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What's happening, yeah, now we're talking how the tables have turned. Usually I'd be coming out to see you and your beautiful desk with some nightscope. We thought it was time that a talk show had a night skate behind it. That was my idea. I invented that in 1948. I saw an old Kurson clip. He had, like, really bad plastic ferns. Yes. Yes. Carson was the first between Two Ferns. He was the guy who invented it.
Welcome to Literally with Rob Lowe on the podcast today. Big Red. The Reds, palest tallest. OK, I'm going to say it was the most frightening looking man in show business. And certainly one of the funniest. And one who is. Etched his way on the Mount Rushmore of late night hosts is the longest serving late night host and Ty Cobb said it ain't bragging if you've done it.
We will talk to Conan O'Brien. You're a guy that likes to get out there on your surfboard, sort of be one with nature totally, and that's that's where you and I differ. When was the last time you've seen The Sun? Well, let's see.
I think Gerald Ford was president. I think it was that I think it was 70. I'm going to say 75 was the last time I actually saw the sun when that when he pardoned Nixon.
You came out like Pawtuxet? Phil Yeah. Yes, exactly. When I heard about that Gerald Ford had pardoned Nixon, I was so excited because I, you know, big pro Nixon guy. Yeah. I ran outside in my in my GLE and looked up at the son and said, Fihri orb me Mussert hide. And then I went back inside and it's been since then I stick out on the beach because when I wander the beach and I've told people this before, but I look like Rose Kennedy shortly before she passed away and covered.
I'm covered in like I've got a floppy hat. I've got eight kinds of different r.i sun shirts. I'm swaddled like and I'm the coolest looking person you've ever seen. And then I've seen you out there on the water, you know, a chiseled Adonis soaking up the sun, becoming more powerful every second. It's not fair is what I'm saying, and I'm angry.
Well, listen, my lovely wife, who is a was when she first started out one of the great makeup artists in the business until she went on to other things, thinks I get too much sun. And she thinks that I am going to end up like Trist Speaker's baseball mitt. Right. If I'm not if I'm not careful and would like me to be more like you, but I can't pull it off, what's your regimen to be? If I were to be more like Conan O'Brien on the beach, what would that be?
OK, you'd start by not going to the beach. That would do. Yeah, that's the first thing you do. I don't belong on a beach and anyone who sees me on a beach immediately knows I shouldn't be on a beach. But I think that if you had any kind of skin issue, you'd have known it by now, you know? Right. Yes. And you don't look like someone who gets too much sun. And we all know celebrities who get too much sun.
And you and I'm not there yet. I'm not in the lake.
God, no, no, you're not there at all. Now, we could, you know, the late Ara Roy Scheider. Yes. Did you ever see any of that action? Yes, I saw Roy Scheider. I used to see him when we were doing our show out in New York. We would go occasionally. I'd make my way out to the Hamptons and visit somebody. I never had a place out there, but I'd go out there to the Hamptons and I would go to a restaurant.
And Roy Scheider was always at any restaurant you went to. I think restaurants paid Roy Scheider to show up and be at their restaurant, and he couldn't have been nicer. He was always like, Hey, man, how are you? But, yes, you could tell that he had constantly been in the sun. And I think he was one of those guys who, you know, in the in the sixties, people used to hold up reflectors and hold them up to their faces to bake their faces like a potato.
I think he was one of those guys because it looked like he had re-entered orbit using his face.
Idea went better. I saw him with my own eyeballs at the sunset, murky pool with one of the mirrors with a hole in it so you could put your noggin through it. Baking his face with Crisco, oh, God, oh, God, so your instinct was correct, sir, can you imagine being Roy Scheider and going to the beach? No, because his most iconic role is Jaws.
And he I think he told me that any time he went to the beach, people would go to that den and as if they were the first one to think of it and he had to sit there and listen to them do that and go, yeah, that's good. That's funny. Yes. While his face cooked, the smell of frying Roy Scheider baking the air, I that's my favorite movie. Incidentally, Jaws like it is perfect.
It's one of the few perfect movies. There's not a there's not a false note in it, although Spielberg always says that he regrets what he did to sharks and legitimately, like, held up like cheer up because he feels like people unnecessarily hate great white sharks because of that movie. And he's right, by the way.
Right. Great white sharks rarely attack. They're great. They're great creatures. And people now think that they only associate them with that movie so well.
And, you know, the beach you were just talking about in Carpinteria, where you come up and parade like Rose Kennedy has the first time ever a family of great white sharks. Did you know this?
I know. I didn't know this. Yeah. So there something with the climate change or the currents, but it started about three years ago. And there are there's a family of great whites that patrol that beach there. They're all almost all the time. I paddleboard it out with them. And it was spectacular to look down and see them, but they were right there. Right there.
Now, wait a minute.
You're telling me that you have no fear when you're around a family of great white sharks and all you have is a paddle board?
Here's the thing. I will do anything for a camera. Yes. And there was a camera. There was a camera there. And my narcissism and my actors competitiveness. Flared up and the next thing I was out on the board and there was it was but here's the thing, they're juveniles so that you don't really they're not really going to come after you. If it was Obama or something, I wouldn't is the thing.
Here's the thing that you're thinking about.
Well, there's a lot I'm not thinking about usually. Yeah, there's a lot. I mean, if we just went into let's do a whole segment called Things Rob Lowe isn't thinking about. And there'd be there wouldn't be enough time. No, there'd be five years. Yeah. What I'm saying is they're juveniles now.
