's like a kind of a glorified intern for a couple weeks, like I'm going to shadow Jostein, maybe pitch some to try stuff, but it's like Monday night, like, all right, you know, everybody comes in and meets you and I'm thinking I'm go get bagels soon or something like that.
I don't know. I mean, like, you go into Lauren's office and I'm like, Lorne once. Lorne like this cool are like no more like you go in this office. And Kevin Hart was the host. He was that was his first time hosting. And he was the biggest comedian in the world at that. Sure. Guy in the world and maybe still is, and we walk in and I say like, well, you got a.
Why do go fishing? I do the Kevin Hart and I sit in front of your new boss, maybe. Possibly and the entire and I pass and write a team and I've never written a sketch before. I think I pitched it was like, oh it was you're the richest black man in New York, Duane Reade. And it is like something we could never do. No one knows the way we live outside of New York, but such a bloody idea, like there's no white twains.
And several weeks I did a I did those to him. And then Justin Timberlake was in next week. And then I got the job after that because I got shot. But it was so intimidating because I never did a sketch before, like I didn't. Yeah. So you get a sketch and then you find out it goes through, read through and it does well and you find out the craziest thing ever. Yeah. Describe that for me.
First of all, it was kind of because it was the most classic kind of SNL getting the sketch on occurrence. And we have worked all night maybe maybe like six, seven hours on this sketch idea that got absolutely no laughs. And then the one that I kind of wrote really quickly because we needed to and I wrote in like maybe an hour, got all the laughs. And it was just like one of those things that if the comedy comes fast, it's probably going to work at the right time.
It's probably not going to work. But it was Justin Timberlake, fifth time host, and so it was the five times club that you would know about. And it's literally Tom Hanks where Dan Aykroyd sat there like it was like so many people there and the Lonely Island guys came back because they were off and they came back to the show to do something with Justin C.. Martin was there because they did wild and crazy guys with the it was like it was the nuttiest week was almost like a finale show or a Christmas show kind of kind of feel.
And I got a sketch on the first sketch that they did at the table so hard. And then the sketch that I wrote was like a commercial parody killed. And it was almost like a prank. It felt like they were making fun of me because they were laughing at it. And I knew that this was a very dumb idea and also that you just thought I wasn't funny. But, like, that's just like kind of scary. Kind of.
Yes. Oh, my God, this is going to get on TV. I might get a sketch on Saturday Night Live. And then it was a princess. So I had to like, you know, as a writer on the show, when you're doing a pretape, you're very hands on. It's not like, you know, yes, yes. You're the producer. You're just literally producing this guy. You're talking to the director. You're making choices.
You have to be there. So it was just this bizarre thing of, like you said, you don't feel worthy. You don't feel like you should be there, like to be someone else right now. But it was so much fun because it's such a machine that they will protect you. If it's a good idea, if it's an idea that we all believe in, they'll protect you and figure out how to get it produced and how to make it work on the show.
But they also make sure that it keeps the integrity that you intended it to have. So it was like it was kind of, you know, again, like high school. You're like, oh, I can do this. Like, yeah, I can. I can I can try. You know, it might not be the best, but I can I can absolutely take a shot. And you feel confident and being able to take a shot.
Well, to me the magic moment is you exactly what you said, which is it doesn't have to be agony. And in fact, I've heard songwriters like some of the most famous songwriter performers in the world have said. I think Elton John once said all the great songs I wrote them in like 15 minutes, you know, just came to me. And I've had the exact same feeling when I have labored over something. And there's like nine of us and we're grinding and grinding and grinding and pushing and pushing.
And then you read through and all you can hear, there's no laughing. So you hear that. You just turn and you can also see you can see Lorne Michaels looking ahead to see how much longer is this fun and then looking ahead. And he's taking his long sips of water and looking ahead and realizing, yeah, now this is a 15 page salute. When you can hear the gulps, you hear every gulp that he takes to go, go, go to interior again.
The Martians have still not found the Magic Sea and shift. And you look ahead and you start laughing. Now, it doesn't get better. His campaign is campaigning for a local call it button, like literally, yes. That's so great. Need a buzzer to be like, look, I'm going to call you right there. You guys didn't like the first term is 12 more, just like he's going to get worse. Let's just move on. We're all tired.
That would improve the show and the quality of the show so much. If the writer if the rule was whoever sketch, it was so perfect. So it's like, OK, we're going to read this sketch. It's written by Michael J. And Conan O'Brien. They wrote it together.
