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Hi, my name is Nisi Nash Betts, and I feel very sexy about being Conan O'Brien's friend.


Yes. I've been listening to years and years of people say I feel less than enthused.


And that's part of why I feel sexy, because I have to pull up for you. I'm team Coco. Like, I'm in it.


Look at me. I just look like I sort of work at the library. Fall is here, hear the l, back to school, ring the bell brand new shoes walk and lose climb the fence books and pens I can tell that we are going to be friends I can tell that we are going to be friends hey there. Welcome to Conan O'Brien needs a friend. I just hit Sona with a pen on the hand. It was my way of trying to control you. It was childish, and I admit that it was wrong.


Okay. Do you apologize?


No, I do not.


Oh, okay. You just admit you did something wrong, but you don't want to apologize.


Exactly. Welcome. This is Sona Mosesian, who's speaking now regular on the show, my assistant. And we have a little treat today. I don't want to say it like it's an exciting good news. Matt Gorley. Matt Gorley couldn't be with us today, but sitting in his stead is my backup assistant who took over.


He's kind of your main assistant now.


Not kind of. He is my assistant because you do nothing. David hopping. David hopping. Welcome to the show. Thank you. David hopping. Just in case you're not familiar with him, David hopping came in to sort of take over Sona when you were with child? Yes, actually with two children. Yeah. Mikey and Charlie.


You called rub and Tug?


I called him in the womb. I called them rub and tug. Yes, but then they were born and you christened them Mikey and Charlie. Great armenian names. Real testament to your love of your homeland. And then I really was thinking it was going to be like Gregoo and Gogor. No, but I mean, those are legitimate names, right? I thought they'd be cool.


The ones you just said.


Yeah. No, they're meaning.


Isn't it gibberish?


Oh, great.


Gregor and Google.


I don't know. I was doing my best to honor your culture, and then I realized I didn't do any research, which is a terrible way to honor someone's culture.


No, you're doubling down.


I am doubling down.


Even better.


So we're joined by someone who's really taken up the slack and then some. David hopping, you've done a wonderful job. Oh, thank you. I mean, I just want to say, everything I learned about being an assistant, I learned from.


And he's doing a great job. Hey, what's positive reinforcement like?




Oh, okay.


Do you think I give you positive? I treat you. That's really nice. I treat you so much better than Sony. You send me, like, texts saying, like, I'm doing a good job.




Those aren't me. Who is it? That's an AI bot. We had that constructed. Aaron Blair made that for me. When you get those every now and then, and it just says, you're doing a good job, and I value you and things like that. I have nothing to do with that. Have you noticed that they're signed Cronin? C-I-O-N-A-I just figured you were losing it. Yeah. Even the ones that say, I'm so sorry for your loss? Those are randomly generated because you haven't had a loss recently. Doesn't it confuse you when you just wake up in the morning? It says, david, I'm so sorry for your loss, Cronin. Yeah, that is a little weird. But I just checked to make sure no one I know died. Oh, my God. David, tell us a little bit. I asked you a lot about your childhood, your youth. You grew up in a very rural area of southern Illinois called Carlinville. Yes. And I actually went online, and you can do street views. It is very flat in Carlinville. Very flat. And a lot of corn. And I looked at your house, and there's just literally, like a house. Yes.


You told me your address. I asked you. I went, and I looked the street view. It was your house. And then just corn. And way in the distance, a silo. And then I took a stab and said, I bet you guys spent a lot of time hanging out at the local DQ. And you said, yes, the DQ was huge. And that's not a put sound because I love a dairy queen.


Dairy Queen.


Dairy Queen's awesome lizard. You did, right? Yeah, that's pretty much your childhood was watching the corn grow from your back window and then hitting the DQ. I mean, I wouldn't just sit and watch it grow, but I would, like, do other things. Did you make little markings on the window, like, that's the top of the corn now? No, but then come back an hour later and it's a little higher. I would never do that. Okay.


Can I ask you a question?




When you found out where he's from, did you google and look at where he's from just so you could come up with things to make fun of.


Him for yes, I did.


Okay. I thought so.


Yes, I did.


You were doing your research.


Yeah. Just as I did with you.


Yeah, I know.


That's why I immediately got a globe of the world and I found Armenia. Not a real globe. Yeah. The last guy who I walked past a computer and went to a 1940s globe and looked up Armenia. And when I say looked up, I mean spun it around until I found it.


Oh, wow.


Yeah. But anyway, you're doing a very nice job. And I bet you your family, your folks back home must be proud of you. I think so, yeah. What do you mean, I think so? You're working. Do they say, what's Conan like? People ask a lot about what you're like. Yeah. And what do you say? I usually say that you're like, nice. A glowing report from David hopping. Yeah, you're welcome in Carlinville anytime. I'd like to go there with. You played. Remember? I did some sketches with you back in the day when you first came on and you weren't even really my assistant yet. Yeah. I forget what you were doing at the show. I think just hanging around. Well, I was your pa. Yeah, you are. Your errands. Okay. I want to check out David Hoppey. You can see these on YouTube. I did that one where they gave me a wig and I was your successor. Yes. I wanted to groom a successor in case something happens to me or I'm grievously injured. We want someone who could step right into the breach. And so we put a Conan wig on you, and I tried to train you to be me.


Yeah. You chose the most awkward person. But it's really funny, though. It's really funny. But you are really funny. It's very good. If you want to see what. And I know you have your own podcast. I do. Called back to the best. Back to the best. Where you explore the obsessions is just in general. Well, yeah. A specific actress who I'm thinking of, of course. Hillary Duff. Yeah. Lizzie McGuire. No, she's not here. This isn't Oprah. Look under your seat. It's Hillary Duff. But, you know, you could probably get her here, right? She won't pick up the phone for. Can't. No, I will one day. It's my quest to get you to meet Hillary Duff. Oh, man. I don't know her. I don't really know Hillary Duff.


But Cher, he really loves Cher, too.




Can you meet? Can we meet Cher?


No, Cher is. I mean, come on. That's Cher.




She's like a goddess. There's no way.


She's to David. Hey, you're doing a great job. Hey, I'll introduce you to your idol. And then I'm over here and it's like, where's Cher?


