Brien hosted his show during the 2007 strike without his writers, highlighting their contributions and importance in the entertainment industry.
The 2023 Writers' Strike has brought Hollywood productions and TV shows to a standstill as negotiations between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and film studios failed to result in a new contract. This marks the first strike since 2007 and has left 11,500 screenwriters at odds with major companies like Universal, Paramount, Walt Disney, Netflix, Amazon and Apple.
The WGA has called for the strike due to the lack of progress made on negotiations for higher pay. According to The Guardian, the strike of 2007 lasted 100 days, costing the California economy an estimated $2.1 billion as productions shut down and spending was cut back on by striking writers, actors and producers.
Although Hollywood and TV shows are currently facing shortcomings due to the strike, the Writers Guild Strike of 2023 has called renewed attention to Conan O'Brien's late-night shenanigans from 2007, when he continued to host his show and voiced his support for writers. As reported by Vanity Fair, O'Brien entertained the audience despite what was happening behind the scenes.
Social media users recalled the time the late-night host tried to see how long he could spin his wedding ring to fill airtime in a 2007 segment during the writers' strike. The episode was aired on Jan. 2, 2008, and during the monologue, O'Brien referenced the strike, adding that the show had gone off the air for two months in support of the striking writers.
This is true. Here's Conan spinning his wedding ring during the 2007 writers' strike just to fill airtime. It was like this for months.— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) May 2, 2023
NBC was lucky that Conan is the GOAT, but it's impossible to explain to Gen Z how bad the content will get if there's another one. https://t.co/tNkduyiNac pic.twitter.com/5Eo1WqQG0l
"This has been a very tough time, not only for our show but for a lot of people in the entertainment industry. Good people are out of work. And possibly worse, with all the late-night shows off the air, Americans have been forced to read books and occasionally even speak to one another, which has been horrifying," he said on the show.
O'Brien said his production assistant began to time how long the wedding ring spun, which lasted about 36 seconds. A member of the audience then shouted that he should do it again, to which he replied, "Trust me, there's time to do it again."
O'Brien launched into a scintillating show featuring an uninspired tribute to his facial hair and a segment of spinning his wedding ring on his desk. He also said, “We have no writers, and we have a one-hour show to do every night.” Conan also worked with John Stewart and Stephen Colbert to come up with a three-show collaboration, reports Screen Rant. The hosts fabricated a fake feud across all three shows throughout the strike.
Conan O'Brien proved that he was the only actually funny person on television during that time https://t.co/vbAGH9oSXW— your himbo boyfriend (@swolecialism) May 1, 2023
I mainly remember Conan honoring the strike and doing shit like seeing how long he could spin his wedding ring on his desk, the man was a real one for that https://t.co/dKaPB2sgio— AK Lingus (@aklingus) May 1, 2023
Unfortunately, things are not looking promising for the Writers Guild of America since writers are fighting for higher pay—arguing that they have not seen a fair share of the spoils from the streaming wars in the wake of relative austerity, which has recently cut budgets and laid off thousands of workers. The WGA said the companies had “created a gig economy” that turned writing into an “entirely freelance” profession. “For the sake of our present and our future, we have been given no other choice,” it said.
Conan is the king, he managed to keep his show SO entertaining during the 2007 writer's strike.— Johnny (@Johnny2Cellos) May 2, 2023
BUT, much more impressively: He paid the salaries of nearly 80 staff members whose jobs were idled because of the strike. Out of his own pocket.
Man is a legend. https://t.co/BFuQfNXdpz
In an interview with Deadline, the president of WGA West, Meredith Stiehm, said writers were facing "an existential threat." She added, "We’ve been here for six weeks talking to them and those core proposals were ignored. We made it very clear to them that 98% of our membership is demanding that we fight for something different, not just the usual negotiation that we’ve been having and it just fell on deaf ears.”