But, you know, when you watch a great movie like The Godfather two, they always make sure the old Don will make sure that, OK, I can't just kill the father and the mother. I've got to kill the young son, too, because he's going to grow up, come back here, pretend he has an olive oil company, but stab me on my porch 40 years from now. And that's exactly what happens. Those juveniles are looking at you now and they're like, we're not going to forget.
We're coming back. And we're going to get this motherfucker, and it might be 10 years, it might be 20, but they see you posing in front of them and having yourself shot with cameras and they're like, we will not forget. So they may be juveniles now, but they will settle this score. You know that. Yeah, they'll be like that. He did not pay a scale for being on camera. Those sharks were unpaid. You took advantage of them.
And in fact, I saw the video. You attack them at one point, you start fighting the door, their dorsal fin, their doors.
Do they have a dorsal fin? Yeah, of course.
And it's amazing when you know how when you watch, you look out, you see a fin and go, oh, it's a shark and it's always a dolphin. Yep. Always. When you see an actual shark fin, it is unmistakable. Yes. It's like, oh yeah. They look nothing like what we always think are sharks and they're dolphins. They they in fact it looks fake. It looks like jaws.
It looks like a fake triangle going across what it looks like, everything you've ever seen in like a bad pirate movie. I have a story to tell you, which is about two years ago. I mean, Carpinteria, my wife and I have a small place there on the beach, sort of a clam shack, if you will. And I actually saw clams out the back illegally. And we. I'm friends with the actor Tim Olyphant and the best, he's the best, he's the best.
He's a wonderful guy. Hilarious, very.
We did the we did the Grinder together. That's right. That's right. That's right. That's right. So you guys have worked together.
He's he's great. He's visiting and he decides, hey, man, hey, let's let's go down there and jump in the water. And it was it was kind of cold. It was a little off season, but I thought, all right, Tim Oliphant's going to do it. And I, I had to in order to get into the water, I had to take off the nine layers and then I had to run bare chested down to the ocean with Tim Olyphant, which is not putting me in a good light.
Let's just leave it at that. The man's the Manson Adonis. He's an Adonis like you. I've been very careful to avoid Rob Lowe and Tim Olyphant shirtless. I don't want the comparisons out there, but I run out there and I look like I just got out of an iron lung. And he, of course, looks like he's been chiseled by by a great Italian sculptor. We both run down there. We jump in the water and his handsome head is floating and my orange pumpkin is floating and we're both in the water.
And then this fin went by and he went, hey, man, check out the check out the dolphin. And I'm looking at the fin. And I said, and this is the same Carpenteria beach you're talking about. I said, that's not a dolphin. Anyone, what is it, and I went, that is a shark. And he was like, there's no way that's a shark, and he went, oh, no, no, no, no, that's a shark.
And it turned out I was right. It was a shark and whoa. Yeah. And it just went right by us. Now, it was also a juvenile, so I wasn't freaked out. But yes, what happens is dolphins, their fins, they arch, they come in, they are they go back down and then they come out and they go back down. A shark's really looks like someone is pulling a fake fin through the water. It doesn't arch.
It doesn't go anywhere. But the shark was just wanted to check out all the fat. It was sexually attracted to him and it was only my chest that kept it from coming any closer.
You were the recipient of one of the great quotes I have ever heard about the about fame. If anything we do in this business has any staying power or matters and what our place in the pecking order is, and that's the great Albert Brooks quote, Conan, you remember this?
Yep. He told me, Albert Brooks, and I'll give him a shout out again. People I sometimes I try and think like who were the absolute funniest people, like, you know, and this is a conversation I have with myself sometimes. And I take it really seriously. And I think, well, Marx Brothers, when they're hitting on all cylinders, W.C. Fields, Albert Brooks, I put way up there as just when Albert Brooks in his albums, in his TV appearances and but in his movies when he's hitting on all cylinders, I, I cannot think of anyone who's better.
Yeah. I've always been intimidated by just the idea of meeting him. And then I came out here to L.A. and I got to meet him. And immediately I'm fawning and I'm saying, you know, your work is really important. You make movies. I'm in the disposable pen business. You know, like I make one at night and then it's just dropped in the shredder. And I was starting to go down that that line of reasoning.
And he cut me off and he was like, no, no, no, no, no. None of it matters. Nothing. It doesn't matter. None of it matters. Clark Gable. Clark Gable was the face the face of the 20th century. That's what people said. Who the fuck now cares about Clark Gable? And he was just drilling this into me like all of it's forgotten.
And then I took that to heart. And then later on, I'm doing an interview. This is many years later I'm doing an interview with someone at The New York Times. And they're saying, but if you do such and such, I think it's when I decided to go to half hour, they said, are you worried about what this might mean for your legacy? And I just said I said legacy. And I was that's when I brought up Albert Brooks.
And none of it matters. And I said to the guy, look, it was just this image I had in my head. All of our graves, all of our graves go untended, meaning, you know, yeah. Someone's they're going to put me in the ground somewhere and people are going to come by for a couple of days. And then within three years, there's weeds growing over that thing. No one gives a shit. So you're just here now.
Do it now and then it's over when it's over.
And that that got me this street cred online for a couple of days as Conan is Goth, which is really funny to think of me as Rose Kennedy, meaning it by by extension, Rose Kennedy is goth.
It's the greatest. All I think that was the title of the piece I read is All of our graves go untended.
Yeah, something like that. Which is and you know, it's funny people, if you talk that way, people will think that you're being negative and but it's not it's actually freeing.