I'll do an impression for you. Okay. Hillary duffs at home. And someone calls from the next room. Hillary, Conan O'Brien would like to speak to you. My guess is she. Huh? Okay, I'll talk to him. Right. Reasonable. Now let's go into the Cher world. Cher? What is Cher? It's me, your assistant. Conan O'Brien was like the. Who the fuck cares? I thought he was dead. That's the impression. And I think those are fairly accurate. So you're not meeting Cher, but you are definitely going to meet Hillary Duff. I'm going to arrange it. Yeah. So I'll take care of that. It's the best day. I'm having the best time. Oh, good. I love it here. I got compliments and Hillary dust coming up.


It's great for you.


Thanks for having. Yeah.


Does he call your dad?




Okay. Okay, cool.


But you know what? It is nice to see David so happy. I haven't seen him this excited since they fixed the blizzard machine at the DQ. You know, we should talk about today's show. We got a great one. My guest today has starred in such series as Reno 911, Claws and Dahmer. And now you can see her in the new movie origin. I really like this woman. I'm thrilled she's here today. Neithi Nash. Betts. Welcome. Just before I sat down to talk to you minutes ago, I was talking to a bunch of students who came by and they're all studying communications. And they wanted to know, you know, give us some advice about the business. And I talked to them for a while. And the first thing you said when I came in is this. What did you tell them? Did you tell them.


I said, did you tell them the truth?


Now you tell us what the truth is.


Oh, my goodness.


It's here.


If you want them to prepare you for show business, make sure you buy a big flat of top ramen. Yeah, you need ramen noodles.


I didn't say I lived on chicken flavored ramen noodles. And I could make a tuna fish sandwich.


Oh, yeah.


That's what I lived off of for years.


That's why you got to tell the kids, right?


I didn't say that.


You got to tell them to always make sure they have Advil or some sort of pain relieval because you get a sore back sleeping on different couches. You got to tell them these things. You got to tell them that they will talk about you right in front of your face in an audition. Like you're not even standing there. This happened to me. I'm literally in an audition. The one woman says to the guy sitting next to it, she has a cute face. Do you think she could lose weight? And I was like, I can hear you.


You're right here. So what is it? There's something like, first of all, that experience you do get know, I was always a writer. I never went just the pure acting route for good reason. And I think I saved America some bad acting. But I see how you have to go. They'll bring in 9000 people for one role and they read you and they probably stop seeing you as a person and more is just like, this is a commodity. Can we use this person? Can we not? And then they shuffle you through. And that does such a number on people's egos.


You know what? For me, I have to say that. And this is another thing you could tell the kids that I've always known that there is a difference between the call on your life and a hobby. Those are two different things. You're going to show up differently. Because when I knew that this was my plan a and my plan b was to make my plan a work, when I walked into that room, if they did not choose me, I had no problem saying, I feel so sorry for you. And I meant it with my whole check.


That's great.


You know what I mean? Because you don't know. I'm going to be the thing. You'll see. Watch and see.


Where do you get that confidence? Because a lot of people would kill to have that confidence. I get that confidence if I've had a lot to drink. No, really, just a lot to drink. I feel like if you're missing out on this and my wife says, shut up, I am it. And she's like, you're really not. But that's how I feel. If I've had some kind of substance.


Well, I would probably have to say very early on I just chose to believe the manufacturer. I'm like, you know what I mean?




When I pray and I understand what my marching orders are, what I sense in my spirit is for me and I just move forward with reckless abandon. I don't even think about it not happening. And when people don't see it, I'm like, oh, okay. Even from when I met Ed Asner as a kid on the Hollywood walk of fame, I told him I was like, I know you don't know me. My name is Nisi. I'm going to get a star right here one day. And he was like, yeah, kids, scram.


He put a cigar out on your head, basically.


And I was screaming as he was walking away, remember? My know. So I didn't have a doubt about it.


But then you got a star and.


I invited him to come.


You seriously did?


I invited him to come. He sent me a letter and said I reminded him of our conversation. He said, I'm glad you didn't let a crotchety old man keep you from your dream. And he said, of course I know your name. And he drew a star and he wrote my name in it and he said he could not come. But the day before my ceremony, I got a call and he said, I'll be there.




And he came.


That's amazing.


Yeah, he came to my star ceremony.


There's no other word than some sort of divine voice in you that tells you this is going to work.


Yes. And even though you have it, it doesn't mean you don't have days. Tell the kids this too. Get you some knee pads, because you're going to be crawling across that floor, holling, and crying because there are some things you want so bad. And even though you know, everything is divinely ordered in your humanity, we just want what we want, when we want it and how we want it. So I've had days like that where people didn't see me like I saw myself. People thought I was a one trick pony for a long time. They're like, oh, no, you do comedy. We know what you do. And I'm like, I can do more than that. You know the adage, people who can make you laugh can make you cry. The reverse is not always true.




You know what I mean?


Yes, I do.


Your best dramatic actors you're probably never going to see on a comedy and a multicam coming this fall. You're not. You're just not. But somebody who can make you laugh has the bandwidth, has the agency, has the depth to also bring you to tears. And I was like, give me a chance. And for a long time they said no. And then finally I got a chance. And now I'm doing so much drama, I think people forgot I'm funny. I'm like, oh, Lord, Tony, write me a script.


Did you feel like, well, first of all, when I first knew you, and a lot of people knew you as someone who's just really naturally funny, you're very gifted, you're very naturally funny. And that is how I first knew you and you'd come on the show. And I thought, I'm always fascinated to figure out when did you realize you were funny? Did you always know where you went is when you were a little kid. That's usually when people figure it out. They figured at a very early age that I've got this power, I've got this thing I can do.


I always knew that I was funny, but I didn't know that comedy was a gift because I got in trouble for it. I got pinched in church for clowning around. You know what I mean?


Like a nun by my mama. Oh, but you're your mom.


Yeah. Okay, knock it off.


So you knew you're assailant. That's the important thing. You could identify you're assailant. Yeah.


And I would get talks too much on my report card. And my mother's like, well, what are you in class talking about? Sometimes I tell jokes. She's like, I got a joke, go get the belt. You know what I mean? And so I got in trouble for it. So I didn't know it was a gift until 1993. My brother was murdered on his high school campus. And my mother says, I'm getting into bed and I'm never getting back out. So I'm like, well, what could I do? And I was like, 22, 23, and I'm like, I don't know what to do. But I do know I can make my mama laugh. So I started performing at the foot of her bed. Every day I would come over there and do my bit and do my jokes and do my voices. And one day I came over and she wasn't in the bed. And I said, mama, she said, we're in here. And I'm like, who is we? Well, I went across the street and got Miss Brown and Miss Sadie, and I told him, you was funny. Get that karaoke microphone and stand up there and tell these people some jokes.


I was like, what is happening? And so in that moment, I tapped the karaoke mic. Is this thing on? How's everybody doing in the living room? I don't know what I'm saying. What am I doing up here?


Be good to your waitress. She works hard.


And so as I'm telling my things and doing my bit, that's when I realized that comedy was healing. I realized it was a gift. And that voice said to me, because I was trying to get jobs as a very serious actress, I'm like, listen, are they doing part six of roots? I would love to be the lead. Know, I wanted to cry and fall all out on camera. Couldn't get a job anywhere in.


Who was your role model as a kid for the actress that you wanted to be, do you think?


Oh, when I was younger, probably more like, know, like that kind of a vibe. Diana Ross in mahogany, but majestic.


These are majestic. Yeah.


And so when I'm standing there saying these jokes in the karaoke microphone, the voice as audible as my own, says, nisi, don't be a selfish heifer. It's a lot of people suffering. Go outside and spread this joy around. And I went outside, and I said, my name is Nisi Nash, and I'm funny. And they were like, yes, you are, little girl. Let us give you a job. And that was when I knew it was a lot more to know.


Yeah. But it's interesting that, for me, it was a revelation that this thing I can do to cheer up my mom or make people laugh in a tense situation. There's a job that you could. It's actually a job. I didn't know it was a job. I mean, I grew up in Boston in the 1970s. I wasn't bumping into people in show business. I didn't know that it was a job for the longest time, which was kind of a cool thing to find out. I thought, this is just something you do with people for fun. And, I mean, even the way Sona and I. Sona was my assistant, and we would always mess with each other, screw around, and then people would laugh, and then we'd put it on camera. Now it's like this mini industry. You didn't know that this would happen when you signed up to be my assistant?


No, I didn't.


You thought you'd be getting me, like, foot inserts for the rest of your life.


I did that, too.


And by the way, I need them again.


Oh, okay.


Last time.


I don't assist you anymore.




New guy.


Yeah. We need the new foot insert.


My orthotics.


But, I mean, that was just something that was natural and real, and then you realize that's all there is, is just if we can put a camera on or a microphone. But I didn't know. It took me a while to know that.




And you knew. You get into it.


Well, I knew I was a lover first and then funny second. I mean, I remember I liked a boy when I was in kindergarten, and I knew something told me, doll up, look nice. So I begged my grandmother to let me wear my Sunday dress, which was a purple velveteen. And my long socks and my patent leather shoes and my rabbit jacket. Back then in the 70s, they used to take a little pieces of rabbit and make you a little jacket out of it. My rabbit jacket and I put a piece of candy in my sock.


Wait a minute. You put a piece of candy where?


In my sock. In your sock. So I could offer him a piece.


Of candy in your sock?


Because I didn't have pockets.


No, I understand that you didn't. So you'd say, would you like a.


Piece of candy and pull it out.


Of my sock and then put out of your sock. And that way that draws attention to the leg and the ankle.


Come on.


I never thought of that.


I'm going to try that.


And now when I talk to people and say, I got some candy in my sock, it's got a different vibe.


It's going to have a way different vibe.


I got candy in my sock.


Don't do it, Coco. Not the van.


The van doesn't work. It's a fun blocks. I got a marathon bar in my sock. It's not good. It's not good.


No. In kindergarten it works. Now not so much.


Yeah, so many things were looked cool back then and now we're just creepy.




For a while. You said you felt like you got pigeonholed. Typecast pigeonholed, whatever you want to call it, siloed as you're the funny person. It's like on Reno 911. They probably people love you and then they think that's what you do. Right?


That's it. That's what you do. Yeah, we know you, and we know what you know how to do and you know how to do that. And it took a long time to get people to see me, how I see myself. You know what I mean? I'm a multi hyphenate. I can do all the things. You know what I mean? Don't put this baby in the corner and tell me I'm only one thing. You know what I mean? But I'm happy now because I feel like my peers get it.




They're like, oh, okay.


And I'm curious. In that whole time, you just knew you could do it. Were you studying acting at all or did you? Because initially when you got into comedy, they asked you, can you do improv?




And you lied.


I lied my way into it.


But you know what? You just said I could when you had never. Did you know what improv was?




Okay. You know what's so funny? It occurred to me that is improv. Can you do improv? Yes. I can, yeah, because that's what improv is. Is. Yes. And so, of course, you lied.


I lied. And then I called my friend Big George, and I was like, what the hell is improv? And he was like, they also wanted me to do sketch. I had never done that before either, but I was like, yes. You know what I mean? And I just called my friend and said, what do I have to do? I'm like, oh, just be dumb. Like I always. I'm around my house doing the same make me up stupid stuff I'm already doing.




Hey, I could do that.


Yeah. Well, also, that's a natural thing. If I didn't know you and you didn't know me, and you were working at a bank and I came in and we would start goofing around, the two of us, and we'd make something.


Oh, yeah.


Because I would know right away I'd say something maybe silly to you and you'd come right back with stuff that was ten times funnier and sillier, and before you know it, that's what we'd be doing.


Yeah, it would be a big deal.


That's not because we're in this profession.


It's because. Do you know how many times, let me tell you something. When the people tell you this call may be monitored for training person, that's a true statement. I used to answer phones on a midnight shift for an airline whose name I'm not going to say. And I got in trouble so many times because it's the graveyard shift. And I'm like, I could work on characters while I answer the phone. Well, guess what, guys? You can't. You're not supposed to do that. I'm like, good evening. Where you want to go now? And that lady in that tower would always point her finger and be like. And everybody would laugh at me because they're like, she getting in trouble again? Yes. To your point, if we were at.


