Boston Native Conan O’Brien Once Fired Staffer Who Was Rude to a Waiter, Says Writer
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.
As you may have heard, late night host James Corden was under fire recently due to allegations that he had been rude to the waitstaff at the New York City restaurant Balthazar.
Somehow, the restaurant’s owner, Keith McNalley, managed to avoid any scorn, even though he took the unusual step of airing it out on Instagram.
Within 24 hours, however, Corden had apparently offered his apologies, and the restaurant its regrets. It was likely that people then remembered that, in terms of celebrity scandal, this wasn’t quite the O.J. chase. There are more pressing issues with which to be concerned.
But the national discourse over restaurant etiquette raged on. It found its way back to yet another late night host: Brookline, Massachusetts, native Conan O’Brien, only, the narrative in O’Brien’s case is vastly different.
According to former “Conan” writer Todd Levin, O’Brien once fired a staff member after the host witnessed him behave rudely to a server. Having worked in late night for nearly a decade, I find it hard to believe one would be fired just for that, unless it was truly unforgivable, “go to HR” behavior. But, I can see it being the breaking point for Conan.
On his podcast “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” the former “Late Night” and “Tonight Show” host has talked openly about his distaste for snobbery. He has also discussed his awkward in-between period after college, where found himself with a Harvard degree and a job at a leather store in Los Angeles.
So, it isn't surprising if rudeness to someone just doing their job was the final straw. And given O’Brien’s low turnover rate at his late night show and determination to take care of his staffers during his 2010 “Tonight Show” controversy with Jay Leno, it seems the man who gave us The Masturbating Bear can also be an empathetic human.
The ironic thing is, Leno, too, has a reputation for being kind to those just starting out in life. He kept the same staff at his “Tonight Show” for two decades, hence the sad irony that he and O’Brien had such a public falling out.
As for Corden, I can’t help but wonder what role geography played in all of this. Ever notice how it always seems to be the LA folks that New York comes for? I can recall one instance of a late night host being incredibly rude to restaurant staffers in Manhattan.
But, I wouldn’t want to disparage him.
Instead, I’ll let you follow along from when he live-tweeted his whole breakdown himself, when he not only blasted the restaurant, but referred to a server as "Carb-Face Carol."
To my knowledge, as is consistent with said host, there was no apology.