You know, it's called Dr. Sneakers and and and and the sneakers they give us each. Trust me, it's a good idea, Michael. And your name's on it, so you better fucking get behind it. But they give us each like a buzzer and we each have a buzzer because our sketch is being read like Dr. Sneakers. And then he says the line that he's going to say one hundred and fifty times, that's bound to kill these ain't sneakers.
I have seen sneakers, nothing. And then he says it again and then he says it again. And you and I look at each other and we just hit the buzzer. We're out. Just guys just keep going. OK, well, you figure it out, we'll figure it out. But everyone would be like, fine. And they would they would move ahead. But you're absolutely right up. It would keep morale up where people are like, you know what?
Yeah, that was bad. But also, you know, it's bad and you can just keep going. Yeah.
And you saved us from having to go through 60 pages of Dr. Sneakers, you know, sneaker now on a side. No, I love Dr. Sneakers. You want to write it? Do you want to write it up with me? I'll write it up with you.
It's like you said, in fifteen seconds, you just come up with doctors or teachers at the NBC school, literally. You know, we yeah, we were. So, yes, we have we're so tough in the sketch. We have the T-shirts made before we even pay the sketch and we get them in the store. People like, what the fuck is soccer sneakers? Oh, trust me, Michael and I, it's going to be huge. It's just start getting those out there.
And yeah, that would that would be yelling back to sneakers that you at the airport all the time.
Yes, yes, yes, yeah. Yeah. It was the. Thank you. Thank you. And please leave with my wife. With my kids. No Dr. Sneakers right now. I got to them to I got to live that down. That story started out as koenen you were nice. You are kind one of my shirts from me and then you just at the very end. Just because the sun is about to set on this beautiful story of kindly Kohnen it's you didn't do you know I was saving up.
I was saving up. Saving up my money for a rainy day.
You know, I want to ask you about something that I think we connect on, at least I've heard this about you. I've noticed it definitely about your stand up, which is the big part of your job at Out Live and probably also The Daily Show is to do political humor or tell jokes about politics. But you said it's not your passion that you love finding human things to talk about that aren't necessarily just political. Is that right? Oh, yeah.
Well, I always feel like I don't think that people have to agree with you to think you're funny, you know, as a comedy fan. So I don't try to put out I'm not telling the joke because I want you to agree with me. I'm telling a joke because I want you to laugh at it. You know, the people that I like that rarely agreed with you like Archie Bunker. I didn't I didn't think he was right, but I thought he was funny, you know?
And I think when I approached political material content, I try to kind of come from the perspective of what is this like? So somebody learning about all of this for the first time and and doesn't have an agenda is just trying to make sense of it in their brand. And that's something that I used to love to watch. Like my grandmother, my grandmother passed away recently, beautiful woman, a huge bigot. And she really she was oh, my gosh, she was the biggest, but she was so fun and love loving woman loving.
But, you know, 80, 90 years old, you know, they grew up in a different time where stuff like that was true. And Puerto Ricans that much like that was just a good lesson that wasn't in the Constitution, but it should have been. But she was so funny. She was also so funny. But everything that you everything she said that was funny, she didn't know was funny. It would just be her trying to sound normal and it would just be the funniest thing I've ever heard.
And I always thought there was something charming about people, no matter whether you agreed or disagreed with them, trying to make sense of it is where the funny lines. Yes. Yes. And that's also where the human life is because you like I remember not knowing that too. So I can't really be mad at you because there was a time where I didn't know either. And I could only imagine what this must sound like to you without any other context.
So that's what you're kind of laughing at. You're not laughing that it's right or wrong. You're laughing that it's just silly and funny. And so that's kind of my approach to that kind of thing. But I do feel like a lot. And I also know not to because you're here. But that's also been what I love about doing comedy on your show, is that I've never I never feel like you're preaching to us. As far as audience, you're never like saying this is the way the world needs to be.
You're getting the laugh. You're trying to get the laugh. And it's a it's a pure way that it does. You can tell it's not that you don't care. It's that you're not. You're there to make people have a good time, no matter how they feel about you, you know, and I think that's important. Sometimes it gets lost when everybody is up there to change the world.