The bank, it's so funny that you mentioned that, because when I'm on any call and they say, by the way, I'm trying to activate a credit card or trying to do something, and they say, this call is being monitored, I feel I got to take it up a notch because they know my name and I think, well, they might be listening to this later on. So that's when I start sticking it up a little bit. And sometimes they're laughing, but other times they're like, we just want to finish this process. And no, we're not going to all gather around later and listen to your really funny observations about american express or Mastercard. No. Hey, everybody, come. I just talked to Conan. He gave me some good stuff, and it's been monitored. Let's check it out. That's not going to happen.


People at work who just want to go home.


They just want to go home. That's it. They want to get this idiot his credit card activated. So you said you could do improv and then quickly realized, yeah, I can do it. Of course I can.


I'm going to figure it out. You know what I mean? But it's so funny, because when I auditioned for Reno, I did not know enough to know that you should kind of, like, work on a bit. You should workshop it, see where the jokes are and that kind of thing. I just didn't know enough to know. So when I got the call back, I was like, I could do the same thing I did last time. I said, but I found this handkerchief in the backseat of my car, and I was thinking about something on the way over here called Carol the slave. Y'all want to see it? They said, do we? And do it now. You know what I mean? And so it was just that by the seat of my pants, because what I knew for sure, I don't know if you're going to book me on this job, but I know my ass is funny now that I do know. So I did not fear the thing that I was the most comfortable in. You kind of know what I'm saying?




So, advantage, disadvantage. I don't know. I just feel like people want to work, getting back to those kids with people that they like at the end of the day, you know what I mean? Your first minute is just to get them to like you, you know what I mean? And not have that desperation that stinks up the room, like, oh, my God, if you don't do this, I'm gonna have to move back to Nebraska next week. You know what I mean? If I don't get this job. But just like, this is who you.


Know, it's funny because you brought up something else, too, which is, especially in comedy, but I think true in a lot of things, confidence. If people get the sense that you are okay, like, an audience will look at you, and if they know, hey, I'm fine with whatever happens, I got this. They relax. It's kind of a salesman job, but they relax and think, wow, Niecy knows what she's know. We just brought her in, and boy, is she relaxed, and boy, is she almost. It makes it happen, I think.


Listen, my grandmother used to tell me, I remember I had a baby, and baby, I don't know what happened. This body ran away from me and it was meaty, cheesy and greasy, and I didn't feel comfortable and I didn't feel confident. And my grandmama looked me dead in my eyes. She said, baby, when you's the only naked woman in a room, you looks good, grandma. Mike, drop. Let me take my clothes off right now. Sometimes you just gotta, you know what I mean? You got to roll with what you got.


Yeah, well, I've been doing that. What I got. Did you get confidence like that from your mom?


I don't want to make my mom feel bad, but no, I didn't.


I just wanted to take a moment and make your mom feel bad.


No, it's different. But you're right after you have a baby, because I had babies a couple of years ago, and you feel very differently about it. So it's nice to know somebody said that to you when you needed to hear that. Yeah, it's all those confidence boosters.


How many kids you have? Three kids. And how old are they? What's their range?


I think my son, did he just have a birthday? Yeah. You start to forget I have two.


Kids and I can't even recall their names at this moment.


Yeah. My son is 32. I have a girl that's 27 and a baby girl that's 24.


Did they show the same interest in doing what you're doing?


Yes. All wanted to do it. But also, too, I think when you grow up with your mom on tv, if you're good at your job, you make it look easy.




You know what I mean? It's like, my mom can do that. I can do that. You know what I mean? And it wasn't unusual to sit down on a Saturday morning and my mom is hosting clean house. That's on skip, skip, skip. Oh, Reno 911 is on. My mama. Not going to let me watch that. Skip, skip, skip. Oh, my mama was in a movie. That's, you know what I mean? It wasn't unusual to find me somewhere on television. And so very early on, they all were like, oh, pick me, pick me, pick me.


Because they just think that's normal. You made it normal.


Yeah. And it was like, that's what I want to do. And so they're all in some sort of entertainment right now. Yeah, all of them.


When my boy was, I think he was four years old and he saw me do some big show in a big venue. And afterwards he turned to my wife and he said, when I grow up, I want to do something that doesn't happen in a theater or with people. I thought, man, I must have been bad. And to his credit, he loves comedy, and I think he likes what I do. But that was not his thing.


Not his thing.


But he knew right away he saw his dad making a fool of himself on the Beacon theater in front of a couple of thousand people and said, no, that is not for me. I'm not doing that.


I love it. And I've worked with my kids, too. We had a reality show at one point together, and I really only did that for them just so you could get a taste of it. You got to get up in the morning. You got to do this. I want to show you what it is. But all of them have, at some point or another, been cast in something that I've done. My youngest daughter played my daughter in the series Monster, the Jeffrey Dahmer story that was on Netflix. That was my real daughter. She also played.


Wow, okay.


She also played a younger version of me in a tv show that I had called Claus. And my middle girl guested with me on a series that I just did called the Rookie Feds. So my son was with me on the soul, man. Like, they've all, at some point or.


Another, experienced it through your lens, which.


Is good, you know what I mean? And so I was like, I'm going to show you, but I'm not show manager. You know what I mean? And I'm not going to try to run your career and tell you what you need to do. You want to do a self tape? I'll read with you. But I'm not calling around town to get you a job. That's your job, right? Because when I'm dead and gone, if I'm the only person who ever gave you a job, what are you going to do?




So you got to learn it, and if you really want it, time is going to tell. That's how I parent.


Well, I was going to ask you for a job, but now I'm not going to.


Well, you might be different.


No, I'm not. I had the experience recently of doing something that was more serious on this project and hasn't come out yet. But I was very self conscious about it at first because it's very different if your whole life is listening for the laughs, and then you've got to inhabit this other space where you've got to just actually sense if it's working or if it's not working and it's gelling. And I'm wondering, when you first were switching over, did you feel, when you were doing dramatic parts, did it feel at all alien to you? Or was it just like water?


When I first started? Yes. It felt foreign to me because it was a muscle that I didn't get to exercise in my craft, you know what I mean? I could take a multicam script and read it in the car at the stoplight and get to work and already have three choices. Leave them wanting more. You know what I mean? I'm going to do this in front of the live audience. I'm going to do that and I'm going to give them another. You know what I mean? Because it was such in my dna. But the other part I never forget. Honey, let's get back to Mamas. My mama told me, she said, now, you know what? You real funny. And you got that natural. You got that. But on that drama side, you need some work. You don't do that too good. So here's what mama's going to do.


