Conan O'Brien vs. Jay Leno

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Difference between Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno

There is some sort of secret charm about late night shows that make them so popular amongst seasoned couch potatoes. It could probably be the fixation with movie stars, rock stars and other celebrities who lead stylish, captivating lives—the staple guests of these kinds of shows. Or, it could be the sketches, the quick fix that sends the audiences tumbling off their seats in laughter. Whatever the reason may be, these late night shows have been around for quite some time, and are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Let’s take a look at Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, veterans of the late night show scene.

Conan O’Brien
Jay Leno

Personal Background

When Jay Leno was born in April of the year 1950 nobody could’ve guessed he would turn out to be one of television’s most sought after hosts. His mother was a Scottish housewife and his father—for who Leno should thank for his distinct Italian looks—was an insurance salesman. Leno grew up in Massachusetts, and though he did not do so well in high school, he managed to get through Emerson college and finished a course in speech therapy. In 1973, he created a comedy group, which more or less must have kicked off his career in comedy.

Conan O’Brien was born in 1963 in Massachusetts to a doctor and a lawyer. He finished high school landing the valedictory spot, and went straight to Harvard University to take up History. Here he wrote for Harvard Lampoon, the institution’s humor publication, and even went on to become it’s president. After graduating, he became a writer for Not Necessarily The News, a satirical show that used to air in HBO.

Professional Background

The Tonight Show is known to be the longest-running entertainment program in the United States, airing from September of 1954 until today under NBC. Jay Leno became host in 1992 after comedian Johnny Carson retired in the same year and slowly but surely, Leno was able to mold himself in the arena of stand up comedy and humor.

Conan O’Brien also wrote for programs such as the similarly comedy program Saturday Night Live and the ever popular The Simpsons. He also hosted Late Night With Conan O’Brien, which aired under NBC as well from 1993 to 2009. He also became host of The Tonight Show, but only from 2009 to 2010, after which Jay Leno returned to become host once again of the popular late night program.

Other Interesting Facts

Jay Leno is also popular for having been involved in a trial involving molestation accusations made by a boy named Gavin Arvizo against the late pop star Michael Jackson. He was one of the celebrity witnesses of the much-publicized trial, and he even used this as part of his comedy sketches.

Every public figure has his or her ordinary, typical kind of stalker, but Conan O’Brien’s was—guess what—a priest! In 2006, O’Brien began receiving letters from a “priest stalker” who was later on identified as Father David Ajemian; the host was repeatedly verbally harassed, and in 2008, Father Ajemian was accosted and brought to court.


  • Both Leno and O’Brien became hosts of The Tonight Show, although the latter’s stint was short-lived.
  • Leno has returned to hosting The Tonight show. Conan has since moved on and is hosting the new show 'Conan' on TBS.
  • Before becoming a TV show host, Leno created his own comedy group while O’Brien became a writer for satirical and humorous shows.
  • Both talk show hosts are extremely popular especially in the field of late night entertainment shows that feature comedy sketches.


comments 1 Comments

  • Robby . 3+ yrs. ago

I rarely have laughed at Conan either. He's too silly, but not funny. Leno kicked Letterman's behind for years now. Letterman can keep his stupid pet tricks. If you're laughing at that or his top 10, get a life!I've enjoyed Leno, he is a comedian and I'll watch no matter which time he is on.

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