Fewer people have had as much of an impact on Conan O’Brien’s three late-night TV talk shows as has Brian McCann.
Late Night with Conan O’Brien was still trying to prove its worth to NBC in 1995 when McCann joined the show’s writing staff and supporting performing players (though McCann showed up on-air there as early as May 1994). He made the big move to Hollywood for the ill-fated run on The Tonight Show — during which time he managed to coin the nickname Coco for Conan while serving as the “Twitter Tracker” announcer, thereby spawning Team Coco — and remained a team player for the move to Burbank and TBS for Conan.
But today marks his final day with Team Coco. McCann, 47, is moving back to New York City.
Co-worker Brian Stack, whose collaborations with McCann pre-date any of O’Brien’s TV shows, broke the news to fans and followers online, writing: “I am VERY sorry to say that this is the hilarious Brian McCann’s last day working at “Conan.” I’ve known Brian for over 20 years now, and worked with him at “Conan” for over 15. He’s one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met, and he’s been a great friend to me and countless other people I know. He’s also one of the most fearless comedians I’ve ever seen. It’s really hard to imagine not having him around here anymore, but we all wish him the best in his move back to NY. We’re sure going to miss him a lot.”
His infamous Late Night characters included Preparation H Raymond, Fun Hole Guy and more. For the TBS show, McCann made a holiday tradition out of Minty, the Candy Cane That Fell on the Ground.
Here is the video from Thursday night’s show, in which Conan thanked McCann on-air. “This is a bit of a bittersweet evening for us,” O’Brien said.
UPDATED: As part of the show’s tribute to McCann, Team Coco online hosts a video slideshow of “The Many Faces of Brian McCann.”
Though Conan’s show will offer an on-air tribute to McCann, his writing colleagues have weighed in already online, too.
Andres du Bouchet called McCann “a true late night TV legend” and encouraged comedy fans to show their love for McCann on Twitter with the hashtag #McCannAppreciationDay.
Todd Levin called McCann “one of the funniest, most original, and comedically fearless people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, and I was a huge fan of his long before I was lucky enough to be his co-worker.”
And longtime Conan writer Brian Kiley wrote: “Thanks to Preparation H Raymond, Eyeballs O’Shaughnessy, the guy with bullet proof legs as well as Raisin and many other characters McCann will always be a Youtube legend.”
Here is Brian McCann as Preparation H Raymond.
Even comedians not associated with Team Coco adored McCann. Because, of course. “He has consistently had my favorite characters on the show – FedEx Pope, Preparation H Raymond, The guy with bulletproof legs and the Fun Hole Guy, just to name a few,” wrote Steve Agee on Tumblr. “Brian’s a good dude and NYC is lucky to be getting him full time.” Actor John Ross Bowie called McCann “crazy talented,” adding: “McCann works on this whole other level where his stuff probably doesn’t look amazing on paper, and then he does it live and HOLY SHIT THIS GUY’S A GENIUS.”
Stack has pointed out a number of McCann’s classic bits. Here they are, with Stack’s current-day notes on them.
Attractive Camp: “By the way, I wrote this with Brian after we got back from a 2-week hiatus and he told me he’d spent the whole time at “Attractive Camp”. Some of my favorite stuff we ever did on the show came from him just joking around in the office.”
Another Brian McCann gem from “Late Night”, the “Nagging Rabbit” Channel, featuring Pat McCartney as the long-suffering husband and Mr. McCann as the voice of the rabbit. Brian’s done countless things on the show that made me laugh really hard, but I don’t think any made me laugh harder than this did.
“Another hilarious old Brian McCann sketch from “Late Night”, the “What Hurts More?” Channel, also featuring an abusive Matt Walsh. I could watch this all day.”
McCann as Hollywood’s Oldest Stuntman: “Yet another bit of his that really cracked me up. The whole thing is funny, and the ending is perfect.”
“Something goes very wrong for Brian McCann as the “Robot on the Toilet” years ago on Late Night.”
“Brian McCann in “Roland Duchesne’s Hot Sauce Tasting Network” on “Late Night” years ago. (“Don’t do that! Don’t do that!”)”
“Another old Brian McCann sketch, also featuring Jon Glaser, Billy Merritt, Rob Cordrry, and me among others. One of the weirdest sketches McCann ever wrote, but I’ve always liked it a lot. (“The Dinkles are off the hook!”)”
The Guy with Bullet-proof Legs: “Yet another sketch we came up with completely by accident when we were screwing around in the office. I always enjoyed being Mick Ferguson’s stone-faced, leather-clad nemesis.”