I always liked coming at it from I'm down here in the muck with everybody else and I'm not I'm not better than anybody else. In fact, I might be worse. So I like my comedy coming out of that. And then that was all the stuff that I love growing up, even the old stuff from like the thirties and forties, like people that there are the lowest of the low, whether it's the Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers or the, you know, W.C. Fields, like they're there at the bottom of the ladder or even in the classic silent people like Buster Keaton.
They're at the bottom. And I always get invited to the party. They're always crashing it or working it. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And yeah. And I always think, well, that's I always liked that and I always I like the silly stuff. And I also think it endures. It absolutely does. You know, it's really interesting to me because not too long ago I watched this standup special that you did and it was fascinating because I could have sworn you had made it two days ago.
But I realized it was because your approach was you were writing classic really good jokes that are eternal when you did a chunk on Black Lives Matter, which was fantastic. There's no way anybody could watch that and not think, oh, Michael wrote this at the beginning of the pandemic right after George Floyd. And it's the perfect statement about this. And then you realize this was written in twenty sixteen and performed in twenty sixteen. How the fuck did he do that?
That's one of my reasons why I like to write about kind of race stuff is because it always holds, you know. So like if I write a joke about racism, I know it's going to be the next year to come and look. It's like. It's like it's. All right, those race jokes for the same reason Mariah Carey wrote, All I want for Christmas is always going to be it's always going to be this next thing you. This is a case in point of you just said something that is indelibly sad, which is race jokes are always going to be relevant and fun and immediately had us howling because you said it's the same thing as Mariah Carey's Christmas songs.
And suddenly I'm laughing at one of the saddest things anyone said to me in a while, because I know, I know, I know it's stuff like that. It's like that's kind of the weird position that you're in as somebody that tells what kinds of jokes are that, those types of things where you're trying to tell people, look, this is if you don't clean this up, this is what you can expect. And up until that happens, people say, well, why didn't you say something?
You know, we've been saying it for you right now. So when I wrote in 2016, it was like I just came up with it that day because I look looking in the future, I would talk about what happened years then, you know, like this. That was a culmination of that. So this is something that we've always been talking about and this is something we always felt. And we're trying to make it. We're trying to make you see the way we're seeing it for the first time.
So kind of getting back to the first thing we were saying, talking about in the joke structure, we're trying to make you see it the way we see it. We're trying to say it as plainly as the way we understand it. And sometimes it still takes a while for people to. Oh, that's it to me, I guess. Makes sense, you know what I mean? But know five years after the fact. Right. Well, I think even today it's common.
I just speak for myself like it's not just a realization, it's a constantly having to realize again and again and again and again and again when people tell you it's always been this way and then realize it again and then realize it again. And it's just what do you drink in there? What do you get? This is just iced tea.
This is I don't know if you do sponsor this. Well, if we did have a sponsor and this kid is whiskey, you know, and by the way, I have overlooked the fact that you're wearing a Yankee cap throughout this. OK, listen, listen, listen. Someone's got to win championships.
You guys do what you do and we win. The Red Sox have done all right. And recently, you know, it's so funny. I grew up like the Yankee cap. Whenever the Red Sox would play in Yankee Stadium and the game was on TV, we would watch it. And I was we were all so scared of New York because we heard all these rumors that if someone were a Red Sox cap in Yankee Stadium, they would murder you and the police wouldn't investigate.
And it was like that was the thing I really believed when I was a kid. They think, well, yeah, I know it's crazy and I know I was a kid, you know. Twenty five. Twenty six. No, I'm kidding. I was a kid. I was. But I remember people in school, like other kids in school saying, like now they'll they'll know because you know, back in the 70s, New York was you all these movies were out like Deathwish and Warriors', where it was this lawless place where gangs wearing Yankee caps and the and weird face paint and full Yankee uniforms.
That's the movie warriors were, you know, and people were murdering and the police would just go and we can't stop it. It's too much murder. But we that's what we heard, is that like, no one from Boston can go there because they'll find out you're from Boston and you'll be murdered. Says So. It was triggering me, the Yankee cap. I will tell you, I did it. I did a show. One of the first shows I did in Boston was out of place.
Oh, man. I can't remember the name of the place, but it used to turn into a nightclub. It would be like a comedy club. And then it turned to a nightclub, like after the comedy show. It was right downtown. I can't remember the name of it is going to drive me nuts. But I was wearing the Yankee cap and these guys were just staring through me like literally trying to set me on fire with their eyes.
