Truth be told, I have hardly watched Conan O'Brien in recent years, although I feel badly about this. Often Kathy and I say to each other, "Hey, remember how we never watch Conan O'Brien? That sucks." (Although his recent departure from his 12:30 time slot has inspired us to watch lots of our favorite clips on YouTube.) Our late night watching has been fully taken over by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and even those we TiVo, and I'm usually not even that great at catching up on those.
But there was one point in my life where I did watch Conan almost every night, and it was around the same time that I was also reading too much fanfiction and spending too many unhealthy hours in general online and simply stayed up too late all the time: when I was an angsty teenager in high school. I learned in my Human Development class I took recently that it's actually normal for teenagers to stay up way too late because of some scientific chemical thing going on in their bodies, but of course for me it was just when I felt most right and comfortable and happily alone in my angst. & for my mom, who just wanted me to be in bed, it was probably just annoying. But anyway, in those days it felt like Jay Leno was the equivalent of my peers - enjoyable sometimes but typical; funny-ish in a normal-ish way, but when Conan came on, he was just so WEIRD, and quirky, and inappropriate, well, I just felt like he was my friend.
Watching him get choked up on his final show the other week, and how genuinely he thanked everyone saying "It means the world to me" - even to the White Stripes, who I thought were awful - I have no doubt that he is still one of the most real, down to earth, and simply funny people on TV, and I hope to goodness LA doesn't change him, and that he stays pretty New York, which I feel hopeful about because anyone who has ever known New York and LA knows that he is just very, very New York, and as enjoyable as LA can be, when you really want to laugh, like in a really really funny, weird way, you need New York.