To some, Conan O'Brien's podcast is already essential listening - he has released 26 episodes, after all - but if you are one of the many who have yet to sample this weekly auditory delight then it is time to jump aboard.
Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend has been developing a cult following on this side of the Atlantic, ever since it launched in late November, 2018, with his latest episode exemplifying why it's so popular. This week, Conan was joined by former Saturday Night Live colleague, Bill Hader. While O'Brien's podcast premise is one we've all seen before - a host interviews a well-known face - Conan's unique style promises it never goes in the direction you expect. For the first two minutes, he and Hader did nothing but make funny noises at each other. They then moved on to laughing at Old English words and after that, they recited some of their favourite random jokes from The Simpsons.
One week it's Conan just chatting with someone about stuff that makes them laugh, the next it's an interview with the likes of Michelle Obama or renowned biographer, Robert Caro. And then there are the ads. Yes, the ads. These are arguably the highlight of the show. Their segment 'Conan O'Brien Pays Off The Mortgage On His Beach House,' is constantly a source of entertainment, with O'Brien showing his genius by turning live reads into top notch comedy material.
Whether it be Mizzen+Main, Butcher Box or Fracture, that dastardly Conan has tricked me into having an extraordinary level of brand recall, through his ability to consistently break the fourth wall and veer completely off-script.
Great podcast @ConanOBrien you really are a comedy genius!!! I’ve never been as entertained by the actual content of a podcast as with the ads, you really do make me laugh!! Thanks for brightening up many people lives with laughter. 😘
— Dany Mena (@Danymena) May 6, 2019
Listening to Conan O'Brien's podcast has me looking like a maniac, laughing hysterically alone in my car.
— Not Traveling Begonias (@begoniatravels) May 7, 2019
Conan O’Brien’s podcast is the only podcast that I truly enjoy the ad reads because Conan O’Brien is fucking hilarious.
— EMLM (@elmstersupreme) April 29, 2019
Just listened to @ConanOBrien needs a friend with Robert Caro, so sweet to hear how much Conan loves and respects this author and his books. Terrific Podcast.
— Lou Manfredini (@loumanfredini) May 9, 2019
If there was any criticism we could give it would probably be that the epsiodes are too short, with interviews rarely going over 45 minutes, but to be honest, this structure can also be a welcome break after listening to Joe Rogan talk about jiu jitsu and self-driving cars for four and a half hours!
The uniqueness of each show also makes for very different types of episodes, which is both a positive and a negative. For instance, his podcast with Justified star, Timothy Olyphant, was completely off the wall, offering nothing in terms of any type of proper interview. For some, the fact it was so all over the place served as an annoyance, whereas, as you'll see below, I think it's easily in his top five shows to date.
Five of the best 'Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend' Epsiodes So Far
5. Adam Sandler
A comedian who needs no introduction, Adam Sandler and Conan are actually good friends off air, and this one includes some great stories, like Adam calling over to Conan's house just so he could then storm out.
4. Lisa Kudrow
Speaking of his good friends, Conan and Friends star, Lisa Kudrow, have been close since literally the beginning of their respective careers. Their chat delves into their days of doing improv together and flows on from there.
3. Timothy Olyphant
Within about one minute of this interview it was clear that Olyphant was going take this wherever the hell he bloomin' pleased, including randomly interrupting himself to read out fake ads he'd just made up. A frankly ridiculous episode that is a must-listen.
2. Bill Hader
His latest episode and another that doesn't have much in the way of structure. The pair sat down, started chatting about things that are funny and that turned out to be all we need ever ask for.
1. Patton Oswalt
This one has the perfect balance between slapstick humour and actually getting to know a little more about the guest's life, with Oswalt coming off as a really funny, warm human being. Many will know him from his time in King of Queens and, more recently VEEP.
Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend is available on all good podcast apps and we forgot to mention, it comes out on Sunday nights, which makes it the perfect way to start off the week on the Monday morning commute.