Guest Star of the Year: Conan at the Tabernacle

We’ve never enjoyed being insulted so much

Illustration by Michael Byers

In April, a giant Final Four basketball adorned with an orange pompadour was inflated in Centennial Olympic Park—the first indication that TBS late-night host Conan O’Brien had taken up residence at the nearby Tabernacle. O’Brien riffed on corporate synergy bringing Conan to Turner Broadcasting’s hometown: “My bosses told me I could do a week of shows anywhere in the world. I told them, ‘Paris, France.’ And they said, ‘Atlanta it is!’”

Highlights: Hammerin’ Hank Aaron delivered a Georgia Citizenship Test. (Andy Richter: “Cracker Barrel or Waffle House?” O’Brien: “How drunk am I?” Richter: “Super drunk.” O’Brien: “Waffle House.”) Walking Dead actors Michael Rooker and Melissa McBride ran through the audience, shot Richter, and took a hostage. SNL alum Will Forte, playing Ted Turner, rode in on a stuffed buffalo, only to cackle, “We gotta go. They’re opening up a Ted’s Montana Grill inside Jane Fonda.” NBA on TNT analyst Charles Barkley showed up with Dick Vitale to do play-by-play for a bit titled “NCAA Weird Dunking Mascots” (Audience fave? The Westin Peachtree Plaza with erectile dysfunction), and O’Brien sicced Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on Atlanta’s Real Housewives. Triumph to Cynthia Bailey: “It must be exciting to be almost as famous as pawn shop employees.”

This article originally appeared in our December 2013 issue under the headline “Loco for Coco”