‘Conan’ Debuts Short-Format Show With Smaller Stage, New Look, Tom Hanks

The host’s inaugural 30-min. show featured the ‘Green Mile’ star and a cameo appearance from Milo Ventimiglia.

Conan returned to the air on Tuesday night after a three-month hiatus with a new 30-minute format that featured a more casually-dressed host, a smaller stage and a starry guest lineup.

When host Conan O’Brien took to the stage for his monologue at Conan‘s usual time — 11 p.m. ET — he was wearing a button-down, a long cardigan and slacks, as opposed to his previous suit.  “This is how I dress in real life. I call this hip biology teacher,” he joked. “I sell weed after class. But I’m middle-aged, so I call it ‘The Weed.’ I looked at myself before the show and I thought, shit, I look like Indiana Jones’ accountant.

The host’s stage was also notably closer to the audience than his previous version and absent a band; rather than occupy a microphone at the corner of the stage, announcer Andy Richter immediately engaged in an early bit. “New set. I moved the audience a lot closer and I have to say — I don’t like it,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien then explained his change in format to the audience as an inevitable lifestyle transformation as he grows older. “Why the change to a half hour? I’ll tell you why: You know when your parents get older, and they move out of that big, drafty old house with the staircase? It’s too big for them,” he joked. “And they downsize to a new, smaller, condo. It’s got safety railings in the bathroom. It has the string you pull by the toilet in case you get in trouble. That’s what this show is. A year from now, this show will be fifteen minutes and I’ll be hosting it from an adjustable bed.”

Following the host’s monologue, Richter and O’Brien spoofed NBC’s hit melodrama This Is Us with a meal scene, in which they played husband and wife. A star of the actual show, Milo Ventimiglia, cameoed at the table as their child; “Hi new dad, hi new mom,” he said as he arrived on the set in a letterman’s jacket.

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