Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend - Jim Downey

Episode Date: September 25, 2023

Comedy writer Jim Downey feels entirely unapologetic about being Conan O’Brien’s friend. Jim sits down with Conan to discuss his favorite sketches from the early days of SNL, acting opposite Dani...el Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood, and fine tuning Weekend Update with Norm Macdonald. For Conan videos, tour dates and more visit a question for Conan? Call our voicemail: (669) 587-2847.  This episode was recorded on 9/11/2023.

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Hi, I'm sorry. Alright, we got this. I know, I use my name constantly. Hi, my name is Jim Downey. And I feel entirely unapologetic about being Conan O'Brien's friend. Hello and welcome to Conan O'Brien's Friends. I can tell that we are gonna be friends. Hello and welcome to Conor DeBriene's friend joined as always by Sonah Mumsessian. Hello Sonah. Hi, you said my name so nicely.
Starting point is 00:00:53 My dad with a lot of respect. HR told me to do that. And Matt Gourley, how are you? That's a little indifferent though. I love dismissive is what I was going for. Well done. Mission accomplished. How are you guys? You know, I'm okay. I see it a little indifferent though. I love dismissive is what I was going for. Yeah, well done. Mission accomplished.
Starting point is 00:01:06 How are you guys? You know, I'm okay. Yeah, good. That's all I need to know. Oh, okay. I didn't even answer. Yeah, I just plough right ahead, all right. Do you even listen to us when you ask me?
Starting point is 00:01:15 No, okay, okay. No, I just plough right ahead. All right, okay. I can barely see you guys. You're just blobs. When I really care about someone, they come into sharp focus. Oh, man.
Starting point is 00:01:24 Yeah, yeah. And then when not, it's just like sort of like gray clouds. You were mean. See this? Wait, when are you? No. Not a thing. Okay. I'm just assuming you're waving at me. Yeah. Yeah. God forbid, you were giving me two middle fingers, but I'm going to know that that couldn't happen. Yeah. As your employer, I'm just curious. Have either of you been to the dermatologist recently? Oh, yeah. Good. I'm doing a public service announcement very quickly. Sono, you went? Just like two weeks ago.
Starting point is 00:01:49 Oh, I didn't even know that. I'm just throwing this out there and everything good. Everything's good. I have a clogged oil duct on my eye. I don't know if you guys have noticed, there's like a little, oh, you know what's so funny? Plum thing. Behind your back, we've been calling you old oily eye.
Starting point is 00:02:03 Yeah. Seriously. Yeah. We were like, we calling you old oily eye. Yeah. Seriously. Yeah. We were like, where's old oily eye? And then everyone knows what we're talking about. What do you mean, a cloth? There's like a little, do you see that? There is, I see it.
Starting point is 00:02:12 Yeah, it looks like a pimple, but it's just, it's been there for over a month. Yeah, it's just a duct that's filled with oil. Yeah. Why do they say why it's filling with oil? I don't know, no, they don't. I think I'm just like that. I have to put a warm compress on my eye, so I put a tea bag on there every morning.
Starting point is 00:02:29 Can't they drain it somehow? I don't think it works that way. It'll just refill with more oil. And they said I could take an antibiotic, but I don't do antibiotics. No, why would you? By the way, my dad is a microbiologist. His whole life has been devoted to antibiotics
Starting point is 00:02:46 in their use. There you go. But antibiotic resistance. Yes. He would say don't overuse them. I'm not sure he'd agree with anything you're saying. He would agree with me. I talked to him. Oh good. Well, how is he? I haven't spoken to him in years. Oh, yeah. He had a falling out. He called me to apologize about you. And Matt, how are you? I'm good, I go every six months because I have more moles than a three acre farm, you know what I mean? You mean that farm that has a lot of moles digging underneath it?
Starting point is 00:03:14 That's what I mean, yeah. So not the other mole. So, yeah. Well, I showed you my back here once in studio. Yeah, yeah, it was hideous. It was a constellation. And every time I go and they take something. Oh, Conan, I know you go.
Starting point is 00:03:27 I go every six months. Yeah. But the assistant who took over for you because you're so busy writing books, resumme out and babbling away on the podcast. You wrote the forward. And this is your podcast. That's true.
Starting point is 00:03:39 Okay. Well, he took me down immediately, but he took over and he let it go to like nine months without having David. David. And I said, David, I could die. I've got to go in twice a year because I'm just, you know, I was genetically engineered to live in a bog in Northern Ireland.
Starting point is 00:03:54 Yeah, I should. And then I should, now I'm living near the Mexican border and I'm not supposed to be here. And so I just went and fascinating. It's always fascinating because I'm covered in freckles. And I would think every freckle would be a potential, you know, something that would need to be looked at and cut off. And this woman can just tell the difference instantly. She's like, nah, freckle, freckle, freckle. Hmm. This one looks suspicious. And I look at them and they just look like all the other freckles. So I don't know if she's just randomly. I'm like, lonely's here.
Starting point is 00:04:25 It's the next for $45 or if I think so. Oh, that one looks like a trouble maker. She's selling them. How long does it take for her to do the full body scam? Cause, because that's what I'm worried about with my doctor. You called it scam, was that a Freudian slip? The old full body scam? I'm worried my doctor does it so quickly
Starting point is 00:04:43 he's got to be missing some things. Yeah, you get worried about that. When they're real quick and breezy about it, I think, but they're so good, they've seen it all. They've seen it all like bogey and becald. So they know, they know when they see it. So anyway, she said, well, I'm gonna do this, do this,
Starting point is 00:04:57 and then she saw something. She said, I'm gonna have to cut this one out and give you a couple of stitches. I saw that on your neck. I did too, I'm gonna look right at it. I'm gonna look right at it. Well, duck, you've got a nice and long. We're following apart, so it's in too. I'm gonna cry. I'm gonna cry that out. We're falling apart.
Starting point is 00:05:06 So it's in the back of my neck and I've got these two stitches there and then she put a big bandage on it and she said just to keep it in case it seeps a little. This is, and I know this is why people tune into the podcast to hear about my seepage. But come on. Come on. What's it seeping? Uh, you know, oh, oily eye over here is gonna ask me about. It's suddenly, you're the head of the foreign seepage committee of the Senate.
Starting point is 00:05:34 Oh, wow. So I don't think you have a, you don't have an oily leg to stand on. Anyway, she cuts something off and then she put a big bandage on it and I was going right from there to a meeting. And I thought, this looks like I've had a facelift. Do you know what I mean? It just looks like, you know what I mean? People in our business, I don't mean your business. Podcasting?
Starting point is 00:05:54 Not podcasting, but someone. But your face doesn't look like you had a facelift. No, I just thought whenever someone in Hollywood has a lot of bandages around their neck, people might immediately think, oh, he got the old throat job. And it's just on one side on the back of your neck. I know, but that's a very specific one-sided face stretch.
