About Conan Christopher O'Brien
Conan Christopher O'Brien (born April 18, 1963) is an American television host, comedian, writer, producer and performer. He is currently the host of Conan, a late-night talk show that airs on the American cable television station TBS.
O'Brien was born in Brooklyn, Massachusetts and raised in an Irish Catholic family. He landed his first comedy job as a writer for the sketch comedy series Not Necessarily the News, after first serving as president and editor-in-chief of the Harvard Lampoon while attending Harvard University. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles, where he wrote for several comedy shows, and later moved to New York City to work on the writing staff of Saturday Night Live, and later for The Simpsons.
O'Brien went on to serve as host of Late Night with Conan O'Brien from 1993 to 2009, before going on to host the short-lived The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien for seven months. He is the only personality to ever serve as host for both the NBC Late Night and Tonight Show franchises.
On April 12, 2010, it was announced that O'Brien would begin hosting a new late-night talk show on cable TV network TBS. Conan premiered on November 8, 2010.
O'Brien often speaks proudly of his "100% Irish Catholic" roots. His ancestors arrived in the United States as part of the wave of Irish immigration during the 1850s and early 1860s. The O'Briens in particular came from Dungarvan, County Waterford. He notes the stereotypical background of his family -- they lived in farm country in Central Massachusetts and worked in fields like law enforcement.
O'Brien jokes that his ancestors married into each other for more than 100 years in Massachusetts, resulting in him being "dangerously inbred." The surnames Walsh and Powers appear in his recent family tree four separate times. Other surnames include Reardon, Powers, and Gavin. Conan's brother Luke has also joked that the family can't be seen as overly inbred, since they come from "at least" two different counties in southwestern Ireland. Luke has also described his family as: "They're nice. Deeply disturbed. Dangerously inbred. Palpably unbalanced. But nice."
A family-oriented man, O'Brien has included his family in many ways in his entertainment career. While working as a writer for The Simpsons, he named the character Ruth Powers after his maternal grandmother, who lived with him while he was growing up. He frequently references his family on his Late Night program, even having his sister Kate appear in an episode in which she was infatuated with Conan's sidekick, Andy Richter. In June 1997, he took Late Night to Ireland for a week, during which he explored sites of interest in his family heritage, including O'Brien Castle. He even met his wife, Liza Powel O'Brien, when she was featured in a remote bit.
O'Brien notes that his children are of the first generation in his family to not be 100% Irish Catholic, since he married a Scots-Irish Episcopalian.
He frequently discusses his heritage in the media:
- Conan O'Brien's appearance on RTÉ One's "Ryan Confidential"
- Conan O'Brien's speech at Trinity College Dublin