She said that.


She said, I'm going to work overtime, okay, to get the money. You find the best class in town, and I'm going to pay for it. Because if you don't do it, you do it right. Well, my mother said, that's incredible. That's when I went somewhere and tried to figure it out. And I was so lucky that I found then a class where you used to bring a VHS. Children, that's a videotape. There were these machines, but you could take.


They were a big brick.


That's what I had.


The big quarter inch or three quarter inch. I think it was like a piece of concrete that was your right on up in there.


And I would go back home and just watch it and see what I could do different and try to watch it. But now you can also, because you know what we look for? We're looking for the reaction to make sure we did the bit. But you see it in the face of the crew. You see it when you do a scene and you know if it's popping or not. When a crew is like, yeah, you know what I mean? Or they choke up, you know what I mean?


They walk off when they stop eating for a second, the fried bread, you know, you got them.


That's it.


When they drift away from the craft food service table, you know, you got them.


That part.


Yeah. I always used to try, and, I mean, this always relates more to comedy, but when I was working on anything, I knew that if it was at a venue where there's, like, wait staff or anybody, if they're hanging out watching and they seem to be chuckling. That meant more to me than anything. I felt like, okay, these are people that aren't. They're not here to laugh. They don't have to laugh. They don't even have to listen. But it's a very different vibe indeed. But, yeah, it's interesting that you mentioned that with the crew. Like, they're people and they will pick up and they see a lot. They see people come and go. Oh, yeah. And you can see if you've got them. That really means something.


It means something.


I'm just curious, what kind of acting classes did you take? Was there a certain method that you were learning?


I don't even remember the teacher or anything. I just remember taking a class where you had to bring your videotape in every week and then they would tape you and then watch it back and critique you and tell you all of the things. And then I just kept trying and trying and trying. And I really just felt like I wanted to get it right. And where it turned a corner for me was this series that I did on HBO called getting on. Yeah, that was where it turned a corner because even though it was a comedy, I guess a workplace, it's so.


Interesting because I love the show, but it's so funny because we're in this new world now where I think it's harder and harder to label things a comedy or a drama because getting on could be really funny but also very touching and then just heartbreaking.


So I don't know what call it. Yeah, but I was always so broad. All of my bits, all of my stuff that I had done before that were always so broad. And this was so small, so panicimo. So to me, it very much felt like if you play the scene for real, it's a drama for me. You play it for real, you don't play it for the joke. And you say it with as much of a straight face. You're not waiting for the. But the lines are just rolling into the next one. And I was like, oh, boy. And I remember the producer coming in, he says, hey, listen, I know you've never done anything like this before, but if you play your cards right, you, lady will be on the e list. And I thought, my God, kathy griffin is on the d list. What's lower than that? Do I want to be on the e list?


You'll someday maybe get up to kathy griffin's level.


Weird thing for someone to say but then he kept talking, and I was sitting there just about to cry. And I was like, he really thinks he doesn't think that much of me. And he said, because when you get nominated for that emmy, I said, okay, yeah, I got it now. I was like, yeah, but that was after I died inside. And he was right. And I got the nomination. So he was right.


Our culture just so avoids older people and so avoids. And to a point where if you look at ads and you drive around, you just look at magazines and everything, you'd think that old people didn't even exist. And for a show to actually make the whole focus about that elderly, the elderly on that stage, so much stage of life. But then also, I think that's why the humor was such a relief on the show. You could create that tension. And then things were that much funnier to me because you're dealing with such a third rail topic.


One of the ladies in the show I was in a scene with, and they kept trying to yell and tell her she was talking too loud. And he said, what? And tell her she's talking too loud. And I said, well, he just wants me to let you know you're talking too loud. You could talk a little softer. Oh, that comes from my years in vaudeville, dear. I was like, okay. So at lunchtime, we talked about vaudeville. I would tell me everything.


I killed it in 1911. This latest movie that you did, origin, it was based on this book, cased. Cast cased. I want to differentiate it from cast, meaning most people thinking cast of a show or something, and that's how it's pronounced. But it's talking about this levels in society. And it was this book that really talked about how calling a situation racist is really kind of almost oversimplifying it because we all have different ways of marginalizing people.




And I thought that was a really cool idea. And so Ava Deverne turned it into this movie, which is this beautiful idea. And it's a very different kind of movie in a lot of ways. It's not afraid to try everything and anything to get the message across.


Yeah. It was so interesting because now, let's say it's a very deep, thought provoking film. But when Ava called me, she was like, I have this movie. And I wrote this part with you in mind.


How cool is that, by the way?


Well, first of all, it's amazing.




Second of all, this is where the wheels fell off of it, though. She's like, yeah, I need you to bring some lightness and humor to it. I said to this movie, you know what I'm saying? This is a tear jerker. What do you want? And so she said, but that's why I need just a little brightness in it. And that was where we really had to trust each other. I said, well, you know what I mean? I can give you some sauce for the ribs, but it's not on the page, you know what I mean? So I have to find it just in character.


But also, talk about trust. You're making a movie that is about the most electrifying, upsetting topic in the world today. And that is really what the movie is all about. And the different ways that people dehumanize and degrade each other. And then you're being asked by not just anybody, but Eva Deverne, too, can you lighten this up a little bit? And it's not like you're doing it on stage in front of a couple thousand people who will let you know that you're doing it the correct way. That seems terrifying to me. You're going to find out later on, when it's all put together, whether what you were doing looks right or feels to somebody insensitive or off the mark.


But you also got to trust your gift. That's another note. You could tell them kids downstairs, trust your gift.


I'm taking these for myself.


I know you need to listen.


I'm writing everything down.