Starting point is 00:06:14 Trust me, I can see who's had it out there. Emma Stone, she had worked on on one quarter of an inch of the back right side of her neck. Did you get a facelift? No. I'm the only person who's encouraged by fans to get face work. They say get something done. Fix that melon is what people shout to me on the street.
Starting point is 00:06:33 Fix that melon! Yeah. I think you look good. Thanks a lot, pal. You look nice. You look good. You look good. You look really good, Jolline.
Starting point is 00:06:42 Thank you very much. Thank you. I take that Jolline. Well, I thought you were. I am. Thank you. I take that jawline. Well, I thought you were going to say, I do you. I thought that's very good. That's what it sounded like. And you know, that's a given. That's where you were.
Starting point is 00:06:52 Oh, oh, okay. And you know what? That shouldn't be something that's like, oh, what? You should be, we're all sexuality as we know as a spectrum. Oh, and we've reported this to HR. You should know Conan and I are sex partners. Yeah. Look, sexuality is just a swirling, twirling spectrum. Oh, and we've reported this to HR, you should know Conan and I are sex partners. Yeah. Look, sexuality is just a swirling, twirling spectrum.
Starting point is 00:07:09 And I'm all over it, baby. We're sex friends. When I think about people who are real adventurous with sex, I think about that, Corleon Conan over. Well, yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, we're sexual pirates on the high seas. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:07:22 On the high seas at Jizz. They call me Indiana Bones. Oh, God. seas. Yeah, on the high seas of jizz. They call me Indiana Bones. Oh, God. Okay. Exactly. Yeah, you too, just fuck. All you do is fuck. Well, it's not, I mean, there's some romance.
Starting point is 00:07:34 It's not just pure. Now we get to it pretty much right away. For me, I'm kind of invested. Well, I'm always in a hurry. I got things to do. I'm okay, Indiana Bones. Get over here. We gotta get to work on this.
Starting point is 00:07:47 Get to work on this. Yep, I know the sex link out that everyone's using. Hey, we gotta get to work on this, see? This work to be done in the sexual region. Yeah, by sex do you guys mean just like building a model airplane? Do you think that's what sex is? Oh, okay, yeah, yeah.
Starting point is 00:08:04 That's the right choice. The right brothers first flyer. Yeah. Launch a kitty hawk. You did a whole diorama of kitty hawk. Isn't that what sex is? Yeah, you guys sex it real good. Oh, boy, you should see these dioramically built.
Starting point is 00:08:14 Yeah. So anyway, moving on. Right. When you brought up dermatology today, did you just assume it would go to a sexual... Did you ever think high seas of gizz? Because that's what you said. I didn't think I would say that.
Starting point is 00:08:28 But let's admit it, I got the Riz. Isn't that the new word? There's a new word now. Is it the new word? Riz? It's like a portal. Is it a portal? Is it Riz or Riz?
Starting point is 00:08:39 Riz for charisma. For charisma. For charisma. Would you say I've got the Riz? Yeah, some Riz. No, we've got Kajizma. We bet, I tried to get us off of that, Matt.. For charisma. For charisma. Would you say I've got the Riz? Yup, some Riz. No, we've got Kajizma. We've been, I tried to get us off of that, Matt.
Starting point is 00:08:48 Oh, well. I worked hard to steer the boat away from those. You got us there, then. And then my job was to get us out. And then this boob over here brought us right back in again. So Riz, I'm shocked you know this. This is a word that's out there. And they talk about different young people in a Hollywood or influencers who've
Starting point is 00:09:05 got Riz. Okay. And it's short for charisma. And wouldn't you say, Sona, that I have some Riz? I would, I would actually say you have Riz. Yeah. You're Riz'd up. Yeah. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:09:16 Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:09:24 Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. sounds, that's desperate. What about the Riz Carlton? Yeah. You just pundit. Cool people don't do ponds. No, that's actually wrong. Oh. Ponds are back. No, they're not.
Starting point is 00:09:34 Oh, no, no, puns are the worst. No, puns are back. Lois form of hell. No, puns are back. Who knows, form of hell is a pun? Yeah. Yeah. Hitler and hell right now is like,
Starting point is 00:09:42 I'm glad I never made the pun. He's like looking down a couple of levels At least I know what he's at He's being molested with a flaming pitch for 24-7 and still he's like at least I didn't make a pun My guest today is undoubtedly one of the greatest comedy writers of all time He worked at Saturday Night Live for over 30 years, making him the longest tenured writer in that show's history. He also on a personal note championed me very early in my career. I owe him everything. He's
Starting point is 00:10:15 a genius. I'm delighted that he's with us today. Jim Downey, welcome. Entirely unapologetic. Let me explain. Let me explain. There are many, many figures in our society contribute an enormous amount to our culture and people who have unconventional personal lives. And yet, they seem exempt from criticism. You know, Jeffrey Epstein.
Starting point is 00:10:54 Wait a minute. Wait a minute. No, let me finish. I see Jeffrey Epstein. I see it. No one, no one, you know. Criticism is him and yet. Wait a minute.
Starting point is 00:11:04 Wait a minute. I have to apologize for the fact that I know Conan O'Brien. Oh, wait a minute, wait a minute. Is a double standard? Jeff wrong. Jeff, hold on. Hold on, hold on. Much has been said, much has been said about Jeffrey Epstein. Terrible things.
Starting point is 00:11:18 No, Jeff, I'm talking about Jeff Epstein, the New York Financier. Yes. Yes, we're talking about the same Jeff Epstein. No, yes, yes. I, what, I'd never, I never heard. Oh, it was a big story in the news. Huge. No.
Starting point is 00:11:35 Yes, for you to say no one ever said, Jeff Epstein. Yes, Jeff Epstein. Yes, the financier. The island. Yes, he had an island that I've never been to. Yeah. I'm pretty sure with respect if there was some news about Jeff Epstein I would have heard. Oh no, I don't know where you what rock you've been under. It was a huge story and I have to Jeff Epstein is I have to tell you he's gone. He's dead. He's dead. He's dead. No. Sorry nice try if Jeff
Starting point is 00:12:04 if Jeff Epstein, if Jeff Epstein were deceased, I'm pretty sure I would know about it. Now, I admit, I've not probably since the pandemic. I have not talked to him. That would make sense. That would make sense. I've been dead for a number of years. Yeah. I'll tell you, there's one easy way. Let's call Jillaine Maxwell. No, we're not calling Jillaine Maxwell. Why? Okay. She's in prison. She's in prison for crime.
Starting point is 00:12:31 She committed with Jeff Epstein. Jillaine's in prison. Yes, stop calling her Jill out. How do you know these people? Jim. All right, Jim. Listen, okay. I'm just saying I don't, I'm your friend.
Starting point is 00:12:44 You know what? Whatever you're, it doesn't matter I'm your friend. You know what, whatever you're, it doesn't matter what you're doing, you're private, I'm sure. I don't do anything in my private life. Okay, but anyway, I'm your friend. All right, well, thank you for the worst. And I make no apology.