It's really freeing and positive. Yeah. It's so freeing and it's so positive to say because I used to when I was coming up and in the early days of doing my show, I used to look at someone like a Johnny Carson or a David Letterman and think, well, they don't have a care in the world because they're just revered, they've accomplished it. So they just must walk through life on a cloud. And of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
Everybody's dealing and and that's not how they see it, you know? And then you realize that everybody's comparing themselves to the impossible ideal they've created of someone else. So there's a whole generation of comedians that thought, well, I'm not Jack Benny, I'll never be Jack Benny, and then I'll never be Steve Martin, who could ever be better than Steve Martin. And so everybody sort of hates themselves and at the same time thinks that someone else has achieved the ideal.
When if you could get into the head of an AI, you and I have talked about, you know, like a Carrie Grant or someone who everybody thought was the ideal and you got the chance to meet him. And of course, Carrie Grant's not thinking that Carrie Grant is thinking about his impoverished childhood and the movie roles that got away and what's he going to do tomorrow? And he's not sitting around just watching North by Northwest and thinking, I'm Carrie Grant.
Isn't this amazing? Is and if he was, you know, that would be sat well.
And so that's the great quote, the. I learned early on and sort of recovery, and we would just never compare your insides to someone else's outsides. Right. And I've I've that's I always remember that. But on the other side of it, you can't blame us for putting people, others on a pedestal, because how does the notion of an insecure Cary Grant work, that's not even a good impression. I don't want to do that. Yeah, you should do it.
Even like if only I knew what kind of product to buy at the market. They will because I don't make eggs. I could make eggs for her. She's going to think I'm a terrible man. It's also.
Yeah, it's Cary Grant. Probably I don't do what Cary Grant, but it would be Cary Grant. Just I could I can come up, you know, just Cary Grant being like, why would I go to that party? No one wants to see me. People hate me.
They'll think I'm old, that I should have died. My hair tidally. I've let it go before my time and in particular in these glasses. Yeah, exactly.
But it's funny. He's, you know, and maybe he wasn't maybe he didn't have an insecure bone in his body, but but yeah, you're right.
He did a lot of acid. Did you know that's my favorite Cary Grant thing. You know, he's like one of the earliest, you know, you you know, Timothy Leary.
So. Yeah, yeah. He was into it in the Mind-Expanding. He did a lot of it in the 60s and he was getting into it early.
Yeah, he got into it early and was really interested in its potential to expand horizons.
It was like in the fifties, it was like before the hippies got hold of it. Now the hippies have done it. I like the idea of Cary Grant getting into it. He's actually in the lab while they're working on it in nineteen forty eight.
I'd like to try that because he was in way too early, but you know.
Yeah. Don't compare your insides to someone else's outsides. Yes, that's that's good. I'm going to try and remember that I tried to repair the inside of my penis to someone else's larger point. Is that how it goes?
That is that is how it goes. That's that's the one caveat. That's the asterisk at the right side. Unless it's a penis. Yes. And then you there's no way you're not going to compare. Now, look, men are obsessed with it. Of course, there's that also has an Asterix. Are we talking flaccid or erect? I always like to throw that Asterix in the shower or groer.
Exactly. I mean, you know, erect I'll take on all comers, but and that's no pun intended. But but but but flaccid. That's a discussion I don't want to have. Mine actually goes up inside my body. It goes up into the body cavity and caught like an acorn head.
Yeah. And what it does is it nests in there. And it has it goes into it goes into my body cavity and it nests when it's not in use and it has a lot of reading material. My penis reads a great deal inside my body cavity.
I'm sorry I was too stupid, but there you go.
Hold that thought. We'll be right back. You know what else is gone, the fun is the White House Press Correspondent's Dinner, which I know you hosted, you hosted twice. Yeah, and right. And it's it's gone because Trump just was like, I'm not going there. And and so it's kind of over, which is a bummer.
It will come back. I mean, it'll it'll it will come back.
I think it's this is a temporary. But it is funny. I mean, it's funny. It's interesting that every president. Did it, and they knew that. Well, this is just part of being president is you need to go to the White House Correspondents Association dinner and you've got to tell kind of some funny jokes. And everybody did it. And obviously some presidents, I think Reagan was very good at it. Some presidents were very good at it.
I mean, Barack Obama was an absolute master at it and feel it and then you would watch.
So everybody just did it. And kind of a fascinating thing about Trump. Is that he just decided, yeah, I'm not going to do any of these things that people say I have to do. I'm just not doing them like I think there's a chance there won't even be presidential debates. You know, I don't know whether he'll debate Joe Biden because, you know, it's a given that you have to debate your rival before the November election. And I I wouldn't put it past him to go right now.
Like, I don't know, he could say anything. He could sell the White House. He's got this he's got this ability to just say, you know what, I don't care what other people do.
I'm selling the White House. I got I got 600000 dollars for it selling.
I'm selling it to the Marriott chain and I'll pocket the money. Hey, you can't do that. I just did it. What I'm going to do, it could be the Trump White House. I mean, you could literally brand it. He could brand it and he would that I actually don't think is. That far of a possibility, I have something to propose to you, which is yes. Trump doesn't and the GOP in general, but they don't have a lot of celebrities on their side.
They don't have the way and they have like a handful of.
Why is that? Why is that, though, historically? Why is it like if it's like Barack Obama and he is a fundraiser, he's got Eddie Vedder in whatever he brings to anybody on say and then the GOP has got like. The Beach Boys, not even the all the Beach Boys, it's like one beach boy, there's literally a beach boy. Yeah, Beach Boys got Beach Boy and there's usually some country star. And then there's Jon Voight, I think.
