Don’t feel bad for Conan O’Brien. Again.
The 50-year-old talk show host said he was never a contender to take over CBS’ the Late Show when David Letterman announced his retirement last week. The funnyman, who has hosted his talk show Conan on TBS since 2010, said he believes Stephen Colbert is the “right person” to take over the show from Letterman.
“I wasn’t up for it,” O’Brien said backstage Friday during a break from rehearsing for Sunday’s MTV Movie Awards, which he’s hosting for the first time. “I’m very happy where I am, but I love Stephen. I think Stephen is great. I’m a huge fan of his as a comic and as a human being. I think it’s fantastic. I’m really glad that he got the job. I look forward to seeing his show.”
O’Brien originally succeeded Letterman on NBC’s Late Night in 1993 when Letterman moved to CBS to headline the Late Show. O’Brien infamously replaced Jay Leno as host of NBC’s The Tonight Show for a mere seven months beginning in 2009 before Leno was reinstated as host in 2010.
“I was very happy because I have such respect for Dave,” O’Brien said. “I’m glad that it’s the right person getting it.”
O’Brien, who has appeared as a guest on Letterman’s show, said he’s excited to see the Colbert Report host tackle the Late Show, but he definitely didn’t apply for the gig.
“Whenever I would hear there was speculation (that I’d take over the Late Show), I was like, ‘No. What?’ I’m happy,” said O’Brien, whose TBS talk show has been renewed through November 2015. “I get to do what I want.”
Listen to the interview here: