Stephen Colbert Threw A Horse Out Of A Plane – CONAN on TBS


There’s a documentary that has just filled me with delight. It’s a Hulu documentary, many of you may know what I’m talking about, that’s focused on The Dana Carvey Show, and a show that you helped, you really got your start. Yeah, I’ve done some work before that, but that was really, I got my break. Dana Carvey and Robert Smigel, of course, your old friend– Yes, Robert Smigel, a great comedy writer. (crowd cheers) (mumbles) and Steve Carell. Steve Carell was in the cast. And I remembered this very well because I am friends with Dana, I remember the launch of this show. And the show didn’t last long. No, no, we only shot eight of them. Only seven of them made it to air, yeah. And what’s interesting about the documentary, it’s so fascinating to me because so many people are interested in the behind the scenes of comedy, is you had these powerhouses of talent. Oh, unbelievable. Robert Carlock, who did 30 Rock, Kimmy Schmidt with Tina, Charlie Kaufman, of course, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and many genius people, Louis C.K., incredible people working on it and just evaporated like a snowball coming in from low, in low orbit. It did not last. This was a primetime show, and this was back when– Primetime was primetime. Primetime gave you, they gave you a massive budget. This was a big network, massive budget. Oh, unbelievable! I had already worked for a small cable show called Exit 57, and we were like, you wrote a sketch and go like, “Oh, there’s a jackhammer.” And our producers would go, “Do you have a jackhammer? “Because I don’t have a jackhammer.” (audience laughs) So I go over there. I’m living in Chicago. I get the job in New York. I fly to New York a month before my wife and our child came out there, so I’m living by myself in the city. And Robert Smigel, again, the executive producer goes, “Hey, you should pack a bag. “We gotta go to Florida to shoot the second half “of a three-minute sketch that we shot in New York. “We’re just gonna shoot the second half in Florida “because we need some warm weather for it.” So I go, “Oh, okay.” So I go down to Florida– For the second half of a three-minute sketch. The second half of a three-minute sketch. That’s the old network money. It just doesn’t exist anymore. Only HBO has that. (audience laughs) So I go down to Florida, and I haven’t talked to my wife. And there were no cellphones, only payphones. This is ’95 or ’96, something like that. So what we’re doing is we’re doing this thing where we’re doing “animal experiments”. I’m one of the Rockefellers in the Rockefeller Institute for Animal Studies or something, and we’re just doing things like gluing things to mice and stuff like that. Not really. Don’t hate me. This was the sketch premise. The sketch. And this sketch premise was we wanted to see what would happen if you threw a horse out of an airplane, (audience laughs) like what happens to its heart rate. It has a parachute and everything. So they build like, I shit thee not, like a $15,000 horse prop, articulated limbs, full size, drive it overnight all the way down to Florida. We’re down there waiting for it to come. They put it in an old US Army constellation, jump a plane. They fly it over this field in Florida just for a test drop, just to see what it would look like before we rolled the cameras. No cameras rolling. Nobody’s doing anything. And I decided, oh, I’ll call my wife. So I call my wife on the phone, “Hey, hey Evie, hi. “Yes, listen.” And I said, “Listen, I’m down in Florida.” And she goes, “What are you doing in Florida?” I said, “Well, we have to throw the horse “out of the plane down here.” (audience laughs) And she goes, “What horse out of what plane?” And I say, “Hold on, it’s coming over right now.” (audience laughs) And at that moment, the horse in the plane came over, and I just start shrieking because they pushed the horse out of the plane and becomes transcendently clear within seconds that the parachute is not gonna open up. (audience laughs) And I’m just on the phone going (shrieks). My wife thinks that I’m being killed, I’m being murdered because I’m just shrieking. And the horse plummets at terminal velocity and explodes when it hits the field. (Conan laughs) So we rebuilt it. We stayed a couple extra days. And I said to myself at that moment, I have to get back to that network money someday. (audience laughs) I tell stories now, we all tell stories about the early ’90s and network TV. You remember this, Andy. Our writers, Louis C.K. was a writer on the show, it was his first job on TV, and Dino Stamatopoulos, all these great people were working on the show. And every night, they would pick the most expensive restaurant in New York, order food on it, and charge it to NBC. And I’d come in and they would be cracking lobsters, wearing giant bibs, and laughing. (laughs) (audience laughs) We went to a Kobe steakhouse in Florida on the same trip where, again, we’re not shooting anything but the horse exploded. And we went to a Kobe steakhouse and we said, “We’ll have the surf and turf.” And they said, “We don’t have that.” And I said, “Bring us a full lobster dinner. “Bring us a whole Kobe steak dinner, “everybody at the table.” I think that’s why we were canceled. Yeah, yeah, exactly. (laughs) (audience laughs) We went through everything. The entire budget was gone.


100 Responses

  1. Saitama Trash

    November 7, 2017 5:20 pm

    I don’t understand why Trumptards are the first ones here when they claim to hate leftists media. Like wtf?

  2. Vee Macks

    November 7, 2017 5:42 pm

    Strange memory there Stephen. I was onto my fourth mobile phone by 95/96, and I'm not talking bricks either. Pocket flip phones from Motorola that send SMS text messages.

  3. Sayak Choudhury

    November 7, 2017 5:56 pm

    Why are all these Trump supporters polluting Conan's comment section? Or is it Trump himself with various different IDs?

  4. Ed K.

    November 7, 2017 6:22 pm

    Dear Conan, please stop inviting LOSERS to your show. Colbert is a complete moron, a political prostitute and looks like a faggy twat. Please avoid it.