Right. I think Jon is in there. So but he's not he's not playing any music, so he's useless. No, but what I'm saying is I think you and I should go hard for Trump now. We should just now, like Rob Lowe and Conan O'Brien, we we support Trump to the hilt.
They would invite us to the White House. We would get invited immediately, you know, and. Oh, yeah, I know. And then completely embrace and we would get invited to all kinds of great stuff and we would get, you know, you know, it'd be really great for what?
Our careers. And really great. OK, you're being sarcastic. I think it actually puts us on the tip of everyone's tongue and I think it puts us on the tip of the spear. Yeah, well, listen, as Liz Taylor said, all publicity is good publicity.
Liz Taylor also used to stick a fucking onion in her face to cry on screen. I saw that with my own eyes. By the way, did you really tell me about that? Let's talk about that and then we'll get back to my idea that both.
I'm very, very into this Trump thing, actually. No, no, no. I know you. I know you are. But everyone's talking about Trump. No one's talking about you. So, Taylor, stick an onion in her face so that she could cry. I did. All right. Tell me that. So my brother, Chad Lowe, who is a wonderful actor and current television director, was doing a movie called There Must Be a Pony that I believe was written by hang on, Joan Didion, my favorite authors, husband Gregory Dunne.
And it was Robert Wagner, Robert Wagner, for those R.J., R.J., we call it R.J.. And or number two in Austin Powers world, and so our Arjay and lives are playing husband and wife and child loves the young son and I come to visit on the set and it's a scene where RJ comes in and has to tell Liz Taylor that there's been a terrible plane crash and one of her family members is dead.
So I'm watching the rehearsal. And Liz is like, what if I made a salad? It's in the kitchen. Great. So she's making a salad. But what she's very cagily done is that allows her to have a giant raw onion right in front of herself.
And that's genius.
RJ comes in and says, I have something to tell you is terrible plane crash and there have been no survivors. And she turns around and she's now put the onion in a like a paper towel, some sort, and she puts the paper tiger of his life and turns around and it's just waterworks.
And I was like, touristic? Yeah. I was like, wow, that's great. That's great. Method, method. That's the way to do it. She's got two fucking Oscars that you care.
You know, what I love is when you said that she used an onion to cry, I was for minute thinking that she had sliced an onion and had it on a rope and a pulley.
And RJ comes in to give her the bad news and you suddenly hear a little bit of rope going across poorly and then you see a half an onion come just barely into frame. The towel.
The towel, of course. Much better. Much.
I like your Rube Goldberg and version like it's it's a special effect. You've turned it into a whole special effect. Yeah. I'm going to call on the call sheet the next day. Rain machines, smoke machines, Liz's onion onion, Lissa's onion apparatus.
And there'd be a guy, a union guy who was an onion wrangler and he would be off camera and you would actually have to say the onion to the onion and then. Onion just slowly coming into frame, just barely. So if you're careful, you can see it. Yeah, she was she was amazing. She was just just amazing. I mean, that was also they gifted her with a trailer in purple because she was famous. They had purple eyes and she didn't like the color, so they had to return it.
She does a TV movie, by the way. This is just a TV movie.
You know, there was a I want to say there's like a ten at least a ten year period or maybe a 12 year period. We're all anybody in America could think or talk about was Liz Taylor and Richard Burton and the size of her, you know, engagement ring and their breakup. But now they're together again. Now they broke up again, now they're together again. And people forget this. And it goes back to that thing we were talking about earlier.
The Albert Brooks is like nothing matters.
But there was a 12 year period in American history where all anybody thought about in America was Elizabeth Taylor and what she up to today. That's how huge she was and how much she dominated the national conversation.
And then in the photos, what I like looking back on it there, clearly smashed. Yeah.
Also, this is the thing you can see in you know, it was part of the culture.
Like you woke up and you. Had a drink, you and that was the that was the way. That you lived and if you were Peter O'Toole or Richard Burton, I mean, it was an English tradition and it also sort of became an American tradition to like and it became this culture of you're just drinking all the time. Everybody was drinking all the time. And then. Overnight, I think people realized, wait a minute. This is a fucking disease.
No, it's really true, I mean, it it in it is overnight because I can remember when it were in Europe, the sounds cliche to say it in Europe, they still. But it is true in Europe, people routinely drink at lunch. Yeah. Like business meetings. Like if you were at a proper business meeting in New York and you had to come and have a Scotch, people would think you have a serious alcohol problem.
I've been on this when I've been on vacation. I'll be on vacation today. And I'm with my wife. And we're someplace, you know, we're in Paris. We're in some great place. And I'll notice that I'm very relaxed. We're eating a late lunch. It's like two o'clock in the afternoon. And there have been times where I've thought I've said like, hey, I'm going to get some white. Yeah, I'm going to get a glass of white wine with lunch and maybe I'll have two glasses of white wine with lunch because I'm on vacation.
And why not.
And you do it and you realize why not, which is you can't you're not yourself not only for the rest of the day, but like, no, that just doesn't work. And the idea that people used to say, well, it's eleven thirty or it's quarter to twelve, we're all going to go to Delmonico's or we're going to go to Serros and we're going to go to, you know, name Namir. You're clichéd restaurant with a giant menu from the sixties.
