Bill Tull, who was Conan O’Brien’s Prop Master for 28 years, passed away in July. It was a sad time. Tull was sewn into the very fabric of the show. Not only could he easily assemble the absurd props needed by Conan’s team, he often appeared on camera, offering “tips” for budget celebrations. One of my favorite appearances of Tull’s was in the infamous Nut Spoon sketch. You can watch it here if you haven’t seen it before; even if you have, it never hurts to watch it again.
Recently, former Conan writer Brian Stack took to Twitter to honor the late great Bill Tull. Stack posted a picture of a prop Tull had made for him during the early days of Stack’s time on the show. It’s a skull, needed for a Hamlet sketch set to star Andy Daly. Stack needed a skull that could have a tongue pop out of its mouth. He assumed it couldn’t be done, but Tull took up the challenge.
During my early days at "Conan", I had a dumb idea for Hamlet to French kiss Yorick's skull. I asked our late, great prop master Bill Tull, "There's no way you could make a tongue pop out of a skull, is there, Bill?" "No problem," he said. I still have it today.— Brian Stack (@BrianStack153) October 15, 2022
Happy Tulloween! pic.twitter.com/M8eixWamxs
Tull kept the skull and 18 years later he gifted it to Stack on Stack’s last day on the show. It was a sweet gesture that clearly meant a lot to Stack and showed the relationship that Tull had with Conan’s team.
I love seeing crew members get their due like this. More often than not, especially in the late-night landscape, it’s the host and performers who get most of the praise. The fact is, shows like Conan wouldn’t be as entertaining without the help of an incredibly talented and hard-working crew. It’s one of the reasons I’m always happy to see Wally pop up on Seth Meyers!
Bill Tull was a legend and his legacy will live on.