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Conan O’Brien’s Viral Emmys Stunt Was Ultimate Middle Finger to Hollywood Elite

Late-night host Conan O’Brien has gone viral for interrupting a powerful TV executive at Sunday’s Emmy Awards to give him a sarcastic salute.


For a brief moment, O’Brien popped the Hollywood elite’s self-congratulatory bubble.


As Frank Scherma, the chairman and CEO of the Television Academy, took the stage to introduce and present the annual Governor’s Award, O’Brien repeatedly shouted “Yes! Yes!” before standing and saluting from the audience.


It’s far from the first time O’Brien, whose off-beat comedic stylings distinguished him from his more conventional late-night rivals, has thrown up a middle finger to the media establishment.

  • The “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” show host revealed during a podcast this week that NBC execs once tried to bar him from booking the late comedian Norm MacDonald, after MacDonald was fired from “Saturday Night Live” for refusing to stop making jokes about O.J. Simpson.
  • In 2010, in the wake of a feud with NBC over his hosting duties, O’Brien took parting shots at the network before departing to host a late-night show on TBS.


In a rare show of bipartisanship, viewers on the left and right united to bash this year’s Emmys as unfunny and bloated.

  • On the right: Commenters criticized attendees of the awards show for foregoing masks in what many saw as out-of-touch spectacle.
  • On the left: Critics complained that while Hollywood pays lip service to the cause of racial progress, all the major Emmys awards went to white actors.


Awards show ratings have been in decline for years, and the most recent Oscars and Emmys broadcasts have hit historic lows.

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