And the first thing you do when you sit down before you even ask is they put a double in front of you and you smash it back and you get bombed. And that's what people did famously. It's the Mad Men culture. It's the it was just the way I think people thought you were supposed to live. It was a. You know, Dean Martin, I think, faked it for a long time, Dean Martin was not. Is that true?
Is that true?
Because well, I think he did for a long time. He faked it. He would he would be on stage and he would have literally grapefruit juice with soda and or something. And it would pretending it was because it was so his act. But he was always blotto. But of course. Right. You couldn't do what he did and be blotto. And then I I think sadly later on it it what I've heard is that it became less of an act, I think when is right.
That's what I always say. When his son passed away and tragically, he I think he it morphed from an act to the real thing, which is also W.C. Fields famously never drank, didn't drink for years and years and years because he was a he's his whole early career was the greatest juggler in the world. He performed for all the crown heads of Europe. And he could do all these amazing things. And he would sometimes in his act, I think it was part of his act to drink, but he didn't.
And then, of course, later on, he became sadly the real thing.
So, you know, the what a W.C. Fields, his great quote about why he doesn't drink water.
I don't know that I'm sure I've heard it, but I don't. What is it? Because fish fucking it is no wonder that didn't make it into a movie. Yeah, yeah. I don't I don't know.
I don't do a W.C. Fields, but I love I love that quote. It's a good one.
I told my trainer that he he told me to hydrate more like I'm not doing that. Yeah.
Kirschling you're like when you open the dictionary or encyclopedia of which no none exist anymore because you know because everything's online. But if you still had one.
Yep. And you would see Irish Catholic, there would be a picture of young Conan O'Brien, maybe how did you reconcile the great Irish tradition of just being really loving to drink?
Well, I grew up. It's interesting because. There are two ways, if you're part of an immigrant culture, Irish immigrant culture, there are two ways that you could screw up your life, I think and this is like a very 19th century idea, but one was to get someone pregnant out of wedlock.
And, of course, the other was to become an alcoholic by both both both the activity of doing such really fun. So, yeah, yeah. Yeah, exactly. Fuckin problem. But the problem is, so what happened was I grew up in a long line of it's completely dry house so. Oh wow. My parents there was I've never seen my parents hold a drink and I've seen them. I have not even seen them. I think at my wedding they like held a glass of wine, but they wouldn't sip it.
I've never seen my parents sip a drink and their their parents didn't drink. So my grandparents didn't drink and there wasn't any alcohol in the house. Now we kept my dad. There was a little cabinet in our house that was locked and my dad had the key and there was liquor in there in case people came over, you know, in the 60s and 70s and wanted to drink. My dad would go and get this key and open it up and we would see him bring out some liquor that was for other people.
But I'm sure it was terrible liquor and a bottle of wine and a hot closet.
I mean, I'm sure people knew when they came to our house to bring their own liquor.
So as a result, I did not drink at all. Wow, I never touched alcohol. So you're in high school, you're nothing can go to Harvard, nothing to be on the secret societies and shit there.
Well, I was on you know, it's more than that because I was at Harvard. Harvard itself doesn't mean drinking, but I was on the Lampoon.
And the Lampoon is basically it's very talented people on the Lampoon. And you have to compete to get in and write stuff and draw cartoons and everything. But once you get in, everybody drinks constantly. And I was completely I was surrounded by completely soused. Very talented, but drunk people, and I was always had a Coca-Cola in my in my cup and I never drank all the way through college.
This is this is fascinating to me because so was the thinking on your part is. Because what I'm hearing is it's not like you are scared of something like, oh, I don't want to be like this person because the only thing you had to model it after were people who are successfully not drinking under any circumstances. Right. It didn't come from fear. It didn't come from fear.
Well, actually, it it does, because if you grow up being told, you know, you must never, ever, ever, you know, go into the dark forest, that, yeah, you might not you might grow up not going into the dark forest.
There's two personality types. One would be like, I'm going there right away and I'm going to hang out there all the time. And the other is I will not go there at all. I didn't drink. I didn't touch it. And I think I started to. Have wine in my 20s, mid 20s, but really not at all till later 20s. I mean, I'm not kidding. This is real.
And then but you're but you're you're you're an alcoholic now, though.
Oh, now. Oh, my God. Oh, well, thank you for finishing the sentence. Yeah, I, I do it all now. I do it all right I, I have a crack pipe under my pillow. I have good math hanging from the ceiling and it is just black tar heroin.
No I, you know it's funny, I do, I don't like to this day, I just can't stand, I don't like spirits like when people, when people have whiskey and people are all the time saying, oh Conan, you know what it's like you you go someplace and people say if they recognize you, this is on the house. But this is aged 50 year old whiskey in oak barrels. It's really just incredible, it tastes like gasoline to me, so I have no appreciation for spirits, I can't do spirits, but I learned to like wine.
And but and where you were at when you're at you're a young comedian, your SNL, for fuck's sake, Jesus Christ, we all know what that's like behind the scenes, actually.
Yeah, but, you know, it's interesting. I'm from this different era of. I up I'm part of this wave that came along, we come after there's the 60s and 70s, you know, 60s there, smoking pot, 70s, they're doing cocaine. I come along in the 80s and I'm part of this group of writers that doesn't do like we're watching our cholesterol. You know, we're like even then, yeah, we're in the room with people who went into their offices maybe and closed the door and did Coke.
But we were completely oblivious to it.
And, you know, my writing partner at the time, Greg Daniels, was was was like, you know, you can't eat rye bread.
