Conan O’BrienS

O'Brien spent 16 years hosting Late Night with Conan O'Brien...followed by the "Team Coco" kerfuffle that eventually landed him on TBS.

Like many comedy writers, Brookline, Mass. native O'Brien got his start at the Harvard Lampoon. After writing for a couple of short-lived TV shows and performing with the Groundlings comedy troupe, O'Brien got his first break when Lorne Michaels hired him as a Saturday Night Live writer in 1988. Burnt out after three seasons, O'Brien landed a gig writing for The Simpsons. Despite his near-total lack of on-camera experience, in 1993 NBC tapped him to be David Letterman's late-night successor as the host of Late Night. After 16 years, O'Brien left Late Night in 2009 and headed out West to start preparing for his Tonight Show debut, only to be told in early 2010 that Jay Leno was to move back into the 11:35 slot. Conan was incensed and negotiated a deal with NBC to leave the show the next day, inciting legions of fans to support Coco against this injustice. Conan eventually landed a show Conan on TBS.

After dating Lisa Kudrow in the '90s, O'Brien married former advertising exec Liza Powell in 2002. They have two children. [Image via Getty]