Boldly and inaccurately stating that he is known throughout the land as someone who “emanates calm and reason,” Conan O’Brien took on the mounting and incompetently met coronavirus threat on Tuesday’s Conan. And while perhaps one of his Comic-Con alter-egos (and those pompadoured crusaders’ army of costuming, makeup, animation, and special effects artists) could take that preternaturally reassuring day-saving to the masses, superhero-style, the actual Conan decided to start saving the world a little closer to home, starting in the Team Coco offices.
Conan’s always incorporated his backstage life into his various shows, giving hapless employees no choice but to act as straight men and women to whatever shenanigans O’Brien’s legendarily inventive “bad boss” schtick spits out. Here, Conan’s assistant David gets a tough love lesson in hand-shaking. (Don’t ever—ever—try to shake Mr. O’Brien’s hand, and use an extendable grabber for even the most delicate of tasks, like providing other assistant and podcast nemesis Sona Movsesian a consensual but deeply unimpressed metallic back rub.) Are protective face masks sold out because people are panic-hoarding them (despite health professionals saying not to do that)? Conan’s on the case, wheeling around a prop cart brimming with old, decidedly unwashed rubber masks (Michael Myers, bug-eyed alien, Conan O’Brien) which in no way turned his offices into an eerie, immobile-visaged terror-dome.
That whole “wash your hands through two full renditions of ‘Happy Birthday’” thing got a potentially lucrative (for Conan) makeover, as the leather-jacketed, guitar-strumming Conan made associate producer Kelli keep scrubbing dutifully through his own self-penned hand-washing anthem about all the myriad other ways you can get killed besides coronavirus. (Watch out for snakes.) But O’Brien’s full powers, not to say wrath, were brought to bear upon his current go-to co-worker scapegoat, producer Jordan Schlansky, whose messy office and signature cranky immunity to Conan’s antics got the full quarantine treatment. In that two burly stagehands, under Conan’s orders, mummified the unimpressed Schlansky in plastic wrap and unceremoniously hoisted him right out of the building.