It's slightly inflammatory, like Greg Greg Daniels, who created the Office and Parks and Recreation with Mike Shaw, among others. I, I cannot picture Greg Daniels taking an aspirin. No, no. Yeah, he wouldn't. He wouldn't. And that was my writing partner and. I'm I mean, I'm straight as an arrow, he's straight as an arrow where the most it's a ridiculous now. Is it true story? I went and I had to get a is a couple of years into my late night show, I had to get a physical and insurance physical, you know, for my late night show that because, you know, it's required.
So I go and I'm getting is physical from a doctor. I don't know. The insurance company chose the doctor and he's talking to me. And then he said, OK, alcohol. And I go, yeah, I mean, I have some wine, but now, you know, and he said, OK, and what drugs do you do? And I said, I don't do any drugs. And he said, you know. I'm a doctor.
This is confidential and you need to be honest with me, and I said I don't do drugs. And he said, you don't do cocaine.
And I said, no, I don't do cocaine. And he said, I've seen your show.
That's true. And he thought that because I was this hyperkinetic, jumpy guy that I was doing cocaine. And I'm like, I promise you, I had one experience in college where I walked into a room and guys were doing cocaine and it looked like a scene from less than zero. I mean, very unfamiliar. Yeah, yeah. And so I walk in and I'll never I'll never forget it was such a cliched 80s moment, but two of the guys were wearing white tuxedo jackets and they were heading up.
Of course they were. Yeah.
And they're doing lines of cocaine. And they they turned to me and they saw me and with maybe not a lot of enthusiasm, but they thought, oh, that guy just walked in and they said, oh, Conan, do you want to do some you want some Coke done with you?
Do you remember if they called it like a great 80s phrase like TUTE? No, I don't remember. I think they just said Coke. I think I wish they had said something that didn't even wasn't even real. You know, I wish they had said, do you want to ride the Johnny Blow train? But they did. Exactly. They just said, hey, do you want some? And I said, No, no, no. My father's a doctor.
He he says it it interrupts the heart rhythm.
Needless to say, no one no one ever offered me cocaine again. And did did you say it like Lorne Michaels? That was that was like Lorne Michaels. Well, I did. Wasn't even intending to do a Lorne Michaels.
It was more just of a fusi it. But no, no, Tony, the thing about Coke is, you know what you know about Coke.
I'm friends with Coke, Coke and I hang out and I'm against it.
But, you know, the one thing I've learned about, which is, you know, I think it also comes from being like a doctor's son. But I'm always incredibly responsible about, you know, well, I can't take this pill unless a doctor has prescribed it. And I've read the big form that came with it at the pharmacy.
So the idea that I'm an impossible square, I come from a completely different ethos. Like my thing is, if a doctor prescribes me a pill and it's one pill every four hours, two pills has got to be better. Yes, it's govey. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's honestly what, you know, as a as a recovering alcoholic addict. That's where I go, you know. I mean, it's like, well, that's gone now.
Yeah, but it's been how many years for you. That's fantastic. It will be. It'll be thirty years the next month. Yeah. And it's hard because thirty years, you know, sober, you kind of tend to forget what it was like. And, and so I always had to be reminded because it was really fun, really fun up until it wasn't fun anymore. Right.
And then it was really not fun for a very, very, very, very, very, very, very long time. But they're like the I think of the eighties in New York and white tuxedo jackets and I'm down to clown dude. Those were that was when when white tuxedo jackets were acceptable. That's when that's the era when it was still working for me. Yeah. And the other thing and here's the other thing. And this is why I'm fascinated with with your never getting involved in any of it, was that one of the reasons I started doing all that stuff when I did was the models of people I held in esteem.
Did it write clearly and, you know, I don't want to necessarily. Well, we can name the names of the public record. You want to be funny? Bellucci did it. All those guys, they were funny. They were edgy. They were cool. They did it.
I would see Steve McQueen at the point, do market just fucked up, staggering around, stinking with his smelly feet out. And I'm like Steve McQueen, dude is the biggest movie star in the world. And and then there was the thing of like when Coke was good for you. And is it it's what successful people did. Right. There was an era that was like that meant you'd arrived. And like I'm, you know, a 13 year old, the hell do I know and that that sort of those messages got totally baked in for me.
It's like. You know what what could you aspire to higher than being Jack Nicholson, right, right.
I think, you know, it's the it's the mistake I think a lot of people made, I think what helped me a lot was that. I obviously in my formative years, unlike you, I didn't get to see those people, they were growing up just outside Boston, Massachusetts, about as far from show business, you can get son of a microbiologist and mother's a lawyer. And show business was about as you know, I'm growing up in kind of a Victorian household in some ways.
And I'm show business was just so far away that I grew up really being about.
The ideas and the craft sort of thing, and I wasn't around any of the people, so by the time I finally got to meet the people, I was so set in my ways. I mean, I think yeah, I think if I had and I think one of the obviously, you know this, but you think there's a mindset which is I need this to do the good work. And you realize, well, Belushi and Farley and they did such great work before they were overcome by those drugs.
In fact, everybody you mentioned was incredibly talented. They were very talented and capable and charismatic people. And if anything, the drug just got in the way. And for sure, you know, the Beatles made just a massive amount of great music before they ever got involved in anything other than alcohol. And so it's this idea that that's the vehicle to get to this better place, which is just incorrect. It's not true. If you're interested in the work, it's not doing anything for you.
It's really true.
Be right back after this. I like to sometimes end the show with what I call the lowdown, because it's the happiest phrase ever and it's been used in every stupid article ever written about me and it offends me. And you know what?