Starting point is 00:12:57 For the worst, worst introduction to this podcast I've ever heard. Now, I'm gonna put the focus on you, sir, because I'm gonna tell you something. There are some listeners, this may shock you, who may say, I don't know of this gym downy, because we're listened to by billions of people around the world, a lot of people in Asia,
Starting point is 00:13:17 Pacific Grim countries, and they may not be familiar with gym downy. And I wanna explain to them right now, that you are considered the greatest comedy writer possibly of the mid to late 20th century, petering out very rapidly in the early 2000s. Yeah, when you just hit a wall, you launched so many careers, you are intimidatingly funny and you are referred to by many comedians as the great comedy writer, the great comedy writer that we all revere. And you're just going to have to accept that right now.
Starting point is 00:13:56 What do you think of that? Well, that's, that's very kind of you. The only thing I would say, I mean, I, you know, that they're funny or comedy, they're better comedy writers than me. I, but I, you know, I'm good enough that I could, you know, play with them. I just felt like I had to- Who would you think, who do you think was better than you?
Starting point is 00:14:10 Well, I mean, there's, I mean, Robert Smigel is a fucking brilliant guy. Robert Smigel, I can't. Shit. But I'm saying this, listen, I'm gonna say this, I'm a good friend of Robert. Robert was the original head writer on my late night show and Robert and I are good friends,
Starting point is 00:14:23 but I tell him this almost every day, he's a piece of shit. He couldn't write his way out of a wet paper bag. Jack handy? I didn't even know he was a comedy writer, you know? I thought he had an ice cream. You turned me around, Jack. No.
Starting point is 00:14:37 I was saying. Conan, you could have been the greatest ever if you weren't so fucking lazy. I mean, some weeks it was all, it was all I could do to get you to show up to worse. I'm sorry. I know it's like Conan, it's Wednesday. The others have been here since Monday. I'm tired. I'm I'm in a show. Everyone get a show last week. That is a spot on impression. And Jim, I had other interests.
Starting point is 00:15:10 You know, I got into glass blowing. And it was something that I enjoyed. And I made you a beautiful, beautiful glass beaker. That's right. That's something that I pursued on my, in my spare time. I, I, I have that beaker. It's a treasure. Possession.
Starting point is 00:15:24 I will, I will tell you that, yes, Robert Smigel, also one of the greats of all time, Jack Candy, we could play this game forever, but I just want to walk people through your pedigree. You come to Saturn Out Live at almost the beginning, 1976. You're there for that formative, four of those five seasons that begin that show, really the nuclear bomb blast with the classic cast, you're there, you were very young when you were hired, you were right out of college. Yeah, I'm a little 22. 22.
Starting point is 00:15:58 And your first day of work was also Bill Murray's first day of work, is that true? That's right. We shared an office for four years. And I came, the Chevis last two weeks were like my first two weeks, so we kind of overlapped. I wish that it hadn't been my first two years of adulthood because it was a very strange way to enter adulthood. I didn't appreciate all the stuff that was going on around me at the time. Right.
Starting point is 00:16:26 I would love to get to, you know, reconfigure those early years. I mean, you're there. John Belushi's on the cast. I remember you telling me once, he started coming by with records and playing us all these old, you know, stacks records, and these blues records, and he'd sing them, and you acted the noise when it became, the blues brothers became this massive title wave. But you had this different perspective, which is,
Starting point is 00:16:53 I thought, I mean, the blues brothers, Acroid always, he understood that it was kind of a joke. It was a goofy kind of thing to do. The first time I saw it, I saw it, I mean, it was really sketched to me. Yeah, and it was great, because John mean, it was really sketch to me. Danny was a great... Because John became... He got very, very serious talk about it
Starting point is 00:17:09 and he thought of himself as a musician. And Danny was actually really good and harmonica player and dancer. And so Danny, that began as a warm-up act for the show. It was definitely like a comedy thing. We were having fun with it. And the audience thought I loved it because we had our house band is, I know you know, incredible house band.
Starting point is 00:17:30 Yeah. Incredible. You had to know a fair bit about music to write, but it would be like, wait a minute. The Howard Johnson. Is your super player? The Luma Reini, the Al Rubin, the, you know, yeah, the David Sandborn, that was our fucking house band. See, this is an important part of my life because you get started at 76.
Starting point is 00:17:50 I come along in 1988 and I have a very clear memory. If you brought me on, I remember walking the hallways at night when I was trying to think of an idea and seeing these iconic photos of the original cast, the 1975 to 1980 cast, you know, Chevy Chase, Acroid, Belushi, Lorraine Newman, Jane Curtain, and at the time, I'm 24 years old, something like that. And I'm looking at these photos thinking, wow, that was like a thousand years ago. They looked like civil war photos. And this is is in 1988 and I had a very clear memory of, well, I wish I had been around for that because this thing is probably at the end. I had a very, I'm not being a jackass or being a wise guy.
Starting point is 00:18:34 I just thought, well, this probably has a few more years and I'm lucky to be a small part of it, but it's just, it's, it's amazing. The one that you were there at the beginning in the show now is about to celebrate its 50th. Yeah, I was wondering how they were going to do that, but, but it is, I confirmed that it is going to be, as it should be, February of 2025, because you were around when we did the 15th anniversary, but we did it in 1989. Yeah. And I was one of the producers, I'm going, Lauren, the show came on the air in 1975. Shouldn't this be next year, the 50th anniversary, I mean,
Starting point is 00:19:10 and he's gonna know. I think he probably, because if you count from, this is the 15th, you see, yeah. And yeah, but people don't think of it that way. I think it's because Prince said he would do it then. And I literally think it was, I remember Prince being there for that, I remember it being, and again, I thought,
Starting point is 00:19:25 wow, I'm here for the 15th anniversary of Saturday Night Live. It'll never make 20. I'll be long gone by then, probably dead. My lifestyle at the time. But it was just incredible to me. And you wrote so many classic sketches. What are a few of your favorites from that era? Say 76 to 80, a couple that just resonated with people, but they also were personal favorites of
Starting point is 00:19:52 yours. Things that I that I wrote entirely by myself that I began to develop a specialty that of foreign language pieces. I wrote a game show called Kines Musmacho, which was a... I remember that. Yeah. It started with a friend of mine who grew up in Columbia and who speaks just six languages fluently, but he used to tell me just the hilarious stories
Starting point is 00:20:22 about American television shows from the 50s that he grew up watching and there's Spanish titles. I know I love the Spanish language it's actually a majestic sounding language but it's much more. It's a much grander language in English but there's something about like American 50s stuff. So like there was a show that maybe you've heard about it. I'm sure none of no one in this room is old enough to have actually seen it. Now I'm barely old enough, but Cee Hunt, starring Lloyd Bridges, who was the father of Jeff Bridges. And it was about a guy who was a scuba diver and the different things. He was a scuba diver. He was a scuba diver. And the Spanish title was, Investigador Submarino.