And and I couldn't figure out why up until like thirty five minutes. And she said, I'm like, what is your problem. What are you guys. I haven't even left once. You just stared at me like someone that had to take my hat off to look like Yankee hat like oh not really. That's why you don't like me. It's nice. Go with the girl. Fucking joke can say that we to know that go fucking. Joke was good, like liked.
It was very well constructed, but the Yankee cap is something we can't get around. No, it is for. You know, the thing that was so bad everywhere, the Yankees. Are you serious? But you know what?
That is a Boston thing. That that is a Boston thing where everybody in Boston wears a Boston Red Sox cap. And it's so redundant because you're like literally you land and everyone there is wearing a Boston Red Sox game. You're like, we know. I understand. That's the team we know. Got it. We knew it from the from you holding that Dunkin iced coffee. We know where from. And you, Carhartt jacket, you know, you know, but it's this XRT like, you know, we're from Boston, right?
And, you know, the Red Sox are our team, right? Go, Sox. I'm like, yeah, OK, we've got it, bro. No, I outgrew that at a very young age as I was laughing because I was like, you know, we're we're really a liberal city.
I'm like, really? Your curb stopped me off water running baseball team. You're liberal, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. You seem very nice, though. I got out. I got out. I escaped, escaped at a young age. And I didn't go back to say this about boss.
And, you know, I'm not just pandering because everything shut down. So I can't perform anywhere, even if I wanted to. But Boston is easily one of my favorite cities to counter. Yeah, yeah. Great comedy town. So it's an amazing comedy. I love performing in Boston. It's because it's those people when you come to this show, they're there to laugh like it's something about working, working working class cities. They're there to laugh. They got a babysitter for the night.
You know, to me, like, this is their night to be out and they're there to have a good time. You can you can hit with anything if it's funny and they'll let you know this isn't good. If it ain't good, you know, like they'll let you know this is boring. Boring. If somebody is funny or the audience, then you are on stage. Give them the mic will be on their side. We have a good time.
So it's an honest, funny, funny, funny city and a great place to, like, really perform. If you want to really tell students I love going to Boston, Chicago, like to certain cities that you like, OK, this is where they get it.
This is another invention you should have next to your along with your buzzer for this it live, we're out of sketch the Velcro patch that goes over your, your Yankee logo. You just you and you keep looking and when you touch down. Yeah. You just put the Velcro patch on and everyone's like, you get it and then comes right off and goes back in your pocket. When you get back on the shuttle you I would do this thing.
I was I was at Dave's house, Chappelle's house and we were talking about it was a bunch of comedians and people that we were talking about saying the wrong city name in the wrong city on tour would ever. Have you ever done that? No.
You know why I'm so anxious about that? That I write it on a card and I put it I make sure that it's on the floor. But I because I was so nervous about doing that, I really didn't want to do that. So I would be like, right, it's Minneapolis. That's where, you know what I mean. Or it's I mean, you hear that like you could do so much counter. You've got all of this material memorized in your head.
You've got all these years of experience and performing. And the thing you messed up is like, well, that's because it's just because it's changing all the time. It makes sense. It's changing, you know, and it makes sense because the other stuff you when you've done it enough, it's in your reptile brain. It's like in the part of your brain that's saying, hey, heart beat and lungs expand and contract. And yeah. And also I just got my DNA test back and then the whole hunt I do about getting my DNA test back, that's all in there because I said it so many times.
And then the thing that changes every night is, whoa, Provo, Utah. You know, this is incredible, you know, and you want to make sure that you don't. And that's not in that part of the brain. That's in the part of the brain that needs to know that you whatever that is the news that you just heard ten minutes ago, that you have to remember that. So what countries and also cities take it very personally, as if you know the difference, like like you really, really care about the difference.
One time I said I was in Grand Rapids and I said, Hello, Detroit.
And you thought I had a baby on stage like Detroit. You're saying to me, I don't want to be a nice man. I don't care. But you know what I have found. If you do if you spend. Yes, you get so much love. If you've put twenty minutes into dinner, they actually have a statue of Fonzi downtown. I remember finding out and I always ask around and you just ask like the lighting guy and and you look up stuff on line.
And if you just say, like, you know, if you show that you've spent eight seconds thinking about them before you go out there, they're like, how did you know? Yeah. How could he know that St. Louis has an arch, knows about our Buffalo Wild Wings. You know, some kind of magical man. Yeah, it's just, you know, you take that much time that's like Trump's president because he goes down to Iowa and he will say something like right away I might get some corn.
