Conan O’Brien’s association with The Simpsons is the stuff of legend at this point, with his most famous script for the series, “Marge Vs. The Monorail,” usually sitting somewhere near the top of lists of the show’s best collections of silly jokes and endlessly catchy musical numbers. And while O’Brien went straight from the series’ writers’ room to his hosting gig on Late Night in 1993, he never forgot his old pals in Springfield—even if they’ve clearly forgotten him, if Homer Simpson’s appearance on the final installment of Conan tonight is anything to go by.
There were sweeter moments during the Conan finale—most notably O’Brien’s final monologue, in which he praised basically everyone who’s every contributed to his shows, and spoke to his career’s decades-long pursuit of the “phantom intersection between smart and stupid.” But there might be no more fitting moment than to see O’Brien once again rendered in The Simpson’s signature animated style, fielding insults about how he’s less famous or cool than the Impractical Jokers.
Voiced, as ever, by Dan Castellaneta, Homer quickly waves away questions about how he got the job of conducting TBS exit interviews—because, what, is that a weirder job than NASA astronaut?—while continuing to rake O’Brien over the coals. (The question of whether it was harder to get Mr. Simpson furloughed by his Disney owners for a night on a WarnerMedia property seems thornier, but is left unanswered.) Full of references to O’Brien’s career, comedy, and endless love of self-deprecation, the sequence is simultaneously sweet and incredibly cutting, i.e., a great fit for the show’s final installment. It’s also a firm reminder that you can get the man out of Springfield, but you’ll never truly get the Springfield out of the man.