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Conan O'Brien Returned to the Tonight Show to Share "Surreal" Late Night Memories

Jimmy Fallon's April 9 interview with late night legend Conan O'Brien was one for the books—and so, so funny. Watch Conan's interview now. 

By Samantha Vincenty

It's hard to pick just one moment to highlight from Conan O'Brien's April 9 return to The Tonight Show, because everything that came out of the comedian's mouth was so funny — like his reaction to learning that Kelly Clarkson tapes in his old studio, and screaming "KNOCK IT OFF!" after the standing ovation he received — and so fascinating. From his stories about Prince and Samuel L. Jackson to his hysterical tale of an awkward airport selfie (we won't ruin it, just watch above), O'Brien's interview with Jimmy Fallon was one for the books. 

How to Watch

Watch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC weeknights at 11:35/10:35c and next day on Peacock

"It's weird to come back. I haven't been in this building for such a long time, and I haven't been on this floor in forever," said O'Brien, who hosted Late Night with Conan O'Brien from 1993 to 2009, The Tonight Show from 2009-2010, and began his career as a Saturday Night Live writer. 

"What was it like? Did flashbacks happen?" Fallon asked. 

"I mean, I was here for 16 years doing the Late Night show before we went out to L.A., and right across the hall," O'Brien said.

"All these memories came flooding back to me. And the first thing that will hit you, and it will hit you too, because one day — you'll have this show as long as you want it — but when you're 98, you'll move on, and someone else will be in this studio," O'Brien told Fallon. "When someone else is in your studio, it feels weird."

RELATED: Jimmy Fallon and Heart Performed "Total Eclipse of the Heart" During the Solar Event

Even when it's an absolute gem like Kelly Clarkson, who tapes The Kelly Clarkson Show where he did Late Night. 

Conan O'Brien on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Episode 1958

"I love Kelly Clarkson. Who doesn't love Kelly Clarkson? But still, I felt like,'It's not right! Blasphemy, it should be a museum!!'" O'Brien joked, his voice rising to a scream in fake outrage. "They should've burned it to the GROUND!" Then Kelly came out to say hi and I said, 'Don't talk to me! You make me sick!'" 

"Wow," Fallon said, as O'Brien kept the bit going. "I feel terrible, Kelly. I really do," he joked.

Conan O'Brien's Late Night memories: "Stuff that happened back in the '90s seems surreal now"

O'Brien's interview with Fallon opened with an exchange about his 6'4" height. "As you know, if you're the Host, you want to make sure that everyone's comfortable," O'Brien told Fallon. And I didn't want to be this big Muppets puppet dangling over everybody. So I was constantly crouching."

RELATED: Every Host of The Tonight Show Through the Years

Talk of the Muppets led to a bit of 30 Rock late night lore: The famous "Muppets closet," a set of preserved pipes that were decorated by Muppeteers Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Don Sahlin and Jerry Juhl while waiting to do a talk show interview in 1964.

This, in turn, led to a memory from Fallon recounting when he took his parents to see the Muppets pipes, which were in then-bandleader Max Weinberg's dressing room. (Fallon also shared an amazing throwback photo from when he was a guest on O'Brien's show more than 20 years ago). 

Conan O'Brien picture during The Tonight Show.

Conan O'Brien hosted a Late Night show from the 30 Rock rink after a fire

"I also have crazy memories of stuff that happened back in the '90s that seem surreal now," O'Brien said. "But we had a show that we were getting ready to do, and about 45 minutes before the show... there was a fire somewhere in the building and they said, 'We're clearing it all out.' We decided to do the show anyway, so we went down to the skating rink."

In lieu of their studio chairs, O'Brien and his sidekick Andy Richter bought a massage chair from Sharper Image. That night's guest was Samuel L. Jackson. "Samuel Jackson is like sitting there, the coolest guy in the world," O'Brien remembered. "But no one can make one of those chairs cool."

Like Fallon, O'Brien pulled many a stunt during his tenure as an NBC late night Host. "I don't know about you," O'Brien told his colleague, "but in my life now, when I ride around Manhattan, all I remember is being dressed in a loincloth on that corner and dunking myself in chicken broth."

Conan O’Brien on Prince Lying to Him, Interviewing Obama and "Conan O’Brien Must Go"

Watch Conan O'Brien's incredible two-part interview with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show above.