You know what it is for you. Imagine your Tom Cruise. And every time you do an interview, they say four years on cruise control. And you'd think that he would contact his publicist would say, you know, that's been used eight hundred thousand times, but USA Today doesn't care. They're like, he's back. They really they really don't.
Well, they used to, man. Anyway, the lowdown.
Let's have the lowdown. So, OK, so Beatles are Rolling Stones. I think I know the answer. Beatles, not even not even close.
Right. It's not even the same thing. If you know anything about music, I really admire what the Rolling Stones did, but they're basically working off of rhythm and blues. And The Beatles are nine light years ahead of them, working off everything and riffing off every musical style. And they're not even in the same. The solar system, so, yes, it's beetles all the way. Who's the most overrated Beatle? Oh, it's got to be John Lennon.
I just said that because no one ever picks. That is a fucking that is a hot take. Yeah, I was like, you know what, Atlanta, you show me one good Lennon song with the Beatles. You know, tell me I won't get fucking traded. Who's the most overrated member of friends? Oh, wow.
Well, I'm just going to say, because we are friends, it's Lisa Kudrow because she's my friend. So you get a way of saying that I've experienced her. Yeah. I don't want to offend any of the others. So I can tell you right now, I mean, Lisa Kudrow, she's a friend of mine in real life. And as a real friend, she's overrated, you know, as a friend. So I'm just going after her hard core.
I think that's probably a really an interesting concept. Like which one of the friends would be the worst friends? That's the show I want to see. Which one of them is the worst friend? Well, you know what, I'm going have to take it back now, because Lisa's a lovely friend and a great person. It was my birthday the other day and I got a lovely bottle of wine from Lisa and Michelle. I didn't get any from Jennifer Aniston.
Nothing. That's what I'm saying. Now, if you could see a UFO, a ghost. Or Bigfoot. Which would you want to see? And would you tell anyone? Yes. Or have you seen any of those? I haven't seen any of those, never saw a ghost. You know what? I think ghosts are overrated. A ghost is just someone who used to be alive, who you wouldn't have liked, who's showing up again after they technically should have left the party.
So it's like someone coming back to the party because they left their hat. You're turning in to go to bed. The doorbell rings. You've heard their stories. They weren't that much fun. And they're back to get their hat that they left. So Ghost Buemi, a Bigfoot, who cares? Bigfoot is probably if Bigfoot even existed, it's just going to be slightly larger than John Tesh and. Yes. And who cares? UFO, I'd like to see a UFO.
I'd like to see a real UFO. And yes, I would tell people about it. I would tell people I saw a real UFO and I would describe it in detail and I wouldn't care if they thought I was crazy.
I'd like to see John Tesh. John Tesh may be he may have come to Earth on a UFO. He is an otherworldly presence.
What song? Lyric. Have you finally seen printed? We like oh, wait. What that like I played rock band the other day with my boys and I didn't realize that in Blondie Heart of Glass. Mm hmm. She's singing mucho mistrust. What did you think she was singing once you mistrust the. OK, I'll tell you mine. Van Morrison. In his song, Brown Eyed Girl, yes, oh, wait, wait, wait, wait, there's no way there is a lyric and brown eyed girl that we don't know.
I'm going to tell you what mine is. All right. There's a part where he says, I'm going down in the old mine with a transistor radio. Right, he's he's talking about him going down in the old man with a transistor radio and radio. Yeah, sure. I used to hear going down on an old man for a transistor radio and I was like, what?
You need a transistor radio that badly that you're going to go down on an old man? I swear to God, for years. And I knew it couldn't be right. But I and I to this day, I play guitar. I'll play that song, you know, I'm like going down on an old man for a transistor radio. It must be a good radio and no one will be the wiser. If you're saying that lyric. No, I'm going to sing it.
I will perform that song live and I will sing going down on an old man for a transistor radio.
See, I do you have a list of songs like I do that I think. Like as a lawyer would say, stipulated classic great. American World Classics. Don't want to hear it again and ever anymore need to be put. Away for a while, because to say it, brown eyed girl might be the first one, you know what? I always think that. And it's so good it comes on and I start to think, oh, my God, Dennington did and did it.
And you go like this again, really? Again, again. But then I kind of fall into it. So I don't know. I don't know if there's a song. Do you have a list? I do. I think. Ain't too proud to beg. Needs to go.
Uh, well, a lot of Motown got seriously overplayed. In the 80s, seriously overplayed in the 80s in the movies like I can't think of those songs without thinking of Mary Kay Place shaking a salt shaker as she dances through a kitchen or whatever I like. I think that music now only signifies montage. Yes, women who are finally bonding and they're singing into a hairbrush. But who are we to say put these songs away, I, I feel like that is not within my power.
I can't. Oh sure it is. All you have to say is, hey, band, don't play this on the break. Don't just don't play it anymore. We're going to commercial. I don't want to hear it. Yeah. Yeah. Devastator Max Weinberg back in the day. We get it. You're in the E Street Band.
I did. OK, I did that every day. That's how I greeted him in the morning. We get it, Max. You know, Clarence, you have him on speed dial. We get it.
We get it. Man One of the one of the great sweet like cool thrills is when I did. And I've been on your show of every iteration, and I always love coming on your show. But I in that iteration, I came out and Max played Born to Run, and it made me very happy because I figured it's a very finite amount of people that he unless maybe, I don't know, maybe played born to run for everybody he liked.
Maybe I'm not that special.
He did play it every night. It was it was the night before you. It was Carrot Top.
