Conan O’Brien’s last Tonight Show is tonight, and the exit of Conan from NBC’s late night line-up means fans will soon be without some of the great characters his shows have created.
From the early days of Late Night with Conan O’Brien to the present, Conan and his writing staff have come up with tons of hilarious characters. Some are foul-mouthed puppets, others are real people, and others are completely random. But whether you prefer a self-gratifying ursine, a Satanic pooch or a gastro-intestinally-challenged frog, Conan offered something for everyone.
These are our 15 favorite Conan O’Brien characters of all-time.
15. Stacy, Andy’s Little Sister
Long before she was on Saturday Night Live or Parks and Recreation, Amy Poehler was hilarious as Andy Richter’s little sister in the early years of Late Night with Conan O’Brien, mocking her “big brother” and crushing hard on Conan.
14. Conan’s 1992 Ford Taurus
Conan has a genuine “of the people” attitude, and nothing illustrates that better than his beat-up, green 1992 Ford Taurus SHO that he’s proudly featured on his show. Despite many attempts to sell this “classic” for wads of cash (once at a high-end auction and another time to Brad Pitt), the Taurus accompanied Conan all the way to L.A.
13. Abe Vigoda
Conan introduced a whole new generation to Abe Vigoda by using him in random and often pointless ways, mostly because Vigoda’s facial expressions alone are hilarious.
12. La Bamba
For some reason, Conan targeted one member of the Max Weinberg 7 and turned La Bamba into a comic gold mine. La Bamba doesn’t really do anything other than stand there and let the camera cut away to him, but that’s all we need to start laughing.
11. Preparation H Raymond
This is a character that grew on me. I found the giant ears and constant singing about cream for your keister to be obnoxious, but the more I saw him, the more I was lulled into loving this ridiculous character.
10. Vomiting Kermit
There’s no need to explain this character, because the name says it all. Simply combine a beloved children’s TV character with a disgusting bodily function and let the comedy ensue.
9. Pierre Bernard
You have to respect Conan’s willingness to give random staffers a shot at stardom, which is what happened with the show’s graphic designer, Pierre Bernard. This quiet, unassuming nerdy guy always delivered big laughs from his oxymoronic Recliner of Rage.
8. The Interrupter
If James Joyce wrote late night comedy shows, he’d most likely come up with a character like the Interrupter. This odd little man interrupts Conan by completing his sentences with outlandish statements, each more bizarre than the one before like a mental patient’s stream of consciousness.
7. Joel Goddard and Toshi
The biggest thing missing from Conan’s move to The Tonight Show was announcer Joel Goddard, the most peculiar man who was willing to make a total fool of himself for comedy, including his ongoing relationship with Toshi, a young, muscular Asian male escort often seen in nothing but a bow tie and a speedo.
6. Gaseous Wiener
I remember watching Conan O’Brien way back in the very early years, and the first big character I remember was the Gaseous Wiener, a guy in a hot dog costume who farted. It’s so stupid, it’s genius.
5. Evil Puppy
The longer Late Night went on, the more random recurring characters became. This is just an adorable puppy wheeled out on a throne of skulls while ominous music played, and it was sublime in its simplicity.
4. Pimpbot 5000
Back in Conan’s early years, there were a few gems, and this was one of them. A robot with a feather hat and a hand primed to slap a ho, Pimpbot was an awesome robot long before Futurama Bender.
3. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
Probably the most famous character to come out of Conan’s playground, this incredibly cheap looking rubber dog with a cigar gets away with things no human ever could, and Triumph helped push the boundaries when it came to subversive comedy.
2. The Walker, Texas Ranger Lever
Technically an inanimate lever may not be a “character,” but it developed a greater following in its heyday than anything else in the history of Late Night with Conan O’Brien. It was hilarious and helped to bring the one and only Chuck Norris back into the limelight.
1. Masturbating Bear
No character better highlights Conan’s ability to elevate low brow comedy to legendary status than the Masturbating Bear. There’s only one joke, and that joke is spoiled by the name of the character, yet it delights audiences every time.
Who is your favorite Conan character of all-time?
(Images courtesy of NBC)