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Talk With Conan O'Brien

Aired July 17, 2003 - 13:47   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: I want to talk now with one of the nominees and the host of last year's Emmy Awards show.
Conan O'Brien joins me on the phone from New York.

Hi, Conan.

CONAN O'BRIEN, "LATE NIGHT" TV SHOW HOST: Hi, Kyra, how you doing?

PHILLIPS: Good. Are you excited about this honor?

O'BRIEN: Yes, it's very nice. This is our first show nomination, which is just great. Everyone here is very happy.

PHILLIPS: I want you to dish it out with me here. I have a couple questions for you.

O'BRIEN: You bet, shoot.

PHILLIPS: Here we go.

O'BRIEN: Let's crack the lid off this thing.

PHILLIPS: Rock 'n' roll. Let's open up that can of whoop -- beep.

All right, David Letterman, Jon Stewart, Jay Leno.

Honestly now, do you think David Letterman's funny? I want to know the truth.

O'BRIEN: Yes, I'm going to go on the air right now and trash all these people and end my career. No, yes, obviously. He's David Letterman, what are you talking about? He's the man. He created the show that I now have, so, yes.

PHILLIPS: And Jon Stewart?

O'BRIEN: Jon Stewart, very funny, very talented man, tough to beat. Jay Leno, tough to beat. Good competition all around. How's that for a boring answer?

PHILLIPS: Yes, come on. You don't want to dish it out?

O'BRIEN: All right, they're freaks and losers, all of them, is that what you want to hear. I happen to know they're all battling their secret demons and they're into weird, kinky fetishes.

PHILLIPS: Do you ever worry about not being funny?

O'BRIEN: Yes, right now, for example. It's a fear that's just chilling me to the bone. Yes, of course, yes. I think every comedian is worried every three seconds that they're not funny enough. It's why we have trouble performing sexually.

PHILLIPS: Now, you went to Harvard. I got to tell you, this surprises me, could you ever be a class cut-up at Harvard, not that you're not a smart guy, don't get me wrong, but you know...

O'BRIEN: I love that it surprises you that I went to a good school. That's funny, Conan, you seem like a functional literate to me, but...

PHILLIPS: You have very good grammar. I watch you all the time.

O'BRIEN: Thank you. I'll pretend that that's true. Yes, no, is that the funniest place in the world? Harvard, no. But it was -- yes, you could be a little bit of a class clown there.

PHILLIPS: Did you ever get in trouble for that?

O'BRIEN: I was arrested many times when I was there.

PHILLIPS: Really. Do tell.

O'BRIEN: I got myself in a lot of trouble when I was in college. And then I realized, all right, I better get a late-night talk show or I'm in a lot of trouble. So it was a big dead-end for me, pretty much.

PHILLIPS: Did you graduate with honors?

O'BRIEN: I graduated, let's put it that way. Actually, I did plenty well. I wrote a thesis on "Arsenio Hall" that got me very high honors, and then I got my own talk show.

PHILLIPS: All right. Is it true that you're relate to Dennis Leary? Or is this one of these rumors, these urban myths?

O'BRIEN: You know, Leary claims we're related. I'm having my people look into it.

PHILLIPS: Are you tracing the family tree?

O'BRIEN: We're related the way any Irish people from Massachusetts are related, you know.

PHILLIPS: After a few cocktails, you're always related.

O'BRIEN: Exactly. Dennis always says after about a few drinks, hey, buddy, you and me, we're cousins, right? And then he hit mess up for money. So let's -- yes, sure, we're related.

PHILLIPS: Speaking of money, do you really drive a '91 Ford Taurus?

O'BRIEN: Excuse me, it's a '92. It's a Ford Taurus SHO, and that thing -- that is a ride. I don't care what anybody says. I know Letterman and Leno have their fancy cars, but the Ford Taurus SHO is a sweet ride.

PHILLIPS: Does it go fast?

O'BRIEN: It goes -- sometimes I've had it -- I've had that baby up to -- once, 75 miles an hour.

PHILLIPS: Ooh, you and little E, I can see you taking it around at Daytona.

O'BRIEN: I've had many rappers compliment me on my sweet ride.

PHILLIPS: Your hoopty?

O'BRIEN: Yes, exactly. Now you've last me. I don't know what you're talking about now, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, I'll help you out. I didn't go to Harvard, but I know what hoopty means.

All right, so $8 million. You drive a Taurus. Are you a tightwad?

O'BRIEN: What are you talking about? I didn't say I drove just any Taurus. I said the Ford Taurus SHO. It has a superfast engine.

PHILLIPS: This is now a commercial for the Ford Taurus, I love it.

O'BRIEN: I know, if I don't get a free Ford Taurus out of this, I'll be very angry. By the way, I'd also like to mention that I love Snickers bars, too.

PHILLIPS: Really? Now you'll get free Snickers.

O'BRIEN: Now I'm aiming lower. I don't think I'm getting the free Ford Taurus. I just want to say the Snickers, that's a fine candy bar.

PHILLIPS: You want to plug your show, too? You want to talk about your guests?

O'BRIEN: Well, what's nice is we have a -- this is timed nicely, this nomination, because we have a big 10th anniversary special coming up in primetime, and it's going to be September 14th, and so that's going to be a big show. Giant stars...

PHILLIPS: Big stuff...

O'BRIEN: I'll be naked for most of it.

PHILLIPS: Really? O'BRIEN: It's...

PHILLIPS: You have naked news, you might as well have naked Conan.

O'BRIEN: I like the way you say that, too, Conan. You and Regis both say it in the same way.

PHILLIPS: Oh, my God, you're putting me next to Regis.

O'BRIEN: You and Regis, you're both my heroes.

PHILLIPS: But I'm Irish.

I like that. Can we use that as a quote? We could use that as a promo.

O'BRIEN: Yes, I'll stand behind the statement.

PHILLIPS: I wish you were hosting the Emmys this year. You were not bad last time.

O'BRIEN: Thank you. You saying I was not half bad is the nicest thing anyone's said to me.

No, actually, that was the most fun I think I've ever had on television, was hosting that. It was a lot of fun.

PHILLIPS: Well, "The L.A. Times" even said you were pretty darn funny.

O'BRIEN: Well, that's nice. That was nice of them. No, it was a lot of fun, and I didn't get paid. I don't understand -- I didn't know that going in.

PHILLIPS: Come on...

O'BRIEN: It's supposed to be a big honor, but you know, you can't drive around in a Ford Taurus on nothing. You know what I mean, you need cash.

PHILLIPS: Wait a minute, I thought it wasn't just a Ford Taurus; it's a Ford SHQV...

O'BRIEN: SHO, not the SHQ.

PHILLIPS: Conan, I love you.

O'BRIEN: I love you, too. And I really do love you. I'm in love with you, you know that, don't you?

PHILLIPS: Let's talk after the show.

O'BRIEN: I think about you all the time.

PHILLIPS: I'm having fantasies. O'BRIEN: What are you wearing right now? I want to know.

PHILLIPS: Turn on your TV, pal.

O'BRIEN: I'm wearing a miner's helmet, dressed like an old prospector.

PHILLIPS: We're looking forward to...

O'BRIEN: Does that do anything for you?

PHILLIPS: You know what, I'm getting heat flashes right now. I've got to go.

O'BRIEN: Me, too, all right. Nice talking to you.

PHILLIPS: Call me again, would you? I'm available...

O'BRIEN: I'm calling you in 10 minutes.

PHILLIPS: You got 10 minutes during the commercial break.

See you, Conan.

O'BRIEN: All right, we'll see you. Bye.



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