Filming on iPhones, stuffed animals as props: Stay-at-home orders change late-night TV

Matt O’Brien (left) tells us what it’s like writing for “Conan” on TBS during quarantine. He’s pictured with Conan O’Brien (right). Credit: Team Coco.

Most of the late-night TV shows are now back from their brief coronavirus hiatus with a much more minimalistic look. Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, and many other hosts are now broadcasting from their homes to comply with stay-at-home orders. There are no lavish sets, cushy in-person celebrity interviews, or highly produced field pieces. 

Instead, shows are recorded on iPhones, guests are joining via Zoom, and monologues are delivered without laughs from an audience. 

We talk about what it’s like to put on a late-night show now with Matt O’Brien, head writer for “Conan” on TBS. (Conan O’Brien and Matt O’Brien are not related.)


Matt O’Brien (right) with Conan O’Brien (left) celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Credit: Team Coco.