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10 Cherished Memories from The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

It may not have lasted as long as Britney and Justin or the Ford presidency, but the seven-month stretch Conan O'Brien had at The Tonight Show was still long enough to produce some excellent material. Here now, a fond remembrance of the show's finest moments.

1. Conan Shops For A Guitar

A known guitar freak, Conan made a bit out of his Craigslist search for a new instrument in June of 2009. Accompanying him was Guns N' Roses legend Slash. The two stars went from house to house in California looking at various secondhand axes, eventually landing at the sketchy home of a shirtless junk collector who had actually sold his guitar right before Conan and Slash showed up. The visit was not a failure, though, as much humor was mined from this homeowner's general serial-killer vibe. Conan also managed to purchase a fancy bicycle for a less-than-enthused Slash.

2. Snoop's Lakers Caddy

Snoop Dogg always acts like he's too cool for school, but a visit to The Tonight Show last summer proved the O.G. is actually a huge L.A. Lakers nerd. How huge? The man owns a yellow Pontiac with an airbrushed hood mural featuring himself and numerous famed Lakers. As if that weren't dorky enough, the car''s trunk boasts an image of Snoop dunking over more basketball greats in a custom yellow-and-purple Superman jersey. Anyone else silly enough to own this stuff would probably be laughed off the Internet. Snoop just barely squeaks by on this one because, well, he's Snoop Doggy Dogg. Without Conan, we might never have discovered this goldmine of comedy.

3. Triumph At Bonnaroo

When Conan dispatches Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to cover pop-culture events, the results are usually hilarious. The mean little puppet's report on the 2009 Bonnaroo festival was no different. Triumph mercilessly ridiculed the "pungent hippies" he encountered ("It's expensive to come [here]…did you have to sell your entire meth lab?"); cracked up the Beastie Boys by comparing them to a Pep Boys logo; discovered Tonight Show drummer Max Weinberg naked in some poor girl's tent; and managed to work in jabs at New Jersey, the Black Eyed Peas, Flavor Flav, and even his boss ("Conan O'Donnell").

4. The Destruction Of Wax Fonzie And Wax Tom Cruise

Early in his Tonight Show run, Conan visited a warehouse full of less-than-stellar wax figures of celebrities. The two most disturbing were Tom Cruise and Henry Winkler in his "Fonzie" attire. Of course, Conan adopted these two wax rejects as his new mascots and sent them on a series of adventures (including a spooky appearance in a Universal Studios bathroom). Finally, Wax Tom & Wax Fonz were stuffed into Ringling Brothers Circus cannons and blasted across the studio parking lot. Both figures broke apart upon impact, but Fonzie had it the worst; the greaser hit the pavement face first, forever scarring his hunky wax visage.

5. Norm's Moth Joke

Norm Macdonald visited The Tonight Show on August 31st and repeated a joke about a moth his limo driver told him. This was no ordinary moth joke, though; Norm spent over three minutes detailing the trials and tribulations of this depressed bug, a listless soul unhappy in all aspects of his life. This moth hated his job, felt no passion for his marriage or surviving children (one of this moth's children was already dead), wrestled constantly with suicidal thoughts, and even dealt with confusing spider-related identity issues. The audience and Conan grew restless as Norm plowed forward, before eventually sticking the awesome punchline. Another genius moment from one of Conan's most reliable foils.

Comments ( 11 )

When I discussing Norm Macdonald with a friend once, they mentioned that he's brilliant in an "anti-comedy" kind of way. I think he is crazy in an insane kind of way.

meredith commented on Jan 25 10 at 11:38 am

7 months after the fact, I'm still blown away by the first five minutes of the first episode. That cross-country run to his new gig is one of the most amazing pieces of television comedy ever. everything else he did on that show exists in its shadow.

Matthew commented on Jan 25 10 at 1:37 pm

In the late 80's I was working in a comedy club in Canada where Norm was a regular. During a post show chat the subject of golf came up and Norm mentioned he loved the game. So long story short the next day I played 18 holes of golf with Norm and Harland Williams. The funniest and strangest day of my life. Norm is the funniest man alive. And a fine golfer too I might add.

Jack commented on Jan 25 10 at 5:11 pm

Matthew - ditto. I've been looking for that first 5 minutes. Truly, one of the greatest TV entrances EVER. Glad you mentioned this.

Tre commented on Jan 26 10 at 3:18 am

Triumph cracks me up! What's going to happen to him now. He definitely deserves a new gig.

Martskers commented on Jan 26 10 at 10:28 am

Conan rules - need him back on the air! Have been laughing with him for what seems like forever, BOOOOOOO NBC.

Rob Cook commented on Jan 26 10 at 12:26 pm

Note to author, Snoop's car is not in fact a Cadillac, but an old car GM used to make back in the day called a Pontiac. Some of you older folks might remember that old GM nameplate.

FalstaffsMind commented on Jan 26 10 at 1:28 pm

I loved that first bit too. It's on hulu. You just have to sit through a 30 second ad first:

maxwell64 commented on Jan 26 10 at 6:35 pm

Snoops car was not a cadillac. It's a Pontiac. I think a Bonneville or a Tempest.

Dennis commented on Jan 28 10 at 6:08 pm

Most of these "top ten" moments are only funny if you're completely wasted. Conan was a flop in the Tonight Show spot because it's too early for him -- more than half of his target audience is straight at that hour, and they see that he's fundamentally not a funny guy.

Heck, even Letterman's funnier, and he's been phoning it in for a decade.

Tim Porges commented on Feb 01 10 at 5:11 am

D'oh! Thanks for correcting me on Snoop's car, FalstaffsMind/Dennis. I have notified the editors and hopefully it will be fixed soon!

James Greene, Jr. commented on Feb 06 10 at 2:45 pm

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