Conan O’Brien’s tenure on NBC’s Late Night may have ended last week but he’s hardly resting on his laurels. He’s already actively planning his move to Los Angeles to take over for Jay Leno and start The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. Though the timeslot and location will be new, his announcer will be a familiar friend.
When O’Brien took over Late Night from David Letterman back in 1993, his sidekick was Andy Richter, a comedy writer and actor. Richter came to New York as part of the production of The Real Live Brady Bunch. He played patriarch Mike Brady in the live recreations of scripts from the classic sitcom. After connecting with Saturday Night Live head writer Rob Smigel at parties, he was hired as a writer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien. His chemistry with the host was so good that Richter was cast as O’Brien’s sidekick just a few weeks before the show debuted.
Richter remained an integral part of the show for seven years but ultimately left to pursue his acting career. Though he has certainly kept busy with movies and has starred in a couple short-lived TV series, for some reason, the talented Richtor’s career hasn’t taken off. O’Brien has remained supportive of his friend, including co-writing and executive-producing NBC’s short-lived Andy Barker, PI series. Richter was also O’Brien’s final guest on Late Night last Friday and, in some ways, it was as if they’d never been apart.
Now, it looks like the duo will be back together once again. Richter is set to become O’Brien’s announcer on the Tonight Show, reteaming the two comedians nightly, some nine years after Richter left Late Night.
“Andy is one of the funniest people I know, and we’ve maintained a close friendship since he left Late Night,” O’Brien said. “We have a proven chemistry that will be an incredible asset to The Tonight Show.”
Of course, O’Brien couldn’t resist adding that there was also a practical reason for bringing Richter along with him, saying, “He owes me $300.”
O’Brien will have a few old friends to banter with onstage. Aside from his announcing duties, Richter will also take part in live and pre-recorded comedy skits. In addition, Max Weinberg and the Max Weinberg 7 will transfer to L.A. to become the new Tonight Show’s house band.
On the downside, it’s unknown where this leaves Joel Godard, Late Night’s popular announcer.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno finishes its 17 year run on May 29th. The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien is set to debut on June 1st.
Image courtesy NBC.