The COVID-19 lockdowns have taught us so much about the lives of our various late-night talk show hosts. That they have homes, for instance, and don’t just return every night to the vat from which various white dudes named “Jimmy” are so regularly decanted. Also, they appear to fill their days having Zoom calls with famous people, which actually sounds intensely stressful, now that we think about it. What would we even say to Kristen Wiig? “Nice bookshelves”?The thought is too terrifying to contemplate.
Anyway: As much fun as this ongoing late-night-talk slumber party has been, it looks like it’s finally ready to end. (Or at least begin the next phase of considering potentially starting to end, you know, at some ambiguous later date.) Specifically, Conan O’Brien is finally breaking free of his personal studio/prison, announcing today that he’s moving production of his TBS series Conan out of his house, and to L.A.’s famed Largo at the Coronet theater. But don’t worry, fans of Conan O’Brien’s lungs (you perverts): O’Brien and his team will still be observing social distancing, meaning the show will film without an audience, and all guests will continue to call in to the show remotely.
In fact, it sounds like the change-up had less to do with O’Brien getting cabin fever (or missing a real desk), and more with him wanting to support the theater itself, an institution in Los Angeles’ music and comedy scenes. “I got started doing improv at the Coronet in 1986 and I’m glad we’ve figured out a way to safely keep that theater going during this lockdown,” O’Brien said in a statement, and you can tell he’s serious, because he didn’t even include a little self-deprecating joke in there.
Happily, Conan has managed to weather the lockdowns without having to fire any of its production staff, who transitioned to doing their jobs from home while O’Brien filmed himself on a laptop and phone. The show’s move to Largo will see at least a few staff members working on-site, “following government and industry health and safety protocols,” while the rest continue to work remotely.