By Darren Franich
Updated January 22, 2010 at 05:46 PM EST

At 11:35 p.m. Friday, Conan O’Brien will begin his final Tonight Show. All week, Conan’s been making fun of his abbreviated time with the late-night franchise – joking about the show’s .6th anniversary, listing pop culture fads that lasted less than seven months. But even if Coco’s absurdist version of The Tonight Show never got the chance to grow into itself, we’ll always have some fantastic memories.

The following list of great bits from the Conan Era (June 2009-January 2010) is purely personal. Looking back over these seven months (quite a bit of the show’s run is available on hulu), I’m struck by just how much genius Conan fit into his short run. We may as well start thinking of the O’Brien Tonight Show as one of those brilliant-but-canceled TV landmarks, too strange and beautiful for this earth.

Let’s remember just a few of the good times:

William Shatner does his beautiful Shatner thing to some (actually fake, but who cares?) Levi Johnston tweets

Conan and Andy lend their profound vocal talents to the dubbing of an anime film

Conan acknowledges that his set was heavily influenced by Super Mario

Triumph visits Bonnaroo

The Sexy Vampire Assistant meets the Creepy, Invisible Presence from Paranormal Activity (ouch, my zeitgeist is imploding!)

Conan runs across America to get to the premiere of his Tonight Show

Andy and Conan decorate a velcro Christmas Tree


The most expensive sketch ever

Conan sings an apology to Diane Sawyer

What are some of your favorite moments from Conan’s too-brief run on The Tonight Show, PopWatchers?

More from on Conan O’Brien:

Ken Tucker on Thursday’s Coco-Crazy Late Night

Conan’s Exit: Who Feels Guilty?

NBC’s resolution with Conan