On Thursday night, Conan O’Brien sat on a stool at the end of his final show and spoke from the heart, offering sound advice and bidding late-night television a last farewell.

O’Brien went from comedy writer to talk show host in the early ’90s, maintaining a loyal following ever since he replaced David Letterman on NBC’s Late Night. Since then, he had a short and difficult run on The Tonight Show, settling for $45 million with NBC, before moving on to TBS. In total, O’Brien’s late-night career has spanned nearly three decades, garnering award nominations, wins and millions of viewers.

O’Brien’s departure from late-night is not the end, however. The comedian will host a new weekly series on HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s streaming service. He will also continue hosting his award-winning show, Conan Without Borders, which features the host exploring countries from Haiti to Japan.

Conan had several guests for its final episode, all coming to bid O’Brien farewell. Homer Simpson started the episode, as one of the 58-year-old’s earliest jobs was as a writer on The Simpsons. Will Ferrell also stopped by to celebrate O’Brien’s last show and jokingly asked, “If you don’t mind, can I pre-tape a few goodbyes, and you can just use them when your next several shows flame out?”


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The episode wrapped up with Jack Black, who, after his interview, played O’Brien out with a heavy metal version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”

O’Brien still had something left to say to his audience, though. He sat on his stool in the middle of the stage told them what he had been striving for throughout his comedic career. “I’ve devoted all of my adult life — all of it — to pursuing this strange phantom intersection between smart and stupid,” he said. “And there’s a lot of people who believe the two cannot coexist, but god, I will tell you, it is something that I believe religiously. I think when smart and stupid come together, it’s very difficult, but if you can make it happen, I think it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”

He finished the show by adding, “So my advice to people watching out there right now — it’s not easy to do. It’s not easy to do. It’s not easy to do, but try — try and do what you love with people you love. And if you can manage that, it’s the definition of heaven on earth. I swear to God, it really is.”

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