In his first interview since leaving The Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien openly discussed his parting with NBC on last night’s 60 Minutes.
Conan admitted he “got very depressed at times” as a result of his exit from NBC, but has no regrets about his decision and is “doing great.”
“It was like a marriage breaking up suddenly, violently, quickly. And I was just trying to figure out what happened,” he told Steve Kroft during the interview.
He also explained that part of the reason for his current comedy tour was to help him get back on his feet. “I started to feel better almost immediately,” he said. “There is almost no better antidote to what I’ve just been through than to do this every night.”
He also admitted that discussions with NBC became unpleasant after their offer to push him back to 12:05 a.m. “It just felt like the tone went very quickly from, ‘Take your time, we understand this is a tough decision,’ to [snaps fingers] you know, ‘Let’s go.’ And that probably helped me a little bit feel like, ‘You know what? This environment doesn’t feel right … I really don’t like the way this is going.'”
He laughed when he heard that Jay Leno felt he also got screwed. “How did he get screwed again?”, Conan asked. Adding that he hasn’t heard from Leno or any of the brass at NBC since the incident but is sure they will one day cross paths. “I’m not sure we’re going to be — have our arms around each other and drinking beer and singing old Irish fight songs. Because I don’t think they know any,” he joked. “But, you know, this is going to sound crazy — I do wish these people well.”
Most importantly, he wanted his fans to know he’s doing well. “I’m doing great. I hope people still find me comedically absurd and ridiculous. And I don’t regret anything,” O’Brien said. “I do believe, and this might be my Catholic upbringing or Irish magical thinking, but I think things happen for a reason. I really do.”
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