Yeah, trust your gift. Because at this point, I know my instrument and I trust it. You know what I mean? And even in the scenes where I had scenes with Angenue Ellis, our lead, who did such a beautiful job in this movie, where we had to look at photographs and they were just like little pickup scenes to get us into the scene. Like it said, we find them laughing. Well, you know me, I'm like, at what? You know what I mean? Anjanu doesn't cry through the whole movie, so I know she don't got jokes. Here I come. I'm ready. I'm ready. So what I did was because I told her a different story every time they said, action. A different make me up story. So her laughs in those moments were real, were genuine. Yeah. And it was like my little gift to her. Because you have suffered so much loss in this film, you're crying through this movie. You're going traveling across the country, revisiting all of these painful parts of history. And this is the least I could do. This night. We sat at this table to give you a little relief from that, you know what I mean?


And I took pride in that I said, that's my job, to provide provision for the vision in this moment. And that's what it called for.


Do you ever just even take a second and look back at your journey from you making your mom laugh to. It's a really beautiful arc working on these projects now. It's a crazy journey when you look at the whole thing, because anyone can take one section, they can go and watch origin and see you in that and go, oh, that's cool. But when you see the whole journey, it's pretty mind blowing.


It brings tears to my eyes, to be honest with you, because I'm like, it's what it says to me, and what I say to my children and them kids downstairs is that dreams come true. They absolutely come true. You know what I mean? And if you look at me, you know what I mean? Somebody who had no background in any of it didn't know what sketch was improv was. And here I am, still 20 some od years later, still putting on the baby hair in the booty from Reno 911, you know what I mean? The longest running sketch bit that has been on television. It's mind blowing, but I feel so much gratitude for it.


I've always heard it was your idea to put on the prosthetic fake booty. Is that true? That's a fact.


Because you know why? Because the women in my family, I did not see them on tv. You know what I mean? Now, you could buy a butt on every corner. You know what I mean? You can buy one on every corner. But then it wasn't popular to have all of the. You know what I mean? And I went to so many booty fittings like, you don't even understand, and they couldn't get it right because they were building it straight back. So I went to my girlfriend, and I brought her up there, who had the natural slamma Jama, and I'm like, you see, you got to start from the hips and wrap it around. So I got the booty right. It was really.


I love that you brought your friend in. What was your friend's name?


I don't know if I should say it.


Okay. You just mean it's a compliment. What I love saying to your friend, hey, come on over here. I need your ass. Get your ass over here. Literally. Get your ass over here.


Literally. And, you know, let me tell you something. That friend of mine, true story, her butt and my up top was how we got to look prince right in the face. We didn't have tickets to this Grammy party. He was at. So we went around the side, and there was a security guard. I said, girl, you know what to do. She started walking backwards. I started walking forwards. I was like, come on. And we walked over there. So he let us in the back door. So we get in the party, and then we lied and said that I'm always lying to get a job, right? We lied and said she was prince's cousin. The purple one was behind his door. So we walk up to security like, yeah, we need to get in there. She's like, I'm his cousin. I'm like, yep, she's his cousin. And he looked at us up and down. He said, 1 minute. He closes the door and goes. The door opens, it is Prince. He looks at us, and before we could take a breath, he said, nice try. And close the door in our face. I said, but we got to see him.


He said, nice try. To us, that is so cool. And I don't even know what that had to do with the booty, but.


The point is, she walked backwards. She got everything in life. We deny this card. Oh, yeah, check this out. The card works.


Conan's so jealous right now.


Okay, let's talk about famously. I have no ass. There's just nothing back there. It's a straight drop. And I'm thinking I should get a prosthetic. Is there something they make for men?


It's done right. You should bring a friend in who has the right butt and then have them do it.


I don't know what the right.


You want me to call my friend?


Yeah, exactly. You should come. And I should say, I want this.


But the point I was making is that that butt wasn't popular back then. That body type. Not even the butt, just the body type. And I wanted to be somebody that my aunties could look at and see themselves. And so I was like, I want to look like the women in my family. And I have to tell you, so many men met me in life after and were so disappointed that I didn't have the thing on. They were like, you lost weight. I'm like, no.


I can go get it. It's in the back of the car.


Yeah, keep it with me at all. You could borrow hers.


Well, don't they make something for men?


No, I'm just saying you could borrow the one she uses for Reno 911.


All right, maybe I can have a name for it. You nicknamed it.


I did not. But you know, my prosthetic one, like, I have one that I will wear under the uniform, but the prosthetic one that I wore with the thong bathing suit. That one. Somebody stole it.


You bet they did.


It was in a temperature control locker somewhere.


If I knew where that was, I'd grab it, take it on vacation. I don't want to talk about what I'm going to do to it. That's my business. Baiting my privacy. Right now. I buy two airline tickets and the prosthetic ass is in the other one. And we both have a glass of champagne. Oh, my God.


When you make yourself laugh, you've gone too far. Come back from over there.


Ashamed of myself. Thing is about you, and I've talked to you many times. You're always you. I don't think you're any different. After all the success. You're such a real person. You're such a force. I think that's the real gift, don't you think? Wouldn't you say that's true? I know people who've had a lot of success and they go through a machine and I don't recognize them as much later on. You know what I mean? I don't know if you've encountered that, but I encounter people who. But you are always you in the best way. You're just like this, pure. I was thinking about it today. We're going to have a really good time. And that's just from experience, just from knowing you.


I haven't seen you since I got newly married, though.


That's right. You got married in two years ago.


Three now.


Three years ago. Okay.


I got married in 2020. I haven't seen you since.


And I don't think I've met your partner, have I?


No, you have not.




No, you have not. I haven't met anyone I was married to. I mean, I've seen you a couple of times. I mean, you know what? I've been married three times. I've seen you at least through two.


You always made sure that everyone else was gone when you. And.


My name is Nisi Nash Betts, and I feel sexy about being Conan O'Brien's friend.


Your wife is Jessica, is that right? Yes.


I don't call her my wife.




I call her my husband.


I love that.


That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Yeah. And how did you guys meet?


Well, we came to know of each other in social media, but the first time we actually saw each other face to face was on a movie set. But I was married and she was in a long term relationship, so I didn't think nothing about it.


You know what?


I mean, right? And then some years later, about four and a half years later, I was divorced, she was out of her long term relationship, and we went to go eat crabs, and the rest is history.


Yeah. I've seen you in interviews together, and you just seem so happy, which makes me happy.


Thank you, friend.


It's infectious, this happy thing.


Yeah. It's a good time. We are here for a good time, not a long time. So you got to hit your wagon of something that's going to make you happy.


