film / tv / substack / social media / lists / web / celeb / pajiba love / misc / about / cbr
film / tv / substack / web / celeb

GettyImages-1461256321.jpg

Robert Smigel Pushed Andy Richter To Be Conan's Sidekick

By Andrew Sanford | TV | June 15, 2023 |

By Andrew Sanford | TV | June 15, 2023 |


GettyImages-1461256321.jpg

When I first discovered Andy Richter, he had already left Conan’s side. I would see the occasional clip and flashback on Conan’s show, but my primary familiarity with Richter was through his tragically short-lived sitcom Andy Richter Controls The Universe. Even on that show, which I loved, one of the stand-out episodes involved a guest appearance by none other than Conan O’Brien. Conan played Andy’s zany new boss, and their chemistry was undeniable. However, they may not have been such a superstar duo were it not for Robert Smigel.

Richter recently sat down with the Inside Conan podcast. When discussing his remote segments (ones that are done on location), Richter reveals that he has no memory of a lot of them. Despite video evidence, there are those he can’t remember. The reason given is that he was, often by necessity, in the moment during these segments. Late-night talk shows are all cue cards and off-the-cuff reactions. So, a lot of it didn’t stick in his head.

Being present and ready to go also helped Richter land the job. As he says during the interview, Conan writer and voice of a rude dog, Robert Smigel, pushed for Andy to be Conan’s sidekick, albeit in a laid-back way. Smigel would go to Richter and tell him to sit with Conan during rehearsals and test shoots. Richter, who was hired as a writer, just went with the flow and did what he did best.

Richter was already certain he had the job when he went out to dinner with Conan, Lorne Michales, and Steve Martin after a recording. That alone must have been stunning. To be ushered away to dinner with the likes of Martin and Michaels could intimidate the most confident comedian. Not Richter. He handled the night like it was any other. The next day, the Producer of the show, Jeff Ross, told Richter that he had the job as Conan’s sidekick. Meeting with Lorne is what sealed the deal, and that dinner likely went well because Andy thought he was already hired!

Andy Richter is more than Conan O’Brien’s sidekick. However, he’s pretty damn good at that. With someone like Conan constantly feeling the need to perform and be over-the-top, a laid-back presence like Andy does wonders. Robert Smigel put Andy where he needed to be to succeed, and Richter did the rest.