And corn became so funny because I watched him and he kills with his you know, he kills with his crowds, kills his material. He has no material. And I'll sometimes look at him as just, oh, look at Trump as a comedian. And I'll think, well, he's not a good comedian, but he's sort of like an open mic M.C. who like who owns the club. But he's not a comic, but he knows how to go out there and just say things like, oh, boy, hot day here on day.
Oh, boy, I sure would like to have some of that great beer that you make. You make a good beer. You. Well, that's not funny. That's nothing. And yeah, you know, we can we can send it over to the Democrats. They probably wouldn't be able to hand it. Because it's them, because it's like, you know, Tim Robinson from as well. It used to be when was office me he he calls it priest.
Laughs Yeah. It's literally the jogo priest will say wherewith oh, my God, I can't believe the priest knows what you drink. You know, it's that kind of thing. No president is ever that horrifyingly normal. Right. You know, it used to be we don't want a guy that's known. We want some brilliant dude that's going to be good at this job is like now it's like, no, no, no. We want the idiot at the end of the bar that talks just like me and says all the things that I've seen that doesn't horrify you at all.
Like no is more endearing.
Now it's you guys these guys don't like me, but yeah, I got I got to my doctor to talk like me. Right.
My doctor to say things that I don't understand. OK, this guy must know what he's doing. Yeah. I don't really know what's going on with you, but, you know, there's something I could use a brew right now. And you want to go get a brew. Well, no, no, there's every time I shit there's a lot of blood. Yeah. No, I don't know man. That sounds rough. It looks like there man.
She's got a nice figure. Let her go bowling some time. What do you say. No, no, there's a lot of blood. It's mostly blood now. It's all blood. There's no stool anymore. It's just blood. Well, you know. Well don't you take a look at my my look normal to you. Hey, I like this guy. I think I'm dying. I think it's probably cancer of the bone marrow. But but I like this guy.
He gets me he gets he sees a guy that can hang out with Michael. I have kept you for way too long. I've been I've been I've been doing it just because I'm having such a great time. And this is a blast. Yeah. It is absolute joy to get to talk to you. And I would love to be a friend of yours. I'd like to hang out with you when we're allowed to hang out together. I'd be.
I'd love to. I'd really like to hurt your street cred is what I'm saying. Do you want to take you down two notches? My favorite thing is like the clip you did on when you went to the Apollo.
What do you do when you go to the Apollo? Sure. Yeah. Dapper Dan and all that. Yeah, man, you got to pass to go anywhere you follow. Oh, that's so sweet. No, you know, what I like is it makes me happy. So funny because it's and it's also you're never trying. You're always just being koenen and and it comes across and it's amazing to watch that's coming from you. That is that is incredibly sweet.
That's really nice. And that makes my day really does. It's actually going to make my week. That's going to make my week. I think so actually. Yeah. This Thursday we don't really kind of a week. Guess that's why I said it makes the week and I'm not including the weekend and that gets me through Saturday, through today and then tomorrow and then I'll hate myself again Saturday morning. Hey, Michael, listen. An absolute honor.
Real honor and and please be well. Stay well and keep doing what you're doing and thank you. Yeah. Thank you so much.
Last week, Conan, you mentioned how your voice is an immediate boner killer and is sterilizing men throughout the world, and you said that you might try reading some erotic fiction as an example of what you mean. Yeah, I think this will prove my point. By the way, I had to come back and put this disclaimer in that some of the language you're going to hear isn't safe for children, although the tone is very safe for children. Here we go.
Show me how you pleasure yourself. Keep still. We're going to have to work on keeping you still, baby. Let's see if we can make you come like this. You're so deliciously wet. God, I want you. I'm going to fuck you now. Misdeal. Hard come from Anna. Anyone around? I don't think so. No. Oh, my God. Here we go. I put them deeper into my mouth so I can feel them at the back of my throat and to the front again.
My tongue swirls around the end. They're quick. He's my very own Christian grape flavored popsicle. I suck harder and harder. My inner goddess is doing the meringue, some salsa moves and we got some of the old climax. You're going to take this and like it. Did you your the down and kisses me is fingers still moving rhythmically inside me, his thumb circling and pressing the hand, scoops my hair on my hand and holds my head and place his tongue, mirrors the actions of his fingers blaming me.
