Around 40 years after the beginning of his television career, Conan O'Brien remains one of the most popular names in American comedy, so it was a treat to hear him on the Irish airwaves on Saturday afternoon.
O'Brien is perhaps best known as a chat show host, a role he continues today on his podcast 'Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend,' which has called in such stellar names as David Byrne, Javier Bardem, Harrison Ford, and Paul McCartney this summer alone.
But his broadcasting and comedy career spans decades, through time with Saturday Night Live and his own TV chat show Late Night with Conan O'Brien, which ran until 2009.
This writer is perhaps most grateful to O'Brien for his role as a writer on The Simpsons, particularly his contribution to the immortal episode 'Marge vs. the Monorail.'
Regardless of how you know him, Conan O'Brien endures as one of the most beloved comedians and broadcasters still working today, so it was a real treat to hear him as a guest on the excellent Second Captains Saturday show on RTÉ Radio One on Saturday afternoon.
Hosted by the crew over at Second Captains, the show sees a different guest interviewed each week on their "sporting life," with guests sharing memories of their favourite sporting experiences and, in some cases, exploits down through the years.
Needless to say the encounter with Conan O'Brien was a suitably entertaining affair - and the legendary Massachusetts man had some unexpectedly wise words for fans of Mayo football.
Conan O'Brien dazzles Second Captains panel with stellar appearance
Conan O'Brien's ancestors came from County Dublin, and he claimed in a 2019 interview that a DNA test had shown him to be "100% Irish."
Whether or not that is true, he is undoubtedly proud of his Irish heritage, and had something to say about the misfortunes of the Mayo Gaelic football team in recent years.
O'Brien was raised in Massachusetts, and so followed the various Boston-based sports teams down through the years - including the world renowned Red Sox, during their infamous "dry spell."
The Red Sox won five World Series titles in 16 years in the early 20th century, before having to wait until 2004 to win their next World Series crown.
Conan O'Brien explained what it had been like to follow the Red Sox during this barren period, and shared memories of his experience both of the famous 1975 World Series, which saw the Red Sox lose to the Cincinnati Reds in seven, and their eventual return to the top of baseball in the 2000s:
If you were from Boston, you gotta be Red Sox, Red Sox, Red Sox.
In game seven, we lose and Boston Red Sox famously had one of the longest droughts ever. Our hearts were always broken.
And then, magically, in the 2000s it turned around and we became this dominant team. I think that took the fun out of it, because I think there's something sweet and romantic about being a perpetual loser like Charie Brown. You know, maybe it was time for them to become champions.
Following on from that, it was posed to O'Brien that fans of teams who were suffering similar barren spells, such as the Mayo footballers, might be happy to win just one more crown, to end their despair - to which O'Brien issued a staunch rebuttal:
No, the minute they win, that's not how it works. The minute you win, you're crushed if you don't get it the next year.
So, to the people of Mayo, there's no such thing that you can tell yourself, 'Oh, just let us have it once and we'll never complain again.'
That's a lie! They'll be tearing their hair out if they don't win it two years in a row, it's the nature of these things.
The entire Conan O'Brien chat with Second Captains also featured a terrific story about Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson; his choice of wrestling name; and his excellent choice of closing song from Neil Young. It's an outstanding listen, and can be found here on RTÉ podcasts.
Featured image: Shutterstock/Sportsfile