Real chemistry between talk show guests and host is a rare thing nowadays, but Will Arnett, Conan O’Brien, and Andy Richter seem to click like few others do. It’s not that Arnett just comes to pal around — he’s pushing his latest project — but he seems as though he is genuinely interested in excelling as a guest and living up to the awesome legacy established by greats, like Albert Brooks on Carson or Robin Williams on every single talk show he ever did. Arnett is so adored by O’Brien and his writers that he was actually named one of their favorite guests in 2007 and Arnett is so enamored with late night that he took the time to do a one-off guest host spot on The Late Late Show during the Craig Ferguson/James Corden hand-off; an episode that, save for Adam Pally’s unhinged stab at the gig, may have been the most entertaining one amidst a pile of shows with celebrities playing make-pretend-David-Letterman.
Were you unaware of GOB Bluth/Batman’s second calling as an ace talk show guest? No worries, here’s a look at some of Arnett’s best moments on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Conan.
Arnett’s not just your favorite fictional illusionist, he’s also a prolific voice actor and pitch-man. In the above clip, his busy schedule makes it necessary for him to record a few TV spots while visiting with O’Brien. For the most part, this is pretty standard late night silliness, but it elevates a bit when the transition is made from real companies like GMC and Crest to racist butter and dubbed Danish porn.
In an earlier appearance on Late Night, Arnett also brought up his voice-acting work, revealing the secret to his iconic sound while O’Brien revealed a bit too much about Arnett’s criminal past.
This isn’t on here simply because Arnett, O’Brien, and Richter talk about Richter’s pole-dancing guest-spot on The Millers. It’s here because it feels like such an un-guarded conversation. We’re listening in on a trio of friends as they banter and poke fun at each other, or at least that’s what it seems like. When that happens — as it used to with Craig Ferguson and Kristen Bell and Gerard Butler — you feel like getting more than what you’re supposed to get from these light conversations that usually feel quite scripted and polished.
On the other hand… hearing about someone else’s night on the town, while entertaining, does make you wish that they had recorded it for a remote. We got O’Brien hanging out with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, why not O’Brien, Arnett, and Richter?
We’re numb to it all now, but in 2013, the mayor of Toronto’s repeated scandals and dalliance with crack cocaine was stunning news that no one could get enough of. Here, O’Brien quizzes Canadian-born correspondent Arnett on the goings-on before Arnett decides that he wants to make a little bit more GMC money and reveal O’Brien’s secret pre-show dance routine.
Had Arnett done his air-guitar Law and Order theme bit 10 years later, he and O’Brien would be co-producing a spin-off version for Spike right now.
For all the horror stories that you hear about the paparazzi, it’s nice to hear about a harmless prank like the one that Arnett pulled when he grabbed Arrested Development co-star and business partner Jason Bateman’s hand while shopping in the village for the benefit of photographers who may have, for a split second, thought that they had found out about Arnett’s and Bateman’s secret love.
This didn’t technically air on the show proper, but it’s a great glimpse into O’Brien’s and Arnett’s dynamic as a planned sketch with Arnett as a heckler seems to come undone while the two goof-off about the heckler’s drug-filled backstory and O’Brien’s screentime-hogging cockney character.
The sketch is originally from the MTV Movie Awards, but I’m still putting it in here because of the great post-mortem between Arnett and O’Brien and Arnett’s theory that this was all some elaborate ruse for O’Brien to finally kiss him.
Arnett does not appreciate the wave while he’s in the middle of plugging.
Obvously not a comedy highlight, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Arnett’s position beside O’Brien and Richter when they had to deliver the news about Robin Williams’ death and the nice words that he had to offer about his RV co-star. Not a highlight, but it says a lot about Arnett that he chose to remain on stage and speak to that loss rather than simply leave after his segment was finished.