Late-night television over the last four years has been largely characterized by how the late-night hosts have handled Donald Trump. The affable and apolitical Jimmy Fallon, who entered the Trump era as the top-rated host on The Tonight Show, has fallen well behind The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, who has taken Trump head-on. Kimmel, meanwhile, has remained consistent, although he’s bought a lot of goodwill from many by attacking Trump while he’s also taken more lumps than other some late-night Trump critics because his former viewer base may have been more aligned with the Republican president.
One late-night host who has remained mostly unscathed by the Trump era has been Conan O’Brien, who has weirdly become the elder statesman of late-night TV these days, although in the last year or so, he’s probably found more success and influence on his podcast (and his podcast network) than on his TBS show, which has changed its format for the better. Most people probably know exactly where he stands politically, but Conan O’Brien largely steers clear of politics all the same. “I am just not a political comedian,” he said on his most recent podcast episode. “That is something that I have always stayed away from.”
Conan admits, however, that he supports Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and that he grew up in a household full of strong Democrats. He also joked that he really doesn’t understand undecided voters in 2020. “‘Well, the election is tomorrow,’ they will say to the undecided voter,” Conan joked. “‘The United States has been embroiled in financial and racial [controversies]. Half the United States is on fire. There have been unprecedented horrors under this administration. What do you think, [undecided voter]? Insane reality [show host] Donald Trump, or seasoned calm, moral Joe Biden?'”
Conan, then doing an impression of a dumb undecided voter, jokes: “‘Oh, I don’t know! I’d like to hear a little more about the crazy guy! Does he like animals? Well, maybe him then?’ But Biden likes animals, too. ‘Well, then, I’m still undecided!'”
“It is maddening,” Conan exclaims. “It is maddening!
That said, Conan also concedes that, while he is a Democrat, he has had a lot of great experiences with high-profile Republicans in the past, like John McCain, Bob Dole — both of whom have great senses of humor, according to O’Brien — and both Bush presidents, the first of whom once kindly invited Conan to his place in Kennebunkport, Maine.
“I’m not strident about politics,” Conan insisted. “But what I am strident about is morality and ethical behavior. And justice. And you do not have to be an ethicist to know that this President has completely undermined the norms of human behavior. As a Dad, I’m embarrassed, and I have said several times to my kids, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry that this is the President that you’ve got.'”
I should note, too, that Conan made these remarks with his guest, Hillary Clinton, who started her own podcast and attributes its inspiration to Conan himself. Meanwhile, perhaps in a reflection of Conan’s more quiet political inclinations ahead of the election, he also had Michelle Obama on his podcast last week.
Source: Conan Needs a Friend