Conan O'Brien Caused a Stir at the 2021 Emmy Awards That Left the Internet Divided

Conan O'Brien leaves the internet divided after causing a stir at the 73rd Emmy Awards. What did he do at the Emmys? Here's what we know.


Sep. 19 2021, Published 11:27 p.m. ET

Conan O'Brien
Source: Getty Images

If you enjoy comedy and late-night TV, you've probably seen an episode or two of Conan. The show, which premiered on TBS in 2010, and concluded in June 2021, was hosted by comedian and writer Conan O'Brien. Conan is known for his sketches and comedy bits but did the bit he did at the 73rd Emmy Awards go too far?

Here's what Conan did at the Emmys, explained.

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Conan O'Brien.
Source: Getty Images

So, what did Conan O'Brien do at the Emmys?

When CEO of the Television Academy, Frank Scherma, took the stage to discuss diversity on television and present the Governor's Award, audience members suddenly encountered Conan's heckling. The late-night television host appeared to be exaggeratedly praising Frank in a nod to the fact that he has previously been nominated for more Emmys than he has won, a stick-it-to-the-man gesture that not everyone interpreted positively.

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While some people found Conan's antics amusing, others were less amused that the bit distracted from the important message Frank had to deliver, especially as part of his introduction for presenting the Governor's Award to the legendary Debbie Allen. While it was difficult to discern what Conan was saying, he reportedly referred to Scherma as "Chairman of the B-O-R-E-D" in jest.

Conan O'Brien at the 73rd Emmy Awards.
Source: Twitter
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The internet has conflicting opinions about Conan's mischief-making.

It wouldn't be an awards show without users on Twitter having their thoughts and opinions on the proceedings, so naturally, Conan's jokes were a subject of conversation the evening of the 73rd Emmy Awards. One user wrote, "So Conan O'Brien being a goofy distraction while the Television Academy president tries to give a speech about diversity and representation right before Debbie Allen's moment is the vibe of this night."

Another chimed in, "Conan O'Brien trying to steal the spotlight during a hollow tribute to diversity is peak whiteness at this year's Emmy's." Other users felt that Conan was hilarious, and that he'd clearly had a few too many drinks before deciding to interrupt the ceremony. "Conan O'Brien is freakin funny. It’s not right. Conan belongs on TV. Conan must be drinking. Lol."

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Source: Twitter
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Some users even felt that Conan's heckling was a sign he should host future awards shows, especially since his late-night television show recently concluded in June 2021. While Conan is set to have his variety show via HBO Max, his fans felt that this was not enough to appreciate over a decade of work in comedy.

"Conan is the best part of the show, and he hasn't even been on stage," one user quips. John Oliver even said during his win, "Like many of us in this room, I was kind of rooting for Conan so this is bittersweet."

Who knows? Maybe one day Conan will have the chance to host the Emmys for himself, with others heckling him.

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