Have Fun With Conan and Andy


From The San Francisco Examiner

July 16, 2010
By Rossiter Drake

Best known as Conan O’Brien’s sidekick, affably absorbing good-natured barbs and tossing off a few of his own, Andy Richter once vacated his spot on the Late Night couch to try his hand in sitcoms like “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” and “Andy Barker, P.I.” Ratings defeated him, but he has no regrets. This weekend, he will pay tribute to his once and future ginger-haired cohort at the Herbst Theatre (in a rescheduled San Francisco Sketchfest event) — and that suits him just fine. “I would have loved for those shows to work,” he says. “Who doesn’t want to be successful? When I first left Conan, I was 10 years younger than I am now, and I wanted to survive on my own. I managed to put some quality products in the marketplace, but it didn’t last. When Conan approached me later to work on ‘˜The Tonight Show’ — to make great television every day and not have to answer to anybody but my friend — it was easy to say yes. Was I going to do it for a little while, then take another crack at a sitcom? Heck, no! I want to make a living. And it was ‘The Tonight Show.’ It was supposed to last forever.” Richter’s genial disposition masks any lingering bitterness toward NBC, whose acrimonious split with O’Brien turned into a nasty divorce in January. Since then, Richter has been touring the country with Conan, poking fun at the network and reviving the show’s best-known bits, including the popular “Walker, Texas Ranger” lever. “I’d never done anything like it,” Richter says. “After the first week, we had to admit we couldn’t party like we used to — we’re all in our 40s and 50s — so it was good that the tour had a relatively short life span. Besides, I’d like to think that ‘Walker’ has limitless comedic potential, but it doesn’t.” These days, Richter is anticipating O’Brien’s debut on TBS in November. The onetime prom king of Yorkville High School in Illinois will happily return as announcer and sidekick, and looks forward to doing again what he knows they do well. “We know how to put on a show,” he says. “I’m not worried about that. Meanwhile, I’ll be going to San Francisco, the most beautiful of all cities, to be funny with Conan onstage. I’m not sure what my role will be. I’ll probably be adjusting microphones and refilling water glasses. And I’m happy to do it.”

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