UPDATE, with Seth Meyers quote, Jimmy Fallon message Conan O’Brien might be, as Stephen Colbert described him last night, “like a kid who keeps saying he’s running away [but] he’ll be back before you know it,” yet that didn’t stop either the CBS Late Show host or ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel from paying fond and funny tribute to their nighttime brother.
“Conan has had an amazing tenure,” Colbert said of O’Brien, whose final episode of his TBS talk show Conan aired last night. “It started back in 1993, when he began hosting Late Night at the tender age of nine.”
Colbert then described O’Brien as “a dear friend and a lovely fella who has been nothing but a strength and a great source of advice for me as I took over a late-night show, and I want to congratulate him on 24 incredible years and several perfectly fine ones as well.”
Colbert then chatted with Late Show writer Brian Stack, who has also written for O’Brien. Colbert pried for some backstage dirt, with Stack at first giving NDA-friendly insights (“he’s Irish” and “surprisingly tall”) before getting down to business (“Team Coco,” Stack said, really stands for “Conan’s cocaine”).
Over on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, that host kicked off the night by congratulating O’Brien on “28 years of very funny late-night television,” adding, “You know, before Conan, I didn’t even know bears could masturbate,” a reference to a classic O’Brien comedy bit.
“We look forward to whatever you have planned next at HBO Max,” Kimmel said before getting in one last jab at another late-night host: “Also, I want to say congratulations to Jay Leno on his new time slot at TBS.”
On O’Brien’s former network NBC, Late Night host Seth Meyers wished Conan luck and praised him as one of late-night’s greats.
“Hey everyone, earlier tonight over on TBS, Conan O’Brien had the final episode of his talk show,” said Meyers. “We are huge fans of Conan. Conan was the first person that showed Late Night was something that could continue with different guests after he did it post-David Letterman. We are huge beneficiaries of him. We wish him the best of luck, Andy the best of luck, everybody over on their crew, the best of luck and we want to thank him for everything he’s done over the years as one of the greatest talk show hosts you could ever hope to see.”
On Friday, Tonight‘s Jimmy Fallon, who took over Late night from O’Brien in 2009, posted a congrats on Instagram Story, calling O’Brien “one of the funniest brains in comedy,” and adding, “Without you, I wouldn’t have a job. Thank you for everything.”
Watch Colbert’s Conan tribute above, and Kimmel’s below (at the 1:00 mark):