Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

conan

Conan Slams Leno As Much As He’s Legally Able on 60 Minutes

Good news: The part of Conan O'Brien's exit deal with NBC that barred him from appearing on TV expired yesterday. Bad news: He's still bound by a non-disparagement clause that prohibits him from tweaking Jay Leno and NBC, meaning the 60 Minutes interview that just aired was fairly non-explosive (especially since most of the good bits were leaked by CBS last week). Luckily, though, Conan's contract doesn't seem to have included any language that prevents him from having a bad-ass beard and looking angry. Highlights and full video, after the jump.

On his awesome beard:


That first day that I woke up and was no longer the host of the Tonight Show, I remember the first thought I had is I am not shaving. And that was my small victory, you know. Okay, so I lost the Tonight Show, but I’ll show them — I’ll stop shaving.

On losing Tonight after only six months:


It just felt like the tone went very quickly from, "Take your time, we understand this is a tough decision," to — [snaps fingers] — you know, "Let's go." And that probably helped me a little bit feel like, "You know what? This environment doesn't feel right and I've been with these people a long time. And I really don't like the way this is going. And when it started to get toxic and I started to feel that I'm not sure these people even really want me here. Let's just ... I can't do it.

On Jay claiming that he, too, had been "screwed":


How did he get screwed again? [Laughs.] Explain that part to me. I'm sorry. Jay's got the Tonight Show. I have a beard and an inflatable bat. And I'm touring city to city. Who can [laughs] say who won and who lost? I'm laughing because crying would be sad.

On whether he's spoken with Leno:


No I do not think I will be hearing from him We should get him in here ... He may have Caller I.D. He won't pick up.

See? Nothing wildly exciting or anything more damning than what was in Conan's original screw-you letter to NBC. Still, it was nice to see his glowing face on television again (we'd nearly forgotten our HDTV could display that shade of pale). Our only question: Why was there no Andy Rooney segment on 60 Minutes tonight? Did he get bumped, Conan-style, to make room for tonight's big interview? If so, we hope there's no non-disparagement clause preventing him from telling us about it next Sunday night.


It's hard for me to get inside [Jay's] head and argue his side of this whole thing. Here's what I can say. I'm happy with my decision. I sleep well at night. And I hope he's happy with his decision.

On whether Leno "acted honorably":


I don't think I can answer that. I can just tell you maybe how I would have handled it. And I would do it differently. If I had surrendered the Tonight Show and handed it over to somebody publicly and wished them well, I would not have come back six months later. But that's me, you know. Everyone's got their own, you know, way of doing things.

On whether he's spoken with Jeff Zucker recently:


Conan: You know at some point I'm sure I’m going to bump into these people. And, you know, I'm not sure we're going to be — have our arms around each other and drinking beer and singing old Irish fight songs. 'Cause I don't think they know any. But — this is going to sound crazy — I do wish these people well.

Kroft: Jeff Zucker was quoted as saying, “At the end of the day, the viewers voted.” And they didn't like Conan as the host of the Tonight Show.

Conan: Can I take back what I just said?

On NBC's claim that Conan's was the first-ever Tonight Show to lose money:


I honestly don't see how that's possible. It's really not possible. It isn't possible.

See? Nothing wildly exciting or anything more damning than what was in Conan's original screw-you letter to NBC. Still, it was nice to see his glowing face on television again (we'd nearly forgotten our HDTV could display that shade of pale). Our only question: Why was there no Andy Rooney segment on 60 Minutes tonight? Did he get bumped, Conan-style, to make room for tonight's big interview? If so, we hope there's no non-disparagement clause preventing him from telling us about it next Sunday night.

Conan O'Brien '60 Minutes' full video [Live Feed/HR]