“You’ve said 15 things that make absolutely no sense to me,” said Conan O’Brien appreciatively to his Tuesday guest, Natasha Lyonne. “Thank you!,” was the Russian Doll creator and star’s reply, “My work here is done.” And, indeed, if you’re looking for an outside-the-box talk show guest, Lyonne’s your ticket. After 35 years in the business, Lyonne’s comfortably leaned into her role as this generation’s no-bullshit, New York trouper and sure-fire late-night raconteur (think Sylvia Miles), delighting O’Brien by being her brash and boisterous self. Whether telling tales about her obsession with death (no surprise there), her relationship with Fred Armisen (which seems like the perfect match honestly, schtick-wise), or her experiences making “about a hundred pictures” (IMDb says 98, but that’s still impressive), Lyonne had Conan happily playing catchup throughout their half-hour.
And while you’d think that there’s nothing Lyonne is better suited for than making speeches in front of assembled show biz types, the Orange Is The New Black star told Conan she’s relieved at the thought that, according to her, she’s got no chance at winning the Emmy she’s currently nominated for. Russian Doll’s scored an impressive and well-deserved 13 nominations, but Lyonne rates her own chances in the stacked Lead Actress In A Comedy Series category as a big, relaxing “slim to none” against the likes of “a beloved Maisel” and “a queen.” (Plus Catherine O’Hara, Christina Applegate, and recently-announced SNL host Phoebe Waller-Bridge, which, damn—this is a really good year for funny women. Good luck, Natasha.)
Regardless, Lyonne showed she’d have little trouble holding the room should she actually win, regaling Conan with her vision of her vision for Nadia’s singular Russian Doll sartorial style (the dream offspring of a particular 1992 movie couple), her time in “the pictures” (“Nobody’s called them ‘pictures’ since 1935!,” exclaimed O’Brien delightedly), or her decision to take summers off from acting—for the rest of her career. “Statistically speaking, I mean, how many are good? Like, four?,” confided Lyonne, defending her decision to avoid sweating and trying to keep her unruly hair in line in the heat just to make another, say, Krippendorf’s Tribe. Tough to argue there.