And so many great sayings. I think you've dropped, like, 15 great sayings.




We should pull all of these in the episode and make bumper stickers. I'll see that you get 8%. That's 8%, not gross.


You're so generous.


I'm a really good guy. You're going to see that. Well, I can't thank you enough for coming by. This has been thank you like a shot in the arm. Having you as a friend is a big deal.


You better know it. Say that louder for the people in the back. For those kids down the hall.


I had security throw them out about half an hour ago. I thought, they've got it too. Good. Well, thank you so much for being here, and all I wish for you is more happiness. And keep spreading your joy. Keep doing your thing.


I sure will. Thank you so much.


And please lend me the prosthetic ass, because no one's ever needed it more than me.


Anything for you.


Yeah. Tailors are shocked when they try and fit pants on me. They're like, there's literally nothing back here. Thank you so much. A number of weeks back, you really laid into Blay about how he was dressed, right? Yeah. And if you'll remember, we asked him to come back looking his best in a formal suit and as sober a gentleman as he could possibly be. Yeah. I do think there's a generation that's lost its way, and they're always wearing ironic t shirts and kooky watches and bucket hats, and they're not kids anymore.


Bucket hats?


Yeah. You know what I mean. Just the whole. Blay has worked with me for a very long time. I knew him when he was a kid and when his attire was appropriate, but for his own sake, I thought it'd be nice if he just took a chance on dressing up in Blay. Here you are. And I have to say, you look fantastic. Wow.


I don't like this.


What do you mean? I think awesome.


You look very handsome, but this is not everyday blay.


Well, okay. As you know, him. But if you only knew Daniel Craig as a guy that wore. If I only knew Daniel Craig. Keep your nighttime fantasies out of my show. If we only knew. Daniel Craig is a guy who wore cargo pants and a who farted t shirt, and then he suddenly dressed as James Bond. One day you might feel like, I don't know about this, but look at you. Look you. Thank you. I don't feel good. Why? I feel weird, man. First of all, I like to be fashionable, and I like to be comfortable. There's too many clothes on. I'm wearing too much clothes. Really? Well, if there's an undershirt, then there's this shirt. Oh, I didn't say wear an undershirt. Who made you wear an undershirt? Well, this is what you wear when you dress up. You wear a suit. I know, but you don't have to wear an undershirt. Yeah. This is not blade. This is not the blade. I feel like you're about to drive me to the airport. Thank you. I got nice shoes on.


Look at these shoes. You got a normal watch.


I got a Rolex. I'm wearing a Rolex. Wait a minute. Where did you get the. Wait. A birthday present from my mom. Yeah. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Stop the show. Okay. Your mother on your birthday gave you a Rolex? What is she, president? Yeah. What the hell? Well, because she knows I like watches, and my mother on my birthday would make me a poached egg. You always make fun of my watches, so I thought I'd wear a nice watch. Because you always wear watches where it's a joke. The watch costs $3. It's bright yellow. It's made of marshmallow. It doesn't tell time. It's from Japan. A nuclear reactor thing. You got to count up the minutes. Whatever. Yeah. And it's. Aha. Isn't it funny? I can't tell time. Yeah, okay. Thank you. But your mother gave you a 40th birthday. It's a nice birthday. She gave me. My whole point being, this is me dressed nice, and I think you look great. I don't see a problem. I came in today, every single person looked at me weird. Everyone's like, no, first of all, everyone thinks I'm either going to a funeral or presiding over a funeral.


Well, first of all. Or you're actually the body, or you look like they just popped the casket. Just gave it one last check to make sure if this guy's really gone. Oh, yeah, he's dead, all right.


I don't like you neutered. Like you neutered blade.


I think. First of all, where did you get the suit? I got the suit, I think at Macy's. Okay. All right. Well, it looks good. It's a nice. Okay, well, thank you. It's a classic. Thank you. Now I'm just going to say Rolex watching a Macy's suit. Well, it does say made with recycled polyester on the inside.


There he is.


Jay Ferrar, classic J.


There's my boy.


You didn't say I have to wear a nice suit. You just said a suit.


Also nice.


Thank you. Yes. It's a nice suit. It's recycled. It's recycled, which may explain why it doesn't feel terrific. Okay. It's because you're wearing 800 liquefied bottles on your back. It is very hot. The suit is very warm. Okay. Well, you chose to wear an undershirt. That's on you.




And can I tell you something? There are ways to dress well and earn the respect of people around you without going this far. Meaning you don't have to wear a tie. You don't have to wear a button up. We told him to come in as formal as possible, though, in his defense, well, we wanted to go the other end of the spectrum. Yes. And I am just saying that I want you to consider. You're not a kid anymore. Right. Okay. I think I looked it up. I think you were born in 1956. It's close. Yeah. No. How old are you? 45. Okay. You're 45? Yeah. You're not a child. And I do sometimes look at you and think, oh, you've got the Peter Pan syndrome. You're still dressing as a child, and maybe that's going to influence your life negatively. Maybe potential partners may not take you seriously. You go into a club, they're going to say, what's going on with this guy? Right? Why is he at the club? Why is every telling this guy he has Peter Pan? Yeah.


Well, but can I just wear at the club?


Fantastic. It's the greatest club down in Melrose. I feel like I don't want to give a potential partner a false bill of sale a false good. Like, they know what they're getting. Right. You know what? And they might like japanese watches. I don't want to attract someone who thinks I have more than one nice watch. You can still wear those goofy, funny watches. Where? Oh, look, it's a watch. But guess what? I have no idea what time it is because it has no hands. It just has a face that cries sometimes I do have one that you can tell the time by. What's that, Adam? Part of the conversation last time was also around looking professional in the workplace. So that's one thing I think you do look really good. And there have been studies that say if you dress for the job, you perform better. Yes. You lose the stress of wondering what. People who wear uniforms often perform better, I think, because they're not looking at what other people are wearing, thinking about what they're wearing. I've always liked in show business, when people took show business seriously and dressed up when they came on a talk show, I always thought that was kind of nice.


And I think we have an environment here at our company. People are coming in. They know that Conan O'Brien's going to be here. No, but do you? What know? I mean, there's an expectation that people will dress up. This is like the comedy Vatican.


