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Conan Rolls a Touching Tribute to His Cardboard Pandemic Audience (Video)

O’Brien’s last two weeks of shows have live audiences

Starting tonight, Conan O’Brien will be winding down his TBS late-night talk show, “Conan,” with two weeks of shows featuring his first live studio audience since the pandemic began. So it’s fitting that before the return of real people, he paid tribute to the cardboard cutouts that have served as his audience since last year.

Before the pandemic, Conan filmed his talk show at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif. But last summer, after several months of pandemic-mandated shows recorded from his home, he moved to comedy institution Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles, becoming the first talk show host to return to something resembling normalcy.

Of course, the pandemic was still raging and so instead of a live audience, Conan invited fans to send images that could be turned into cardboard cutouts to fill the void. And so it’s been ever since — until this week.

Last week, the host filmed a clip that was put online Monday in which he paid tribute to his cardboard audience with a “where are they now” montage explaining to “Conan” audiences what happened to the cutouts after they were removed. One of them became a tackling dummy for the Los Angeles Rams, the clip claims, while another was recycled into packaging for sex toys. And a cardboard cutout of a kitten is apparently getting its own TBS talk show.

It’s funny stuff, and you can watch the whole thing above right now.