Conan O'Brien, the son of a epidemiologist and a lawyer who majored in American history at Harvard, doesn’t seem a likely candidate for funniest man in the world. Perhaps it was growing up a ginger middle child fighting for attention against five siblings or maybe his cousin Denis Leary rubbed off on him. Whatever the reason, the lanky Easterner has long exceled in comedy from being one of only two people to be chosen as Harvard Lampoon editor twice, a Groundlings veteran and a TV writer for “Not Necessarily the News”, “The Simpsons” and “Saturday Night Live” (1988-91). He won an Emmy for writing “SNL” in 1989. When Johnny Carson retired and Jay Leno was chosen to replace him over David Letterman, causing Letterman to take his talents to CBS, O’Brien was introduced as the new host of “Late Night”. Unknown and untested in front of the camera, O’Brien spent four years proving himself and being renewed at 13-week intervals until he was finally given a lucrative five-year contract in 2001 and his company Conaco started sharing the show’s production credits. He met his wife Liza Powell when she appeared in a skit in 2000 and they married in 2002. When Leno’s contract expired in 2009, O’Brien moved to California to host the “Tonight Show” but when Leno renegotiated with NBC, got a prime-time slot for his new show and then wanted “Tonight” back after the new show failed, O’Brien and NBC parted ways seven months later. The father of two eventually moved his show “Conan” to TBS.
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