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Live-Blogging Conan O'Brien's Final Night As Host of the Tonight Show

You know, even though we've been pretty much living and breathing Conan O'Brien ever since rumors of his eventual demise began flying way back on January 7, we're still pretty stunned that it all went down the way it did. And while the events of the last few months (and especially the last few weeks, days and hours) will ultimately make for a pretty awesome book, it's still clearly way too early to get a full grasp on all of the back-door dealings that led to this epic late night meltdown. Yet we must start coming to grips with the fact that just over an hour from now, Conan's seven-month reign as host of the Tonight Show will officially be over. So crack a brew (we already have!), get yourself comfortable, ensure your mouse is hovering over your browser's refresh button and join us in what will hopefully be a semi-cathartic liveblog, complete with video! On your marks, get set...

Coco!


11:36 p.m.: As one would expect, the audience gave Conan a rousing standing ovation — complete with a "Conan! Conan! Conan!" chant — that lasted a little over a minute. However, Conan insisted that the audience cut their applause short, casually reminding viewers that "We really gotta go! We have exactly one hour to steal every single item in this studio."

11:39 p.m.: Awesome news! Even though Conan can't go to host another late night talk show for seven whole months, he's already got another job offer lined up. His longtime buddy Andy Richter just offered him a (possibly part-time?) position as the kitten wrangler on his upcoming (and not exactly real) Animal Planet show. Even multigazillionaires like Conan O'Brien seem to have understand that every day that you've got income coming in is another day that you're not draining your savings account. (Thanks for the financial guidance, Suze Orman!)

12:11 a.m.: Tom Hanks is a great (and frequent!) last night guest, but man, the opressive amount of commercial breaks never really gave him a chance to get into a classic "Stop bending the shafts!" kind of storytelling groove. We would've loved to have heard more about the Boiler Boys posse — which included Conan, Robert Smigel and Bob Odenkirk — during the SNL days. Alas...


11:53 p.m.: Everyone who's ever left a big corporate job dreads one thing on their final day above all else: The moment when it's time to head up to your (generally clueless) human resources representative's office for an exit interview. Fortunately for Conan, NBC called in Dunder Mifflin's Michael Scott (a.k.a. Steve Carell) to lead the generally awkward discussion. We particularly enjoyed the bit where he referenced Up In The Air, mainly because it gives Jason Reitman and his co-screenwriter Sheldon Turner something else to get pissy about.

12:01 a.m.: Tom Hanks just explained to Conan O'Brien that, "In [his] house, [Conan] will always be the host of the Tonight Show." Such a sweet sentiment! Too bad he means that he and Rita have set up a desk in their bedroom for entertain them as they go to sleep five nights a week. Remember Tom, you'll have to wait seven months until Conan is legally able to come under your employ.

12:06 a.m.: Is it a coincidence that an ad for Up In The Air just aired mere moments after Conan and Steve Carell worked it into a bit? If Ben Silverman were still hanging around, we'd be more inclined to believe it was a value-add play tacked onto an ad buy.

12:11 a.m.: Tom Hanks is a great (and frequent!) last night guest, but man, the opressive amount of commercial breaks never really gave him a chance to get into a classic "Stop bending the shafts!" kind of storytelling groove. We would've loved to have heard more about the Boiler Boys posse — which included Conan, Robert Smigel and Bob Odenkirk — during the SNL days. Alas...

12:17 a.m.: Well, our prediction that Neil Young would've performed "My My, Hey Hey" didn't come to fruition: Instead, he broke out his plaintive 1976 jam, "Long May You Run." An excellent choice, we must say, but after hearing it, we can't help but feel more than a little bit depressed. Listen, we loved when Bette Midler sang "One For My Baby" to Johnny Carson, but this song choice made us feel like Conan just died a premature death (which, we suppose, in some ways he did).


12:25 a.m.: Wow, talk about a tremendous going away speech. Presented with one final opportunity to kick the soulless jerks who run NBC or the conniving Jay Leno squarely in the balls, Conan instead took the high road and thanked NBC for supporting him for virtually all of his professional life. What a class act! Also, we'll likely be committing Conan's plea to the younger members of his fanbase to memory: "Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it's my least favorite quality. It doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen."

12:28 a.m.: Nothing like an all-star jam of "Free Bird" as a way to close your final show! Coco, who positively shredded on electric rhythm guitar, was joined by Will Ferrell on lead vox (and cowbell!), Beck Hansen on rhythm guitar, Ben Harper on the pedal steel, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons on lead guitar and, of course, Max Weinberg and the rest of the Tonight Show band. We can't think of a higher note to go out on. Do not go gentle into that good night, young Conan. You've still have a promising career ahead of you, and we can't wait to see what kind of shenanigans you'll get into seven months from now. Until then!