Starting point is 00:21:10 And then there was the fugitive, there was the fugitive with David Chanson and my friend go, El Fujitivo, Con David Yonsek. And Ed So, and that started this thing where we started getting into Buncho. So the idea was, it was a game show. The question, you wanted lost by guessing correctly
Starting point is 00:21:37 who was more macho? Yeah. Of two different celebrities. Yeah. And the whole point was just to do a sketch entirely in Spanish. Yes. So that the Billy, Bill Murray played the host and Gilda was one of the contestants. And Ricky Nelson was the host. But my favorite part of that piece, the part, you know,
Starting point is 00:21:58 it was the part of the show where now let's meet you know, so we've done a round of like, it was like, it was like, Quennazma's macho. Fernando Lomas, Ricardo Mantalba. And it's much macho, Lomas Mantalba. And it's like, you know, Fernando Lamas, oh Ricardo Montabon es un poquito más más. So that was like, now let's meet the contestants. So he goes up and this is the thing that made me laugh. It's gilda and it's like, and she's fucking so brilliant. She was like, that giggly kind of excited.
Starting point is 00:22:44 And he's calming her down in Spanish, you know, and he goes, you know, and I forget the Spanish of it, but he says, you know, what do you do? I'm a housewife and he goes, gay professional and as to as posso, you know, what does your husband do? Me as posso, exterme de doer, you know, an exterminator, oh, ferdad, exterminedor as profession muy marcho.
Starting point is 00:23:11 And she goes, it's like, que tipo insectos exterminas? What kind of insect does he exterminate? Oh, cucarachas, mosquitos, totos los insectos. You have such a musical ear. You wrote a sketch, you know, those classic Hercules movies. You know what I'm talking about where they're dubbed, they're badly, they're badly dubbed. And you can tell they're dubbed and the, the, the lips don't quite match up. And I remembered, uh, I'm pretty sure, uh, it was Bill Murray in it.
Starting point is 00:23:57 And you were the voice of the dubbing. Yeah. It was, um, Hercules, uh, it was a, it was called the return of Hercules. And I, and I want, I always wanted to do a dubbing piece based on the old, again, for someone born when I was in the 50s. These Hercules movies were constantly on because they were on Saturday afternoon
Starting point is 00:24:16 and it was just the hilariously bad dubbing. It was Dana played like the evil king, Dana Carvey. A Nora Dunn was the beautiful girl who is Hercules, you know, love interest. And then it's Billy as Hercules. And then the sound booth was me, Tom Davis and Jan Hux. And I'm doing Billy's voice.
Starting point is 00:24:39 And Davis is doing the evil king, he's the famous part. And then Jan was doing Nora's voice voice and so we were doing it live and they were like flapping their lips to sort of and just moving their mouths. Yeah, but but sort of trying to you know it had to sort of look like they were wanted to be 60% on it, you know, but it was just the whole premise was that Hercules was without a shape. So I don't remember too many of the details, but it was like, um, it was, it was, this is Tom doing the evil king is going, I will make you this offer. You know, if, um, if you could, if you could pass a test of Frank, it was life. And it's like and it's like, and so, and so then, Hercules got, I go, what kind of test did you hit? Did you propose? What kind of test you propose? It's like,
Starting point is 00:25:33 do you see that boulder? No, it is, that giant boulder? No, it has ever lifted it. If you can lift that boulder, I will spare the girls' life. And then, and then I go, and then I go, that boulder is too large. I can lift a smaller one. That's it. Such a non-hercules thing to say. That boulder is too large. I can lift a smaller one. It's so he pulls a muscle, try to lift the boulder.
Starting point is 00:25:57 And then, so I can't remember, but it was just, it was just like goofy stuff. Like it's Hercules' disgusting life. It's like, oh my God, the mighty Hercules. I don't mean to be cruel, but you have really let yourself go. And Hercules, I learned to my sorrow, Leia Tees, that if you don't keep up your exercise regimen,
Starting point is 00:26:18 the muscle turns to fat. Now I later, I basically was doing leave-and-cleaf. Yeah, Yeah. So, whatever. Now, I later, I later, I basically was doing leave and cleaf. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But basically, I later used, Mike Myers asked me to do that voice for Wayne's world. So, I was the voice of her father. Yeah. Of the girl's father, who was played by the actor James Hong.
Starting point is 00:26:40 Mm-hmm. Anyway, that was my voice. Well, oh. Yes. Oh. Yeah. So, so the, the, the, now we're, we're enc voice. Well, yes. Oh. Yeah. So the, now we're encroaching on your Arizona. No. Now when you were doing a voice, I was like,
Starting point is 00:26:52 that sounds like the party in Wingsworld. Yeah, that was me. Yeah, yeah, yeah. There was a piece that you did that I think of as a quintessential Jim Downey peach. And this piece, this is when I was there. So this is in the late 80s, early 90s. But you did a piece, a commercial parody.
Starting point is 00:27:06 It was for a bank that would just make change. Oh yeah, yeah. Change bank. And it occurred to me that was something that just delighted me so much. And it's very popular online, and you can, you should go and check it out because you star in the piece
Starting point is 00:27:21 because no one could do it as well as you. And you are the spokesperson for Change Bank. It was you over explaining. Yeah, yeah. What we do at Change Bank, if you know, if you give us a five, we'll give you four ones and four quarters. We'll also give you and and and and and and breaking it down into all the denominations.
Starting point is 00:27:41 And I remember talking to Jack Handy about this and he was like, nobody loves to over. No one loves the comedy of over explaining more than Jim Downey, telling you much more than you need to know. And it's a very specific way. And there's a music to it. You have a musical ear for, I mean, that kind gonna comedy. But it is something that always made me laugh just deliberately wasting someone else's joy. Yes, yes, yes. Explain. Explain something to them that needs no explanation to begin with.
Starting point is 00:28:13 We got it. We got it. And so, and I've done a number of pieces where that is like a thread and I was, I remember one that I'm even sure we got on, but it was when the Padres, I think it was like, I was a big Cubs fan and when the Padres eliminated the Cubs in 1984. It was in 1984. I don't know. I don't care. Anyway, but anyway, the Padres and the Padres were owned by Joan Croc, the widow of Ray Croc, who started McDonald's. It was Joan Croc and the widow of Ray Croc, who started McDonald's.
Starting point is 00:28:45 It was Joan Croc and the joke was that she didn't know anything about baseball, so she asked to address the team for the game that's like, and to the players. I can't stress this enough. When you're at that, hit a home run. Hit a home run. And I'll tell you why. I'll tell you why. I'll say that because...
Starting point is 00:29:02 I'll tell you why. Because when you hit a home run, you get to run around all of the bases. Now, all of them, you get to run. You don't know. You don't have to stop at all. And so enough. And the players are like, Mrs. Croc, I mean,
Starting point is 00:29:19 we like to get started here. And then so, Change Bank was just, and I wrote that for Kevin Neeland. Yeah. And I am afraid like it was a case of like, I mean, you know me, I'm not, I'm not like a bully kind of director guy, but I was giving Kevin a lot of notes. And Kevin is like, you know, he was the most beloved. Yes. It remains. I just saw him yesterday. Everyone, you know, he was the most beloved. Yes. It's remains I just saw him yesterday. Everyone, you know, loved the guy. And I even, and I got even on Kevin's nerves a little bit and it wasn't like a bloodmating because Jim, maybe, maybe why don't you do it?