My legs begin to stiffen as I push against gentles his hand. So I'm brought back from the break. I come instantly again and again, falling apart beneath him. And I don't the again climax new calling out his name and he grabs me, getting me across his lap with one smooth move, any angle, his body. So my torso is resting on the bed beside him. He throws his right leg, not his left is right over both mine and glances left forearm.
Not the right, but the left on the small side back holding me down. So I move to places his hand on my neck in behind. So there's no clothing on that behind. It's as naked as the day I was born on my birthday suit. I tell you, he's softly fondling me, stroking around and around with his flat pop and then his hand is no longer there. What happened? Is it a magic trick? No, he hits me hard.
That's right. He hits me. But in a way that's not creepy at all. We lie there, painting together, waiting for our breathing to slow. He gently strokes my hair. Boy, I survive. That wasn't so bad. I'm more scared than I thought. My inner goddess is prostrate. Well, at least she's quiet. Oh, that's awful is all I want to read. I want to. I want to read. I want to do the audio book for this.
No that was terrible. I idea he gently pulls my sweat pants down, up and down like a horse draws a horse drawn me. What is it. A horse who's called them draws in one hundred and fifty years. The horse draws my subconscious remarks bitterly in my head. I tell her where to go. Christian squirts baby oil into his hand and then rubs my behind with careful tenderness from makeup remover to soothing bone for spanked Dass. Why it was such a versatile liquid.
What sounds like an edge. It's a versatile liquid from remover to soothing balm for a sanctus. Wow, what a versatile liquid. You want something you can get it here now on Amazon. Oh my God. That was traumatizing for me. Here we go. Oh, there's more space. I can't stop. He holds out his hand. It is Parmer. Two shiny silver balls linked with a stick by beat. No, inside me I gasp and all the muscles deeply in my belly clench know my inner goddess is doing the dance of the seven veils.
Oh my. Yeah, it's a curious feeling. I've got to tell you, when they're inside me, I can't really feel them. But then again, I know they're there. Oh my. Well I have to keep bees. They make me needy for sex. If I wasn't clear. Yes. And this is for sex. Wow. I never needed to hear that. Yeah. I was the worst thing that ever had to know. I love my love.
Like I just love. Can I just say I know enough about this to know that in the last movie they get married and I'm telling you I'm eighteen years in a marriage and I'm telling you this is just this bullshit ends shortly after the wedding. Yeah. I'm telling you the fact that they get married and then he's like, well, let's go upstairs and I'm going to put you in that special leather room. Yeah. And I've got these balls that I'm going to place inside your body.
You talking about we're late for the Schlessinger's. We've got to go. I told Connie would be I'd be there, but no, I just it takes doesn't take that long and you have to be a good guy. Don't talk to me about this good girl stuff. I told you I emailed you this morning and you know, we're going to Schlessinger's and we're bringing a pot pie. I would have been really happy if this never happened. Yeah, well, I hope I killed that that popular series for everybody.
I think so. Yeah, I think you did it. That was awful. Yeah. In every sense of the word. But in a way, I think the way I read it, it's safe for everybody. Like, I could read that to anybody and they would be. No, because it doesn't sound sexual at all, you know what I mean? I take all the sex out of it. You really do. Yeah, it's incredible with my voice somehow.
Made it family friendly. I did. I turned it into sounds like I'm reading IKEA instructions, you know. I mean, it sounds like I'm reading I might as well be reading a recipe for, you know, fruit salad or something. Yeah, yeah.
Although I still feel the need to go back and put a little disclaimer, something like, by the way, I had to come back and put this disclaimer in that some of the language you're going to hear isn't safe for children, although the tone is very safe. Yeah, although it's set in such a way. What Koenen is about to say is not safe for children, but the way he's saying it has removed all erraticism. Yeah. Because of the boner killing power of his voice warning.
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Conan O'Brien needs a friend with Sunim Obsession and Conan O'Brien as himself produced by me, Matt Cawley, executive produced by Adam Sex, Joanna Solotaroff and Jeff Ross at Team Coco and Colin Anderson and Chris Bannon at Airwolf. Theme song by The White Stripes. Incidental Music by Jimmy Luisito. Our supervising producer is Aaron Belayer and our associate talent producer is Jennifer Samples. The show is engineered by Will Beckton. You can rate and review the show on Apple podcast and you might find your review featured on a future episode.
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