No mo co co

Conan says a classy (and totally rockin') goodbye

Conan says a classy (and totally rockin') goodbye

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I'm on Team Conan. Photo by Timothy White/NBC

As Conan O'Brien walked onstage for his last episode of The Tonight Show, the enthusiastic cheers from the crowd—chanting "Co-nan, Co-nan"—threatened to last the entire hour. It was an excitement shared by everyone in the room during a finale that was snarky, classy, skewering, sincere, rockin' and absolutely hilarious.

Conan started out by performing another "expensive" stunt of a rare skeleton throwing beluga caviar onto an original Picasso (partly to mock some journalists who were taking his skits a little too seriously and accused him of wantonly wasting money in a recession and time of crisis.)

He also listed suggestions on what NBC could do with the studio ("Leave the studio cold and empty and re-name it 'The World’s Largest Metaphor For NBC Programming'") and asked HBO to cast Tilda Swinton to play him in the movie about his life, which will surely disappoint Finnish President Tarja Halonen.

Steve Carrell made a surprise performance to conduct O'Brien's exit interview, and Tom Hanks dropped by to reminisce, drink some cream soda and expose Conan's former muttonchop-like sideburns. Neil Young played "Long May You Run" and before O'Brien closed out the show picking a mean guitar solo to "Freebird" alongside Will Ferrell, Beck, Ben Harper, Elvis Costello, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Conan's band.

In a moment of earnestness, O'Brien teared up as he reflected on his career at NBC, and thanked both the network and his fans. "Between my time at Saturday Night Live, The Late Night Show, and my brief run here on The Tonight Show, I have worked with NBC for over twenty years. Yes, we have our differences right now and yes, we’re going to go our separate ways. But this company has been my home for most of my adult life. I am enormously proud of the work we have done together, and I want to thank NBC for making it all possible...."

"The massive outpouring of support and passion from so many people has been overwhelming. The rallies, the signs, all the goofy, outrageous creativity on the internet, and the fact that people have traveled long distances and camped out all night in the pouring rain to be in our audience, made a sad situation joyous and inspirational."

Whether Conan O'Brien moves on to an equally illustrious gig or becomes a footnote in television history, his finale shows the man can put on a hell of a show. Goodbye, Coco.