Starting point is 00:29:55 I mean, you, I mean, I'll be in it, you know, and I actually, and that was one of the very few times where I went like, you know, actually, I mean, I actually would be good for that just because you need, it doesn't hurt to be played by a person with no camera presence. You know? You look like someone working at a bank.
Starting point is 00:30:14 Yes. I just, and I had on the, and I was like, really talking a little too fast and too excited about something. And, and so that was, I have this theory that virtually anyone can act in the right part. Yes. And there's a genius in recognizing what someone would do really well and putting them in that right position. And a great, you know, there's a continuum that ends, say, at Daniel Day Lewis, say, you know, we can do pretty much anything, you know, and then I'm down more the other end of that. But here and there, there
Starting point is 00:30:52 are things that I can do where where I use my lack of camera presence. Well, I'm going to just because you brought it up. I'm going to skip way ahead of what I wanted to talk about next and just say quickly remind people that in 2005, you're in There'll Be Blood, which remains one of my all time favorite movies. I love There'll Be Blood. Of course Paul Thomas said. You're probably thinking that it is a Daniel Day Lewis movie,
Starting point is 00:31:16 but yes, but I'd be wrong. So I might even give it to the child. Who goes to death? It's a movie and I remember going and seeing that movie and absolutely loving it. It's so in my wheelhouse and you have these scenes with Daniel Day Lewis. And I completely believe that your job was selling land to California in 1903. And it was, it was a real thing because I was like, that's Jim Downey. That's my friend. He, he gave me my start. Oh my God. I lost myself in the scene. I forgot it was you. It was great
Starting point is 00:31:46 Well, I I had known Paul Thomas Anderson Weirdly met him when he was 10 years old when his father Ernie Anderson I arranged to be booked at Letterman when I was the head writer at Letterman in 1983 Ernie Anderson used to be the back in the 80s was the voice of ABC. If you remember those, it's like the love boat. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:32:11 There he goes. There he goes. It's the love boat. And so he brings Paul as a 10 year old kid. And because this is, why am I son? This is my son. And I remember meeting him and then I saw him again. That was 1983.
Starting point is 00:32:24 I saw him again. Well was 1983 I saw him again. Well, no, he wouldn't have been 10. Whatever, I did it three to 19, maybe eight, 15. Yeah, no, it was something like that. And he might have been younger than, it doesn't matter. No, it does. I need to know his exact age. Or this story doesn't make it to the final cut.
Starting point is 00:32:42 I don't know Paul Davison. I do. The whole thing falls apart. And don't know Paul Davies Anderson. I do. The whole thing falls apart. And you weren't even in, there will be blood. Give me that. Give me that. You never wrote for Saturday Night Live. But it says here a close friend of Epstein.
Starting point is 00:32:56 That is true. That is true. But can I say something? I'm gonna have, because I need to get you to, I gotta corral you a little bit here. Can I do it fast? Paul's on my cat and says,
Starting point is 00:33:07 Madam, I mean him again when he's doing Boogie Nights. Boogie Nights, yeah. And going out with my Rudolph, he decides I have some kind of look that he simply has to have in his movie. So years later he's casting there will be blood and he basically is holding up the entire production trying to find me And it was had been a year a kind of a drink a year for me and I kind of disappeared sure and he tracked me down
Starting point is 00:33:32 And that's what sort of pulled me out of my situation. Oh good and I flew me out to El Paso and then I drive seven hours to Marfa, Texas and that night was in a fucking fitting room with Daniel DeLewis. I can't just say that's the craziest intervention I've ever heard of in my life. I'm really worried about Jim. He's really hit the bottle. Go get him and put him in a Paul Thomas Anderson movie.
Starting point is 00:33:58 Put him with Daniel day, and it seems with Daniel DeLewis, the greatest living actor. Yes, that'll snap out of it. And I remember saying Daniel De Lewis, the greatest living actor. Yes. That'll snap out of it. And I remember saying to him, like, oh, this is fucking madness. It's fucking Daniel De Lewis. And I'm just, I don't want to just ruin your movie. And he goes, like, no, no, he won't let you. He won't let you be bad.
Starting point is 00:34:17 And I go, okay, I mean, well, I'm going to see how good he is. The only time I ever heard him use his actual speaking voice, which is incredibly soft and gentle. It's like he should, it's very whispering. And it's very delicate. I can't do his accent as well, but it's incredibly cultured and upper class. And I think was when he introduced himself,
Starting point is 00:34:41 the first time we met, which is literally an interesting room. And he's going on his pants and stuff and I'm getting fitted. And then when he introduced me to his wife, a couple weeks later when she did the set. And all of the time she stayed resolutely in character. Wow.
Starting point is 00:34:56 Which was like, he was doing John Houston. Yeah. Yeah. And so I remember we had the, every morning, it was shot on the set where they filmed giant outside of Marfa Texas a ranch that had been, it's been like a 50-year drought there and so they had all these rules like you couldn't drive more than like 10 miles an hour and that's an excruciatingly slow pace to be in a car and you had to, it took like 40 minutes to drive to the set from our home base. And so every morning I would be driving with Danny D'Aleus and he's in character talking
Starting point is 00:35:29 about what he did over the weekend. So it's like, I got to tell you, we went to the reata. That was the best damn hamburger I've ever had. And, but it's just coming out of that face. It was really... That's hilarious. And he's talking about Tony and everything never absolutely Do you follow soccer? He arranged the arranged that the World Cup happened that summer and so he arranged to have the World Cup finals pumped into the
Starting point is 00:36:03 Right to the little theater. My clear memory of that movie is my head writer, Mike Sweeney saw it first, and he came out and he loved it, and he called me up and he said, I just saw a movie and it's about you. And I said, what? So I went and saw, there will be blood, and it's of course, plane view is just this maniac.
Starting point is 00:36:24 And I said, what do you, he beats a guy to death at the end with a, I said, that's how am I like that? And he went, no, no, no, not that specifically, just the like, you're the kind of guy that would drag yourself through the desert with a broken leg. You know what I mean? It was something about the will.
Starting point is 00:36:40 You have this like crazy iron will. But he's got more intensity. I mean, man, he, you know, the, here's the thing. I have this like crazy iron will. But he's got more intensity. I mean, man, he, you know, the, the, here's the thing, I have the original script. I can prove this. If you need me to, the original script ended with me. Me, I'm working with him. Supposedly, he's brought me along when he moves to LA. And I come upon the crumpled body of Paul Dana, not the waiter. Yeah. Not the butler. Yeah. I'm the but the waiter. Yeah, not the butler. Yeah, I'm the butler and I'm not a butler exactly.
