FILE - In this May 24, 2016 file photo, Conan O'Brien attends "A Night Out With" FYC Event in Los Angeles. O’Brien will host the Nobel Peace Prize concert on Dec. 11 in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File) (AP)

Conan O’Brien names director Abel Ferrara his worst guest in 25 years — here’s why

O'Brien says the controversial director had to be dragged on stage for an interview he clearly didn't want to do

Zack Sharf
December 4, 2018 10:30PM (UTC)

This article originally appeared on IndieWire.

Conan O’Brien has been hosting late night television for 25 years, first with “Late Night” (1993-2009) and then a brief run on “The Tonight Show” followed by TBS’s “Conan.” With so many years of programming and thousands of interviews conducted, one guest still stands out among the rest as the worst interview of O’Brien’s television career. The late night host recently appeared on Dax Shepherd’s podcast and instantly named controversial director Abel Ferrara as his worst interview guest.

“He came on camera against his will,” O’Brien said. “And then came out, and I think he started yelling at me.”


Read more IndieWire: With ‘Conan in Japan,’ Conan O’Brien Finds the Secret to Late-Night’s Future

O’Brien said Ferrara ran out of the NBC building in New York City shortly before he was set to appear on “Late Night.” Staff members working on the show had to bring Ferrara back to tape his scheduled appearance, and O’Brien estimates the director was intoxicated throughout the discussion. The resulting interview was chaotic and uncomfortable, but even O’Brien admits it was “compellevision,” meaning it was so bad the viewer couldn’t stop watching. The interview and the episode took place in 1996.

Ferrara is best known for his provocative films “Ms .45” (1981), “King of New York,” (1990), “Bad Lieutenant” (1992), starring Harvey Keitel and rated NC-17. The 67-year-old director’s most recent notable films include the documentary “Piazza Vittorio” (2017) and “Pasolini” (2014). Other features include “Welcome to New York,” starring Gérard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset, which debuted in 2014.


Read more IndieWire: Conan O’Brien Will Shift to 30-Minute Shows in 2019, As Part of New Venture With TBS

O’Brien’s TBS series “Conan” is currently on hiatus after finishing up its traditional run of hour-long episodes on October 4. The show will return with a modified, half-hour format in 2019. O’Brien’s well-reviewed special “Conan in Japan” aired on November 28. Watch the late night host’s usual interview with Ferrara in the video embed below.

Read more IndieWire: Conan O’Brien Tells Stephen Colbert About the Time David Letterman Got Him a Horse Named Dave — Watch


Zack Sharf

MORE FROM Zack Sharf

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Abel Ferrara Conan O’brien Indiewire Late-night

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •