Conan Drunkenly Recalls Meeting Andy Richter, YouTube Cats And E.B. White’s Advice


July 19, 2010
By Julie Miller


Let this be a lesson to all comedy festival organizers: If Conan O’Brien misses your event because of unforeseen career changes, he will make it up to you by visiting your city six months later for a rambling, wine-fueled appearance in which he talks about everything from toilet-trained felines to his fans. After apologizing to nearly 700 fans this past Saturday at San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre for missing the city’s ninth annual Sketchfest, Conan and Patton Oswalt uncorked two bottles of wine and reminisced about the time Coco met Andy Richter (who was also present) in a San Fernando Valley deli. Conan’s future sidekick ordered borscht and a knish and Conan joked, “I ordered a bowl of mayonnaise. Mayonnaise with a Communion wafer.” Among the other conversation topics covered in the three-hour-long panel, Conan discussed his early career doubts: He recalled writing a fan letter in 1980 to the author E.B. White, in which he confessed he was skittish about pursuing his own writing because he was sensitive to criticism. White wrote back and told him that if he wanted to be a writer, he had to get it. That advice has grounded him through a career where he’s been able to work only on shows he believed in, he said. Conan talked about change: “Fans don’t want things to change,” he said, “but they have to change. I’d rather do that than just stay in New York and do the same bits over and over again.” And finally, the former Tonight Show host discussed how he could have never broken into the industry had YouTube been around: “Today, 75,000 people could replace me and there would be miles of footage of them,” he said, adding that if the Internet had been a factor in 1993, “I’d have lost my job to a cat s- on a toilet.”

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