Starting point is 00:37:08 But I come in and I I carry Daniel, who's like six, seven or something. Yeah, you know, big guy. And I carry him out. And I, you know, I feel okay, I think I can handle it if he helps you a little bit. Right. The movie ended on my reaction to the horror. Yeah. That was supposed to be the shooting draft. And we started to go, are you fucking kidding me?
Starting point is 00:37:28 Yeah, yeah. I mean, that's fantastic. That's great. And then they decided, because I was, at one point in the policy, you know what, we're not going to need you for the LA shoot in the Doheny mansion, which is where they shot it. And I said, I wasn't hurt because I thought it, I always thought it was a lunatic idea to fucking end the movie on me.
Starting point is 00:37:47 And he said, like, he's so abusive to you in the earlier in the movie that it just didn't track that he would forgive you and then bring you along. Yes, yes, later career. One other thing I'll say about that is Robert Smigel actually knocked on my apartment door, you know, bang, bang, bang. Cause he knows Paul Thomas Anderson, yeah.
Starting point is 00:38:05 He knows him from punch drum clothes. Yeah, he says, Jimmy, that Paul's been trying to get hold of you and we're like, for what? Well, Paul Thomas had him what? And he goes, yeah, he really wants you to do this movie and they're holding up the casting and the studio is really angry because he won't cast the part and they want to get started.
Starting point is 00:38:20 And he goes, what? This is insane. It's a joke. And he goes, you got to do it, you should do it. It's Daniel A. Lewis. And so I said, okay. So, and then later that afternoon, I have to get an early fitting at a studio in New York.
Starting point is 00:38:33 And then I flew like the next day, Saturday to El Paso. But that night I get fitted. And on Monday, it's exam. We did our first scene on camera. My proudest boast is that I couldn't have ruined the movie because you'll notice he in the camera. My proudest boast is that I couldn't have ruined the movie because you'll notice he got the Oscar. So.
Starting point is 00:38:47 All right. So I have to bring up. I can't go anywhere in this world without people stopping me and saying, I'm sorry about Norm McDonald. I always think in those moments because he had so many amazing appearances on my show. And I think well, the person who really needs to be hearing this is Jim Downey because you were the one that pretty much hold up with Norm. You identified Norm as a brilliant guy very quickly.
Starting point is 00:39:16 You wanted him to do update. And then you and Norm really crafted that update, which has become, I think, the iconic performance recognized today is the iconic performance on update of all time. There's a quote here, I just want to read back to you. What I did like about the way we approached update was that it was a kind of the punk movement. What the punk movement was from music, just stripped down. We do what we wanted. There was nothing there that was considered to be a form of cheating. We weren't cuddly. We weren't adorable. We weren't warm. We weren't going to do easy political jokes that played for Claptor and let the audience know we were all on the same side. We were going
Starting point is 00:39:53 to be mean and to an extent anarchists. And I think that's a perfect distillation of what. I don't know where he said that. You would normally, the thing with with Norm, there was so many, first of all, he was really, really smart, very intelligent. He could land things. He was clipped and precise. His older brother, Neil, is a C.C. newscaster. Yeah. And so Norm had the perfect, what we call the perfect straight line going for in terms
Starting point is 00:40:21 of his look. And he just had a great sensibility. Also, he hated easy laughs and what my colleague Seth Meyers coined the term clapter, I think he did. I give him, I always give him credit. He's either him or Tina Fey, I can't remember. I've heard different people or Oppenheimer. But I think one of them came up with that.
Starting point is 00:40:40 Clapter is a perfect thing for that kind of like lazy sucking up to the audience. Trump sucks. Yeah. And we just, we might even agree with that politically, but you know, they come on. They deserve more than that kind of shit. So just challenge them with stuff, even if it's going to maybe make them uncomfortable
Starting point is 00:41:02 like, I don't like laughing at that, but that's fucking funny, so I'm gonna have to laugh, you know? And of course the OJ jokes. Well, here's the thing. We're a huge part of that. So the OJ trial happens, and you and Norm are writing these jokes that are so fucking fantastic. They're just razor blades.
Starting point is 00:41:19 Norm is the perfect person to deliver them. There's one you wrote, which I could, I could try and do, but you might remember it exactly, but it's a picture came up of Johnny Cochrane testifying every guy in the way John and and and OJ sitting next to him and Cochrane standing there and he's holding the knit cap, the knit cap that was found at the scene and norm in his norm ass quays as well, you know, uh, the, uh, the, the, the, the, the events, uh, had a bit of a, had a, you know, a bit of a bad day today. Uh, the defense trial and Johnny Cochran, uh, testified and held up the, uh, knit cap that was found at the scene of the murder.
Starting point is 00:41:56 He was going on about the knit cap when suddenly he was interrupted by OJ, who said, Hey, easy with that. That's my lucky stab in cap. Yeah. And I remembered that being an ice bullet that went through my heart. It was so. That's my lucky stabbing hat. That's my lucky stabbing hat. And the thing is, and you know this too, he would say something like that. And I don't know where my camera is. It's there, I guess. That's my luck in stab and hat. And he would hold in this way that nobody does. Hold and hold and hold and he would do it for a joke
Starting point is 00:42:37 that killed is that one did, but it also do it for a joke that he liked or that you liked or that you guys liked. And if it got nothing. It was like, it wasn't. Some people said you're punishing the audience for not liking the joke. And no, we're giving him enough time to appreciate it. There was one that was like, was O.J. Simpson high on drugs the night of the murders? Absolutely not.
Starting point is 00:43:01 Says at the Fiat O.J. And a simple test of any of his blood found at the crime scene will. And then there was one like there was there was there was one. There was one when like OJ Simpson had been criticized because the first mother's day after the murders he played golf in scotland yeah and it's like um... this weekend uh...
Starting point is 00:43:31 oj Simpson playing golf in scotland was heavily criticized and not spending the first mother's day since the cold brown Simpson's murder with his children and angry Simpson uh... you know responded idiots i didn't spend mother's Day with my kids because I killed their mother.
Starting point is 00:43:47 That was, there were two more I wanted to bring up because I was very norm and I would spend like insane amounts of time obsessing over the precise wording of the joke. And remember there was one that I thought actually benefited from our kind of neurotic attention to tale, but it started off as a joke about Penthouse magazine had had this cover story, which even if you didn't read Penthouse, you would see the cover
Starting point is 00:44:17 on Newstance and it was, you know, this week shocking photos alien autopsy. This is penthouse magazine. So they claim to be actual photos of an alien autopsy. So the joke we started out with, which I think would have been good enough, was this week penthouse magazine released its much awaited photos of an alien autopsy. According to those who have seen the issue, the photos were sharp, clear, and easy to masturbate to. So anyway, then I thought, you know what? There's that can be better. There's a better rhythm to that. So I suggest, I first suggested that it should be, So I suggested, I first suggested that it should be, and Tony's an quote, easy to masturbate to,
Starting point is 00:45:08 because I just liked it for rhythm. And then I came up with one of my greatest contributions of the season, which was I added the word surprisingly, so that the joke became, the joke became kind of different. So it was like, according to those who've seen the advanced copies, the photos are sharp, clear, and quote, surprisingly easy to masturbate through. You got this image of a guy going, you know, at first, I didn't think this This would work with that damn it. That damn it, this is fucking hot.
