Conan O'Brien stole the show at Sunday night's 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards, even though the comedian did not win anything. It's a good thing he had people laughing whenever he was onscreen, though, because it distracted everyone from an embarrassing detail that sidekick Andy Richter noticed. O'Brien's TBS series was nominated for Outstanding Variety Talk Series but lost to Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.
"So glad that other people noticed that Conan's fly was open," Richter tweeted early Monday. He later joked about texting O'Brien about it. "He responded, 'That's a signal,'" Richter joked. Richter also retweeted one of O'Brien's viral moments from Sunday night, when he interrupted Television Academy Chairman and CEO Frank Scherma before Scherma could give his speech about how great television is. O'Brien stood up and saluted Scherma, and the image quickly spread on Twitter.
I texted him about it and he responded "that's a signal"— Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) September 20, 2021
Later, O'Brien managed to get on the stage. After Stephen Colbert's Election Night 2020: Democracy's Last Stand: Building Back America Great Again Better 2020 won the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special (Live), O'Brien snuck onto the stage with Colbert and his team, even though O'Brien had nothing to do with the show. He made it very difficult for anyone to focus on Colbert's serious acceptance speech.
After picking up his award, Colbert joked that O'Brien was supposed to be part of his election night special, but budgetary concerns meant he had to be cut. "They said cut by height," Colbert joked to Entertainment Tonight, referencing O'Brien's famous height. "It's been an honor to work with him and I'm sure he'll find a gig someplace."
Colbert explained that O'Brien didn't really crash his big moment Sunday. His team invited O'Brien to the stage as a tribute to his influence on their work. "I said, 'Why don't you come on stage with us if we win?' and he said, 'Really?' I said yeah and he went, 'OK, if you change your mind just let me know.' And he came up," Colbert recalled. "We love Conan, and we're honored to be superfans."
O'Brien, 58, ended nearly 28 consecutive years on late-night television earlier this year when the last episode of Conan aired. O'Brien has only won four Emmys during his career, with his first coming as a writer on Saturday Night Live in 1989. Late Night with Conan O'Brien won Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program in 2007. In 2012, he won Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media - Enhancement to a Television Program or Series for the Team Coco app. In 2018, he picked up Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media within an Unscripted Program for the "Conan Without Borders."
O'Brien still hosts his popular podcast series, Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend and is developing a new variety show for HBO Max. In a recent interview with PopCulture, Richter said he has been feeling the "really wonderful" love from fans since Conan ended in June. "When something like that happens [...] it is wonderful to hear all this stuff, but it is also like, 'Oh my God.' I don't know what to do," Richter said. "I'm really happy that the stuff that we did meant a lot to a lot of people, and especially to a lot of people who are like we were when we were younger and looking for shows that kind of were strange."