The longtime showrunner for The Simpsons, Al Jean, has shared his thoughts on Conan O’Brien’s departure from late-night in a recent interview with IGN. O’Brien was a writer and producer for The Simpsons from 1991 to 1993.
In an IGN interview with Jean about the new Simpsons Marvel crossover short with Tom Hiddleston voicing Loki, we asked Jean about his thoughts on Conan O’Brien ending his long-running late-night show.
O’Brien is a late-night veteran, but also a well-known veteran on The Simpsons. He is most famous, probably, for his work on the episode ‘Marge vs. The Monorail.’
“The thing I would say for people to see what we always saw in Conan: When he was hired, and everybody was going, ‘Who is this guy?’ I said, ‘No you’re going to be surprised how great he is,’” Jean recalled.
Jean went on to praise O’Brien’s work, especially during the pandemic. “I would look at his TBS things — like his trip to the American Girl store, or he visited the Israeli army, or went on Grindr and Tinder — those things are as fall-down funny as anything anybody has ever done.”
He calls O’Brien a genius and praised how his late-night tenure lasted 28 years “which is only exceeded by the two best: Carson and Letterman,” Jean says.
O’Brien ended his show, Conan, after 10 years on TBS. For his final guest, O’Brien booked Jack Black but had a week of farewell guests that included Patton Oswalt, Martin Short, JB Smoove, Mila Kunis, Bill Hader, and more.
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Before Conan, O’Brien hosted Late Night with Conan O’Brien before a turbulent stint hosting The Tonight Show in 2010. The comedian’s next project will be a weekly variety show for HBO Max, but he will also produce additional content like podcasts through his production company.
Be sure to check out our full interview with Al Jean about “The Good, The Bard, and The Loki,” or check out our coverage of Disney Plus’ Loki series.
Matt T.M. Kim is IGN’s News Editor.