Starting point is 00:45:45 I think the work that you in normed it on update is proof that you guys worked really hard. You got fired for it. You know, one of the people at the top at NBC was a good friend of OJ. Who is his closest friend? Was his closest friend. And you got fired for that. But you've always thought that was a kind of a proud moment
Starting point is 00:46:18 for you because a lot of people reached out when that happened and identified that that was the wrong. I have to say, I know or am I know, took it much harder than I did. I sort of looked at it philosophically and said, you know what, it's like, you know, the A.E. houseman poem to an athlete dying young before fame out ran the man, you know, kind of thing.
Starting point is 00:46:40 And if that's, maybe I have that backwards too, but anyway, we re-enact off, and maybe that's better than risking that where you peak and then it's downhill. You stick around to me. We didn't put in that position of having to make that decision. It was made for us, but I know that the story about that, I know you know this story, but I think people who are fans of Norm deserved to know this about him. The network went to Norm and said, we want to get rid of Jim Downey,
Starting point is 00:47:13 and we just want you to know, you're cool with that right? He said, no, no, you can't fire him if you fire my quit. And they go, that's crazy, you know, he's not helping you not helping you, the segments to me and whatever. And he said, well, no, I'm not doing it without him. And he never told me that. And I didn't hear that for years. I heard it from some network executives. And part of everything else, if that had been me, you bet Norm would have heard.
Starting point is 00:47:43 And yeah, of course, mean come on norm didn't I mean he was very Stoic old world he came from a different century. Oh, yeah, I mean I remember when he when he died You called me and you said you were mad at me initially you said I can't believe you didn't tell me Conan And I said I didn't know none of us none of us knew Laurie Joe knew And his Mark Ir Herbits, his manager knew. Well, his mother and his son knew. And his brother. So outside of family, it was like three people.
Starting point is 00:48:13 And he didn't, and I know why he didn't, I mean, I've been told and it made perfect sense. So I believe it. He just didn't want it to ever be about anything, but being funny. He didn't want to be brave or fighting a good fight or, you know, he didn't want to do heartwarming stuff. I was a little hurt that he didn't tell me,
Starting point is 00:48:31 but I mean, I talked to him, I guess, I know you may have talked to him more recently than I'd had, but I talked to him certainly the summer of 2020. We were trying to get him on my last late night show. But not long before he passed and we were trying really hard to get him to be, because I wanted nothing more than to him to be one of the last guests. He was considering it, but then wouldn't do it.
Starting point is 00:48:55 And I think he knew that he didn't. He also didn't, he knew that his appearance was kind of changing and he didn't want to. But you know, if I, I know this is shifting from one kind of bravery to another, but he, one of our, my proudest moments was a joke we did. And I think it was a Frank joke, Frank's of Estiano. It was a joke where we took the world's most innocuous kind of C-section news story, and it was, we would clip a real news story and show it on the monitors, so that the audience knew this is a real thing, we didn't make it up and we did that for most of our our things.
Starting point is 00:49:29 So the story was like you know Denver City Council approves traffic light for Martin Avenue and so it's we go that it goes normal it's like this week the Denver City Council finally on its third attempt voted funds for a new traffic light on Martin Avenue and Then he turns dramatically to another camera and goes, maybe they would have voted the funding earlier, if instead of a traffic light, it was for rich white men. And then we'd break up a lower third, applaud now. But that's the kind of stuff that there's not really a great place to laugh in that joke. That's a thing that like norm, we would we would do our run through like we would work on the jokes a bit during the week, but mainly Friday night.
Starting point is 00:50:18 And we would that's one of especially I would do a lot of rewriting and refining. And then I'd run through stuff with norm. And then Saturday we do a run through andwriting and refining. And then I run through stuff with Norm. And then Saturday, we do a run through. And then we're always screaming. We were always kind of late, getting the studio really late, because they were, come on guys, we're losing time. So we'd come down to our run through.
Starting point is 00:50:34 And we make a few kind of changes, maybe think of some things for Norm to add. And then we'd have a dress. And then my attitude with Lauren Michaels, the producer, the big guy was always like, tell us how long you want the segment to be. We're like, because we're the most easily baloney sliced segment.
Starting point is 00:50:50 And at my attitude, a norm kind of agreed, it's like, norm wanted, a certain, you didn't want to feel that like, we had to have it, we were in total a certain amount of the show, but I always argued like, anything if we're cutting lean, we're in good shape, you know? So I mean, sure, we'll always cut the fat
Starting point is 00:51:06 that you, everyone should do that. But if we're also have to give up something, we don't want to give up, it's probably a good indication. No, no, a lot of our stuff can be done next week. You know, we used to, we would do six minute updates. We, I think we did a five minute, they do like 12 minute updates now, you know, and they did them before us.
Starting point is 00:51:23 And normal, I will say this, normal is not crazy about features. He wasn't crazy about having other people on the segment, you know, always any, and sometimes I had to like get him to be more involved with the guests, but Seth Meyers was the best ever at interacting with, I mean, he was great at that. I wish Norman had been a little more playful like that.
Starting point is 00:51:43 Be a good straight man. But, what I always took away from you, and you're in my head a lot over the years that I've been writing and all the years that I've been doing things, and you're surprisingly easy to masturbate too. No, you're also in my head for another reason. No, you're in my head because there's an ethic that I got from you and I also got from Robert Smigle and I try to pick from the best, which is if I can lose it, yes, trim the fat, but also sometimes cut into the muscle.
Starting point is 00:52:15 Norm would totally throw out something if he came to suspect it was not the kind of laugh we wanted. And by the way, he doesn't, that doesn't mean it was dirty or something. If it was cheap or easy or whatever. And the thing is, you could give Norm a choice of like, okay, this is absolutely guaranteed to kill. It'll get a mini-standing ovation, but a tacky, and we both know it. This is guaranteed to die. I promise you, we'll get death camp silence, but it's fucking brilliant. Norm would unhesitatingly go for the silence.
Starting point is 00:52:49 But I would go, yeah, I would do, but I'm not the guy out there. He is. And I always fucking love that about him. He would never reject something because it's funny, but they're not going to get, they're going to love it, you know. And I had fights with even with people that, you know, I both respect who just, oh, man, it killed, it killed. You know, yeah, but come on, man.
Starting point is 00:53:12 And a lot of that is these days, especially anything political. It's just so the temptation because this is coming up with stuff is hard. You know, you have to fill time. It doesn't feel good. You're out there in front of people and you tell a joke and everyone applauds. It's a terrible feeling. It doesn't feel good.
