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On June 1st, 2009, The Tonight Show began another chapter in its esteemed history when Late Night host Conan O' Brien took the host reins from Jay Leno. Shot in a studio on the Universal Studios lot, the show reunites Conan with his old friend and announcer Andy Richter and bandleader Max Weinberg.
With "a comic identity as distinctive as his name," according to the New York Times, Conan O'Brien has firmly established himself in the late-night universe. Hailed by the Washington Post as "modest, wry, self-effacing and demonstrably the most intelligent of the late-night comics," O'Brien's unique brand of comedy has earned him the title "Late Night's King of Cool" from Entertainment Weekly.
O'Brien grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts and quickly demonstrated a talent for comedy and academics. A two-time president of the venerable and notorious Harvard Lampoon, O'Brien moved to Los Angeles upon graduation and joined the writing staff of HBO's "Not Necessarily the News." During his two years with the show, he performed regularly with several improvisational groups, including the Groundlings.
By 1988, O'Brien's talents had come to the attention of Lorne Michaels, executive producer of "Saturday Night Live," who hired O'Brien as a writer in January of that year. His three and one half years on the show produced such recurring sketches as "Mr. Short-Term Memory" and "The Girl Watchers" (first performed by Tom Hanks and Jon Lovitz). In 1989, his work on "SNL" was recognized with an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy or Variety Series.
In the spring 1991, O'Brien left "SNL"" and wrote and produced a TV pilot, "Lookwell," starring Adam West. It was telecast on NBC in July of that year but was not picked up as a series. That fall, O'Brien signed on as a writer/producer for the series "The Simpsons," where he later became the show's supervising producer. From all the episodes he wrote, his favorite is "Springfield Gets a Monorail."
On April 26, 1993, O'Brien was selected from among the many talented potential hosts of "Late Night" for his particular and unique mix of "vitality, wit and intelligence," according to Michaels. His combined talents as a writer, performer and were quickly evident; The Boston Globe dubbed Late Night, "the most consistently funny and original show on late night."
"Late Night" has been consistently honored with Emmy nominations for Outstanding Comedy-Variety Series since 2003 and, in 2007, the "Late Night" writing team won their first Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy or Variety Series after 10 years of nominations. O'Brien and the "Late Night" writing staff have won six Writers Guild Awards for Best Writing in a Comedy/Variety Series, including two consecutive wins in 2002 and 2003 and 12 nominations overall.
Born in Brookline, Mass., O'Brien is married with two children and resides in Los Angeles. His birthday is April 18th.