On Stage at the Kennedy Center: The Mark Twain Prize Celebrating Lorne Michaels 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)
Because of his witty, self-effacing comedic style, Conan O'Brien rose to the top of late night television fame as host of NBC's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (1993-2009). Even before landing that high-profile gig, this tall - standing at 6 feet 4 inches - gangly, carrot-topped comic was already revered in certain circles for his writing and producing talents on such comedy stalwarts as "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) and "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1990- ). Despite a shaky "Late Night" start in 1993 - many predicted he would be replaced by year's end and most had no idea who he even was - O'Brien not only persevered, but thrived, thanks to his sharp monologues, outlandish skits and easy rapport with co-host Andy Richter. The host quickly developed a large college-aged following which helped turn O'Brien into a household name. Wider recognition meant more opportunity - after hilariously hosting the 2002 Emmy Awards, he was named to succeed Jay Leno as host of "The Tonight Show," seemingly assuring O'Brien's stature as a late night heavyweight. Sadly, after taking over his dream job, he was forced to step down after his own program's low ratings and NBC's poor scheduling and ineffective management led him to leave the show after only seven months and relocating from New York to Los Angeles. His perceived mistreatment by the network after over 15 years of loyal service made O'Brien the underdog to the perceived villain, "Tonight Show" usurper (part deux), Jay Leno. The January 2010 late night scandal - tagged "Conan-Gate - ignited the ire of Conan's rabid "I'm with Coco" fanbase, who took to social networking sites and street protests in support of their late night hero, while fellow comics weighed in, mostly in support of O'Brien, whose next move to TBS became one of the hottest topics of the new year. Whatever O'Brien's future held, his legacy of melding together frat-boy foolishness with intelligent, twisted writing remained unparalleled, leaving his late night legacy intact.