GQ: Todd Levin on His Days with Conan


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A friend of mine, comedian and writer Todd Levin, has an article in the most recent issue of G.Q. about his experiences writing for, first, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and then, after moving to Los Angeles, O’Brien’s brief tenure on “The Tonight Show” from its launch to its very public demise. It’s a fascinating and personal peek behind the scenes at one of the more bizarre incidents in television history — and very well written, to boot, which you can tell from this excellent kicker:

“If you’ve ever seen a criminal standing before a firing squad and felt jealous of all the attention he was receiving, then you would have loved writing for Conan O’Brien.”

And then this bit from when it became evident that the network had decided to bring Jay Leno back to late night:

“[Conan] entered the studio unceremoniously, dressed in a leather jacket and baseball hat — like someone getting ready to leave — then slumped into the guest couch and fixed his gaze on the far wall as he addressed us, never really making eye contact. It was a sight that shook your faith a little, like seeing your dad on crutches.”

Read the full essay here. By the way, Todd has also just co-written a book called “Sex: Our Bodies, Our Junk,” which he describes as “a parody of all those cringe-inducing sex manuals our parents had lying around, and featuring charcoal illustrations of hairy hippies getting to third base.” Mmm.