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Conan O’Brien’s Heart of Darkness

In finales, late night, nbc, talk show, television on 02/19/2009 at 11:59 pm

“I’ve spent my fair share of time at 3 in the morning,” he said, “lying awake like Martin Sheen in the movie [Apocalypse Now], staring at the ceiling fan, thinking about my trip up river — and we all know how that turned out.”

That, Conan O’Brien tells the NYT’s Bill Carter, is a little snapshot of what it’s like to be on the verge of assuming control of the late-night institution, the Tonight Show on June 1.

After O’Brien wraps his last NYC-based Late Night show Friday (Feb. 20) at 12:35 a.m. ET on NBC, O’Brien’ll have a few nights of lying awake, recreating scenes — sans Sheen’s actual heart attack, of course — from the epic Coppola film inspired by the great Joseph Conrad novel.

While you’re waiting for O’Brien’s East Coast finale or his West Coast debut, read Carter’s piece, Building a home in late night’s shifting sand. He’s brilliant and so it the story, in which he weaves his ample knowledge of the late-night scene.

— Denise Duguay


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