So I hate to I hate to break it to you know, he it's not that often you get to talk to somebody who had stories about being in the biggest band in the world. Do you know I mean, you think about it.
There's there's only been a couple of biggest bands in the world and E Street Band.
And you think about, OK, so you were there at every show of the Born in the USA tour, which is like the biggest cultural event or one of the biggest of of the eighties. And you were there and you met the shit you must have seen, you know. I mean but of course, if you talk to him, he might say, oh, I remember the Madrid show.
I was too close to the ice machine, you know, like everyone else has this other take. You know, I'm thinking you probably saw this majestic light over Bruce's head at the biggest show you ever did.
And they're thinking about the fact that, you know what, the mattresses in in Belgium, not great. Too stiff.
Yeah, I heard that on that tour that there were that some of the band members were just count the heads to figure what the gate was going to be.
Oh, really? Yeah. Makes perfect sense. I guess it does. I guess it does.
You know, for some people, show business is just a transaction. For me, it's more about spirituality. I refuse to take any money for what I do.
Well, particularly when you realize that no one's going to remember. Exactly. That's right. That's right. So no one.
You mean to tell me I want to say, hey, fuck you, Albert Brooks. I got one. I got a bone to pick with you. Albert Brooks. People are going to remember Oxford Blues long after I'm gone, you know, I think he would he would have a caveat for Oxford Blues, I think. It may be he is wrong, some things will be remembered, the pyramids have lasted a long time. They're getting a little crumbly.
Yeah, but I think the pyramids, Taj Mahal, Oxford Blues, this has been great. I've loved and lovely. This is really you know, I'll say you and I have encountered each other. Our paths cross. We always I always really enjoy talking to you. And you have I envy you. I didn't really start to get a crack at getting to know some famous people until really early nineties. And so I missed out on all these legends.
And every time I talk to you, I'm goading you to say, like, come on, you must have met and you've met. You've like met Fred Astaire. And you're like, oh, yeah, I fought him in a parking lot. When you fought Fred Astaire in a parking lot.
Yeah, he beat the shit out of him. But, you know, he gave as good as he got. He carried a knife in his in his sock.
And I'm like, man, you've got I envy you that.
That's great. You're a great raconteur. You've got great stories.
Oh, thank you. Well, listen, I, I love doing this shows for your company. You're my are you effectively my boss.
I am not.
I have no power over you. I don't know how these podcasts work.
I don't I don't know either. You're doing it for this company. But, you know, I love the idea that I could say Leo to shut his trap. You know, Tuaolo, he's through if he ever brings that up again. But no, people would just tell me, stop talking about Bigfoot. No one cares. Yeah. Yeah. Tell him to stop talking about cocks. That's over till it's over. No, I have no power over you.
In fact, I think you could get me fired sooner, that I could get you fired. But maybe.
Do you have any any notes, anything. What should I be doing better or worse. Less. Well, like you're the only man of trust koenen you're an ear an icon in the friend you to say.
I would say worked the corps. Never forget the Corps. Well you know what Stallone Stallone says. No, no. I did hear him say it but I couldn't understand a word. Well it's right.
He's like Bill Murray's character in Caddy is the he said to me, he said, you know, the only thing people care about is you and you're full of really.
And I was like your for your forearms. You roll your up, you show a little bit. And if that looks good, if everything else too. Wow.
So it's too bad he didn't think of one more area which is his mouth.
A little lip control would have been nice.
That's no see you're you're a wealth of these things. You've got to, you've got to just man this is all true.
There's no elaboration honestly. Listen, I'm a firm I'm a firm believer in never letting the facts get in the way of a good story. Right. But but what I'm telling you about people encounters, but they're absolutely one hundred percent stone the truth.
That's great. That's great. Well, I'm going to work on my abs and my forearms right now. S and your tan. Well, that's not happening.
It's just not happening when you come up here. Again, I know we talk about this every time we see each other, but we must we must go look for great white sharks.
I'll take you out on the stand.
I'll go out. I'll go out with you. Yeah, I'll go out with you. If you bring seven men to help me stand up on the on the paddle board, I'm going to need seven strong men to get me to stand up on the paddle board and a camera to get me out there and a camera to get you out there because you don't exist without a camera.
No, and it does matter because at the end of the day, it's all transactional access. No one will ever remember that they suffered through this podcast.
This was great. I think you're nuts listening to you and I, gabb. That's a dream for anyone, isn't it? The it is what coronaviruses say. It just went away for an hour.
You're welcome, everybody. You're welcome.
This awful good.
God, that was fun. Thanks, man. I'll never speak to you again. That's the end then I'll never talk to you again.
Oh my God. That was awesome. I could have talked for another five hours to Conan. It's really I it's weird to be in a relationship with somebody that the only time you ever see him, you're separated by a desk and you're on national television, and then you get them doing something intimate, like a podcast, and you could see a whole other side of somebody. And it's it's really great. It reminds me of why I do these shows.
Actually, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. And I'll see you on the next podcast. You have been listening to literally with Rob Lowe, produced and engineered by me, Devon Tory Bryant, executive produced by Rob Lowe for low profile Adam Sachs and Jeff Ross, Team Coco and Colin Anderson and Chris Bannon at Stitcher. The supervising producer is Aaron Blair's talent producer, Jennifer Sanders. Please write and review the show on Apple podcast and remember to subscribe on Apple podcast, Stitcher or wherever you get your pockets.
This has been 18 cocoa production in association with Sketcher.