Conan O’Brien getting last laugh — not NBC morons who wronged him

When twerpy “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon says “Please welcome Conan O’Brien” on Tuesday, those words will pack a glorious punch.

Because Conan — the funniest of all — is returning to the storied late-night franchise for the first time since he dramatically left it in 2010 after his public spat with NBC: the Nimrod Broadcasting Corporation.

To quote that network in the 1990s: It’s must-see TV.

Why? Conan is one of the last hosts who purely entertained us before the format devolved into tedious, partisan political lectures — and is always a riot. (Fallon doesn’t act like Rachel Maddow, but he’s not entertaining either).

More grippingly, though, revenge is in the air.

A “Rocky II” rematch. Conan Balboa back in the ring with NBCreed.

Remember the mess that went down 14 years ago?

Those Peacock pinheads were going to move the godawful “Jay Leno Show” to 11:35 p.m. and kick “The Tonight Show,” a program that titularly takes place, um, tonight, to 12:35 a.m. — a.k.a. tomorrow!

Ultimately, Conan emotionally headed for the door after less than a year in the job, and that animatronic company man Jay Leno slid right back into his old chin, er, chair for four more forgettable seasons.

But on Tuesday, Conan’s tail won’t be between his freakishly long legs.

The 60-year-old funnyman is heading back victoriously to the Midtown office building where he once wrote for “Saturday Night Live” and hosted “Late Night” for 16 hilarious years. 

After O’Brien departed NBC, Jay Leno slid back into “The Tonight Show” for four more years. Getty Images

The event will be like Caesar returning to Rome in triumph (except hopefully without all the stabbings).

I’m a hell of a lot more excited for Conan to talk to Fallon at 30 Rock than I was two weeks ago when Stephen Colbert yukked it up with Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton at Radio City, where a photo op cost the low, low price of $100,000. 

Conan, who has hot projects galore, is definitely having the last laugh.

So will viewers on Tuesday — the diehard Conan fans, who are still miffed at NBC for their idiocy, and anybody who likes to see talented, hardworking, decent people win in the end.

After all, who the hell would want a full-time role in late-night television, a medium that has entered Hollywood hospice?

Ratings have cratered. 

James “tiny Cretin of a man” Corden hightailed it back to London, and CBS isn’t even bothering to replace the Brit on “The Late Late Show.” They figure, “Just toss in a game show instead.”

In 2022, SiriusXM bought O’Brien’s podcast company Team Coco for $150 million. WireImage

Trevor Noah called it quits on “The Daily Show,” and desperate Comedy Central has brought back Jon Stewart one night a week to soothe the aging audience à la Bill Murray in the new “Ghostbusters.”

Obviously young people have totally abandoned these suit-and-tie affairs.

None of them are very good.

And I’m only convinced older viewers keep them turned on out of habit — like how I fall asleep to “Frasier.” 

The rare times when late night is relevant, it’s because better-liked former hosts such as Conan or David Letterman make a papal appearance.

Or because Colbert has been taking cheap shots at a mother of three with cancer on “The Late Show.”

Jeff Zucker was the ex-NBC exec who took responsibility for Conan’s departure back in 2010. Araya Doheny

But nobody is writing an obit for Conan’s career.

The red-head has always been shrewd at reading the room, and knowing his cue.

Conan left his eponymous TBS talk show in 2021 when ratings slid, because his predominantly younger viewers were moving on from rigid, nostalgic formats.

That’s why his fantastic podcast, “Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend,” is one of the most popular in the US.

People love this guy.

Wanting in on its success, SiriusXM bought Conan’s podcast company, Team Coco, in 2022 for $150 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, and signed him to a five-year contract.

And he’s also still on TV.

He’ll be with Fallon to promote his new Max travel series “Conan O’Brien Must Go,” which starts April 18.

Leno also hosted the game show “You Bet Your Life” until it was canceled in 2023 during the writers strike. Getty Images

It should do OK. Clips of his trip to Italy have amassed more than 40 million YouTube views combined.

Meanwhile, I’ve just learned that Leno hosted the game show “You Bet Your Life” until it was canceled in 2023 during the writers strike.

The more you know!

And Jeff Zucker, the ex-NBC exec who took responsibility for Conan’s departure back in 2010, was forced to resign from CNN after having a consensual sexual relationship with another top staffer.

Conan won’t be smug about all of it.

That’s not his style. But I’m sure deep down he’ll be thinking the exact same thing I am: I hope Jay’s watching this.

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