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.”
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 documentaries such as “Piazza Vittorio” (2017) and “Pasolini” (2014). His last feature, “Welcome to New York,” starring Gérard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset, played the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
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.