No. Oh, my God. I understand.


What? Not that I'm insane, but, like, me being the pope, we got it. Tyrannical figure with only symbolic power. And then you. No, no. I'm the voice of God on earth. And then you guys are like swiss guards. You're there and you're holding your pikes and you're not even like bishops or anything. Oh, God, no. You're just standing outside with those goofy axes that no one's used in over 800 years. But, Blay, I think that Adam brings up a good point, which is when you dress the way that you dress, you're just going to have goofy ideas. You're just going to want to go eat a burrito. You're just going to go, want to grab your wi controller, Nintendo switch, gum gum, and play your game of glorgar. All this sounds great, though. No, this doesn't sound like an argument. I'm agreeing with you. That sounds all.


That sounds.


I, like, still do all those things. Oh, right. But dress like someone who commands my respect.


Can I say something, though? I think what Adam's saying is right. If you work at, like, an accountant's office. But if you work for the circus. Right.


Which we do.


Which. This really is an absurd place.


The lion tamer is very well dressed. The ringmaster is very well dressed. Trapeze artists, in their own way, are quite elegant. In fact, most people at the circus are very nicely dressed in their own costume.


Let's say your job is to pick up poop. Like you're a civil worker and you pick up poop. You're not going to dress up in a suit when you're picking up poop.


You dress up, but you wear a uniform. You still wear a uniform, okay? Even if someone who's picking excrement from the sidewalk as they're living. And by the way, I'm not putting that job down. That's a real job. That's my job.


That's saying that there are certain environments that have certain.


Okay, how about qualification? How about this? How about this? Not dressing up and wearing a suit and a tie, but Adam, as the head honcho here, the overlord, the scheming monster, the man behind the mask, he's a bishop. Yeah. I look at Adam Sachs and I say bishop Material, but what I'm saying is, what about, like, boiler suits that say team Coco on the back? You want to wear, like, coveralls? Hold on. Not hold on. No, that's bullshit. Hold on. What I'm saying is something akin to that. Like what they wear at a nuclear power plant. Doctors, nurses, they wear uniforms. You want to be a bond villain, and you want us all in those, like, the army of coveralls and hard hats and galosh. Yes, I do. I would like it if everyone. Eduardo, if we came up with something that was kind of cool, would you be up for wearing it here at Team Coco? I'd be up for it. I'm on Team Conan on this because it would be nice.


And look at the way it.


If I would. Listen, I used to sell man suits for a living at masons, actually, but that was six months ago. I do believe it's important to dress to impress whenever possible now. And all I'm saying is. And look, I love the shirt you're wearing. It looks fantastic. A cranberry t shirt that's been overwashed. You have good memories from college. What are you talking about? It's like you killed a mechanic and then. Not at all. This is. Came home to his wife and said, I'm home. Honey, what are you talking about? I know.


Is your collar popped up? No. Make a decision. What is it?


Look, I think I look. And I'll tell you something else. I look like I could be a film director. No, I could be a director on a film. You're dressed like Lenny from of mice and men. Yeah, well, I just want to see the rabbits.


No, your blues are too close.


Okay, listen. I like to wear blue because it makes the old peepers pop. And it worked for Sinatra, and I think it's working pretty well for me. Before we go, Adam, I do think, and I want to pursue this idea. I want to see if we can find something that the men and the women are all okay with wearing. That's kind of a standard uniform. And then I want us, the cameras to be rolling when we break this to Andy Richter and we watch him physically beat to wear this. Well, that's interesting. Yeah. There could be standard host garb. Like, hosts have their own. I will wear something consistently as a bond villain does. The Bond villain jacket. I would wear, like, a nehru jacket, and I'd have, like, a fake white cat that I pet. But then you guys would do it for that. But I do think there's something that we should investigate. There might be a great way. And also, what about young people that are just starting out here, working out here, and they're brand new employees. Maybe they have to wear the boiler suit. But then it's like the army, then there's a rank above that, but we wear a uniform.


I'm starting to get on with not. Okay, go ahead, John Wick. You know how, like, the people that work patching the telephone calls? Yes. They have style. And then the continental has its own guess. Mean, I love the. I would. First of all, you're dressed Allah John Wick right now. And that's why I think it looks cool. I love the John Wick. I see style. So what we're talking about is, like, tears. The utilitarian people, the administrative, the talent, and they're all thematically linked, but they have their own specific look. Are you into the. Into it now? I'm getting there. Okay. And this would be paid for by the company. You would come in. You wouldn't leave in your uniform. You'd come here and change into your uniform. We'd have lockers, and we'd change into them. And I'm not even kidding. I'm not even kidding. We'd change into them. And, sona, you would have to go to your locker and change your clothes.


I don't want to do that.


Well, you're going to do it, and I'm going to be there when it happens. No, you won't see me there. There'll be a window. There'll be a window that only I'm allowed to look through. And again, I don't read the papers much, and I don't go online much, but I don't see any problem in today's society with me having a little peaky window. Anyway, Adam, get on. Eduardo's gonna be. We're gonna figure it out. I took a class in college on costume design, so I can work some things up. You know what? Guess what? If Gorley's in, I don't want to do anything to dissuade Matt Gorely. I want you in on this. So, yes, you can have final say. I promise. Okay, done. I'm in. Are you kidding? Well, looks like I did it. We win. Conan O'Brien needs a friend with Conan O'Brien, sonum of session and Matt Gorely produced by me, Matt Gorely. Executive produced by Adam Sachs, Nick Liao and Jeff Ross at Team Coco and Colin Anderson and Cody Fisher at Earwolf. Theme song by the White Stripes. Incidental music by Jimmy Vivino. Take it away, Jimmy. Our supervising producer is Aaron Blair, and our associate talent producer is Jennifer.


Samples engineering and mixing by Eduardo Perez and Brendan Burns. Additional production support by Mars Melnick. Talent booking by Paula Davis, Gina Batista and Britt Kahn. You can rate and review this show on Apple Podcasts, and you might find your review read on a future episode. Got a question for Conan? Call the Team Coco Hotline 669-587-2847 and leave a message. It, too, could be featured on a future episode. And if you haven't already, please subscribe to Conan O'Brien needs a friend wherever fine podcasts are downloaded.