  5. Strikerage

    November 7, 2017 10:22 pm

    I still like Colbert. He's funny as hell. But he is way too condescendingly political now. The kind of condescension that implies that other opinions don't matter. I can't stand listening to him now.

    Make fun of opinions. That's fine, but taking an active role in demonizing an opposite opinion, and you've gone from comedy to activism. You are no longer a comedian at that point.

    You just become a funnier version of a CNN reporter.

  6. TransparentLabyrinth

    November 8, 2017 5:40 am

    I was chuckling until the end, when I realized I was listening to a couple of millionaires laughing about wasting money.

  7. Ricca Shaps

    November 8, 2017 7:42 am

    Yeah, 80s to early 2000s were probably the golden years of TV networks. There's now a massive shift to the internet. Lobsters are now but a dream except for TV execs.

  8. Nx Doyle

    November 8, 2017 9:24 am

    I love Conan, I like Stephen very much, I also have great affection for a number of the people they discuss, as well as America and many other nations, plus the human species. But if I ever end up either as a guest or in the audience of a late night talk show and someone whoops, I'll end up on death row, because I swear I will murder them.

  9. siavm

    November 8, 2017 3:10 pm

    No wonder they only lasted 7 episodes. Must have been nice to blow that kind of money on something that stupid. And how the hell did they approve going to Florida? Backdrops is all we get now.

  10. Riflemanm16a2

    November 8, 2017 10:07 pm

    I watched the documentary on The Dana Carvey Show and thought it was hilarious. So I watched all eight episodes of The Dana Carvey Show because it is also on Hulu, and it really sucked. There was about one funny sketch per episode. A lot of the jokes are dated (current events, '96 election), but I'm old enough to understand them. The documentary shows all the best skits anyway.

  11. Persøn Human

    November 9, 2017 12:16 am

    I actually don't mind that Colbert's focus is mostly political now. Jon Stewart left the Daily Show, for one (though Trevor Noah isn't bad, but it's not really the same yet), and also the political world has gotten really frightening and stressful for everyone, no matter what your political beliefs are. So I think having one show that can take all that frightening and stressful stuff and make you see the funny side of it is even more important than ever.

  12. John Henderson

    November 9, 2017 1:58 am

    Colbert’s wife has the patience of a saint to be married to a guy who would throw a horse of a plane.

  13. ytriles

    November 9, 2017 6:39 am

    Did anyone else think that the horse mentioned in the title was the one that Letterman gave Conan?

    edit: And that Conan forced Colbert to sacrifice it?

  14. Isha Khalid

    November 11, 2017 4:35 pm

    Y'all chill with Stephen being "overly political" and stop comparing Colbert and Conan. They're two unique late night hosts loved for different things.

  15. The 7th element

    November 13, 2017 1:18 am

    I'm a woman and I love Louie CK. He admitted what he's done is wrong. And I agree. ( tho he's only jerk off in front of the ladies)… Everyone has their own vice….. Like I love to eat cupcake in front of dead people…. It's just my vice.

  16. Danielle Scorgie

    November 18, 2017 3:53 am

    A yes, a week and a half ago, when I could hear Louis CK's name without feeling a bit sick… Oh well, there are other comedians I can look up to. Marc Maron is a champ. I'll idolise him now.

  17. Mohamed Ehab

    December 29, 2017 12:12 am

    when i first read the title i thought it is kind of metaphor i never expected that it could be an actual horse thrown out of a plane 😀

  18. ian burns

    January 14, 2018 2:03 am

    lol you could tell they were afraid to say louis ck's name. He was the head writer and they mention him off hand at the end

  19. Arya Jasmine

    March 2, 2018 9:06 pm

    Oh my God, now I got the horse game they both were playing..!!!
    Conan totally took an entire guest allotment in Colbert's show; so he dropped another horse monologue on Conan's show.
    I could see why Colbert was yearning to drop the horse bomb from the beginning!!

  20. HKim0072

    March 4, 2018 10:41 pm

    Reminds me of the movie, Secret of my Success. Things were done much differently back in the old days.

  21. schadenfreude

    April 16, 2018 6:45 pm

    I like the moment when Conan was the only person who was laughing out loud after Colbert said the horse has exploded while everyone was kinda shocked lol.

  22. Ti Wozo

    April 23, 2018 3:17 pm


  23. donneRak 1080p

    May 22, 2018 5:10 pm

    louis ck was the head writer on that show they are talking about. they didnt mention that though haHAA

  24. Stan Richie

    September 28, 2018 4:38 pm

    You can see the incredible amount of pressure, Colbert is feeling, while speaking Louis C.K.'s name… like he's Voldemort or something… It's just sad.

  25. Leonardo Galeazzi

    January 18, 2019 11:15 am

    It's clear that Stephen would have preferred silence to Conan forced laugh(which I understand is part of the job).

  26. wolverineiscool

    February 17, 2019 12:42 pm

    it feels like Colbert is jealous of Conan and was trying one up him with the horse story….colbert actually sucks

  27. Javier M

    August 9, 2019 12:02 am

    every talk show host has this level of skill, just watch them as guests in any show, been the host puts some limits that any of them manage in different ways, but as soon as they are free to talk, they are all a spectacle to see

  28. M7x BlueDragon

    August 11, 2019 2:19 am

    I can't stand Colbert … he made up that the T is 'silent' in his name. He's not even funny … like..


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