Starting point is 00:53:30 You want to just really catch them by surprise and make them laugh. It's very Soviet. And to go with the applause. I know. And Stalin was funny, which is sad. Stalin? No way. Occasionally.
Starting point is 00:53:41 Yeah, he could be someone. Don't kid yourself. He was. Joe? Joe? Joe. He was. Joe Joe. Joe. Uncle Joe. Uncle Joe. Joe.
Starting point is 00:53:51 Ask your husband, he was a funny guy. Oh my God. Cones. He grew up in the Soviet Union. He was 11. Yeah. Oh, but he was highly active in the Soviet Union. Oh yeah, I'll ask him about Stalin.
Starting point is 00:54:00 He was on the Pony. He was the funny guy. Yeah, Lauren Michaels, this is a quote from Lauren Michaels. He called you Jim Downey the best political humorist alive. Well, that was before the birth three years ago of a hilarious child. Ogle V. Johnson. Well, I've seen the kid stuff. Yeah, you're so principled and you're right.
Starting point is 00:54:27 Now, so much political comedy now, which is wailing one way or the other. And I find that it's just a, I don't know, it doesn't feel to me like a satisfying time to be a comedy writer if you're trying to do politics because there's so much that's just attitude. There's a temptation to enrage the audience. you're trying to do politics because there's so much that's just attitude. There's a temptation to enrage the audience. I mean, I mean, personally, I'm just fucking loathed, Trump, as a human being.
Starting point is 00:54:55 But it doesn't mean that every just attacking him is funny. There are interesting ways to attack him. I always like John Malaney's thing about there's a horse loose in the hospital. Yeah, yeah. It's just sort of an interesting. Malaney did a great run about Trump and his president was like there's a horse loose in a hospital and just how odd that was. It was such a metaphor. It was a great metaphor for Trump being president. And what I loved about it was it captured the absurdity of it all, but it did it in this way that there was no bile.
Starting point is 00:55:30 It was, and it's very hard. You need to sometimes, it was purely committed, which I loved. So let's just end this by saying that John Mulaney is better than anyone we know. Is that the point you were trying to make? I was very good, very funny man. When Malaney first came to the show as a writer, you were talking about like my, you know, I like to sort of identify people. And I didn't find Marhiron, but I was walking through, and this is really about Malaney and not me, but I was walking through the studio and by the end of my career, I was you know I was like you know 60 years old and I you know
Starting point is 00:56:09 I was aware of the age gap between me and having once been the very youngest writer I was now massively the oldest writer and so I didn't I didn't hang out I didn't do the late and I think I wrote from home like you know I. I live in upstate New York, near Cooperstown, and so I would be at home Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and then I write my piece, and I dictate it. I always dictate my pieces, because they have to be spoken, and they have to be speakable, and they're going to be heard and not read. And so you need to, when I'm dictating them, I'm changing them. I go, wait a minute, hang on, I'm changing.
Starting point is 00:56:52 And anyway, they have it in read through and then I'm told if it's in or not, if it's in, I drive down to New York. Anyway, so I was in the studio on Saturday. And I don't even, I'm even sure I'd met Malayne. He was like the second show. And I'm walking through the studio and they'm and they're rehearsing one of his Pete. He had a piece on. I think it was like his second show. And he had this this hilarious piece on. And it's a great sort of the host was Tim McGraw, who is a really good actor, very funny guy. And he it was like a country kind of
Starting point is 00:57:26 guy and he it was like a country kind of a show where he does like practical jokes, but he's such a soft-hearted swi-kate. He keeps like apologizing for it. It's hard to explain. You see the show. But and I heard it and I know this makes me sound like an arrogant asshole, but it reminded me of that there was a story about Ted Williams when Hank Aaron was a rookie. Ted Williams is playing. He was a rookie, Ted Williams is playing. He was somehow involved in the game.
Starting point is 00:57:47 I didn't know they had interleague games or anything, but Hank Aaron is warming up. And Ted Williams is sitting in the dugout and hears from the way the ball is coming off Hank Aaron's bat that he's never heard that before. And he storms out there, who was just taking batting practice? And it was Hank Aaron and Ted Williams, and I sort of had that, it was a kin to that. I'm not comparing myself to Ted Williams. No.
Starting point is 00:58:13 I am comparing Jummel and to Hank Aaron though. He's a lot like Hank Aaron. But I'm saying that I'm walking through the studio and I hear this and I go, that's a new writer. That's a new, we don't, that's not a writer I know. Yeah. That's we have a new writer or a guest writer because that wasn't, that's not, and I'm listening to the piece.
Starting point is 00:58:31 And I go, that was not written by a writer whose work I'm, so, and I was writing. That's cool. I was writing, it turned out it was, it was John. And he went under write a lot of great stuff. Yeah. And then he's trying stand up, but, whatever. He's young, He's young. He'll
Starting point is 00:58:47 get it. He'll get it. He will get it. Hang in there, sir. Jim, I will, the highest compliment I can pay you is that I wasn't joking. You're in my head a lot, and I think that's true of every comedy writer of my generation, and for generations before and after me and I think that's true of every comedy writer of my generation and for generations before and after me. I think what would Jim think about this, would this meet Jim's standard and that's a real gift you've given to all of us, an incredible gift. Seriously, you've given us a, you are uncompromising and proud to know you. Thanks for giving me a shot way back in 1988 and the crime not to. Well, I'm glad you feel that.
Starting point is 00:59:29 Crime begins comedy. Okay, but seriously, I'm thrilled when you agreed to do this. I thought this is a... We've been talking about my doing this for quite a few years. Yeah, so I'm in the last. 22 years. And this doesn't have for the last time I do it. No, this is the last time.
Starting point is 00:59:47 Yeah. It really, it's been a nightmare. Uh, I never want to see you again. This is a, yeah, sorry. That's really, I'm duly harsh. I'm,
Starting point is 00:59:58 I'm, next time you're on, I want you to, you dubbed with your own voice the whole time. Goat it is a pleasure to be here. I must say the last time, these microphones. These microphones is too long. Jim, thank you so much for doing this. Well thank you.
Starting point is 01:00:16 Thank you so much. Thanks everybody. I get a special name. Conan O'Brien needs a friend with Conan O'Brien, Sonom of Sessian, and Matt Gourley. Produced by me, Matt Gourley, executive produced by Adam Sachs, Nick Liao, and Jeff Ross at Team Coco, and Colin Anderson and Cody Fisher at Your Wolf. Themesong by the White Stripes, incidental music by Jimmy Vivino. Take it away, Jimmy.
Starting point is 01:00:43 Our supervising producer is Aaron Blair and our associate talent producer is Jennifer Samples, engineering by Eduardo Perez, additional production support by Mars Melnick, talent booking by Paula Davis, Gina Batista, and Britt Con. You can rate and review this show on Apple Podcasts and you might find your review read on a future episode. Got a question for Conan? Call the team Coco Hotline at 669-587-2847 and leave a message. It too could be featured on a future episode.
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