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Conan O’Brien recently made a return to NBC late night television by appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on April 9. He reflected on memories from his 16-year run as the host of Late Night on the same floor before moving to Los Angeles to host The Tonight Show for seven months from 2009 to 2010. He was replaced by Jay Leno before ultimately landing at TBS to host Conan until 2021.

There has been speculation over the years about whether Leno unfairly took back his position as host of The Tonight Show from O’Brien. Leno denied any wrongdoing and explained that he did not deliberately sabotage O’Brien in any way. O’Brien has mostly taken the high road when discussing the drama surrounding his departure from NBC, once joking that he would avoid talking to Leno if they were to meet on a plane.

Despite trying to maintain a positive outlook on the situation, O’Brien admitted that losing his job at NBC was difficult and resulted in him going through a period of depression. He likened the experience to a sudden and violent breakup of a marriage, leaving him trying to figure out what happened. O’Brien received a settlement of approximately $32 million from NBC and embarked on a nationwide comedy tour as a way to cope with the loss of his show.

Returning to stand-up comedy through his tour helped O’Brien start to feel better almost immediately after leaving The Tonight Show. He found performing every night to be a great antidote to the challenging experience he had been through. This tour allowed O’Brien to connect with fans and share his unique brand of humor in a live setting, which ultimately helped him overcome the difficulties he faced after leaving the show.

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