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Shorter Show, Same Conan
Conan O’Brien returned after a long hiatus, sporting a more casual outfit (“This is how I dress in real life — I call my look ‘hip biology teacher’”), a new set backdrop (“It looks like a strip club in ‘Grand Theft Auto!’” his sidekick Andy Richter complained), and the same old self-deprecating sense of humor.
The new version of his TBS show — which O’Brien decided to alter after hitting his 25th year in late night in 2018 — is just 30 minutes long. After the crowd’s welcoming applause died down, O’Brien joked, “Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. We did not have time for that. That’s it — good night, everybody!” He then squeezed in a quick monologue, a “This Is Us” parody skit with Richter as O’Brien’s worried wife, and a long, chummy interview with Tom Hanks.
And O’Brien did something sneakily revolutionary in the Trump era of late night: He barely mentioned the president. (Although he did welcome his audience with an unveiled reference: “It is great to be back. I am happy to announce right now that the three-month ‘Conan’ shutdown is officially over.”)
In their interview, O’Brien thanked Hanks for coming on the show despite not having a new film or book or product to discuss. Most late-night guests tend to be hawking their latest projects.
O’BRIEN: I love that you came here tonight. Thank you so much. It really does mean a lot.
HANKS: Well, actually, I came onto your show to plug my appearance on your new show. It’s going to be on tonight. Could we run a clip of our banter just for a second? And — you just saw it.
O’BRIEN: That was it!
O’Brien pointed out that Hanks had been the progenitor of the nickname “Coco,” which O’Brien now uses constantly — including in his brand name, Team Coco.
O’BRIEN: That was all you. It has followed me. It will follow me to the grave.
HANKS: Well, it’s because I couldn’t remember your name.
Colbert on Trump’s Transgender Military Ban
Stephen Colbert denounced the Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate President Trump’s ban on transgender military service, comparing it to bygone policies of ethnic exclusion.
“Why are they bringing it back? That was like 15 bigoted policies ago. ‘We’ve also voted to re-expel the Irish and keep Italians away from our lakes and reservoirs! They’re just going to make minestrone in there!’” — STEPHEN COLBERT
The Punchiest Punchlines (Record-Numbers Edition)
“President Trump tweeted this morning that crime will go down by record numbers if the border wall is built — but only if we build it with him on the other side.” — SETH MEYERS
“To end the shutdown, an Arizona lawmaker wants to fund Trump’s border wall by taxing porn. Experts say that if we do, the wall will be finished by Friday.” — JIMMY FALLON
“Nominations for the Academy Awards were announced earlier this morning by Tracee Ellis Ross and Kumail Nanjiani. So if you’re keeping track, they found two people to wake up at 5 a.m. to read the nominations, and still no one to host the show.” — JIMMY FALLON
The Bits Worth Watching
Here’s what Trump is thinking as he gazes out from the Oval Office during the idle days of the shutdown.
And here’s a “what”-filled rundown of top stories from this week.
What We’re Excited About on Wednesday Night
Jimmy Kimmel’s scheduled guests on Wednesday include Dr. Phil and the newly Oscar-nominated actor Sam Elliott.