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Awesome write up of this momentous event ! And let us not forget the diehard fans who call themselves “Coco-nuts” !


The 5th anniversary of “Coco

On June 2, 2009, there was a new segment on the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien called “Twitter Tracker”. It involved Conan talking to an enthusiastic disembodied voice (played by long time Late Night, Tonight, and Conan TBS writer Brian McCann) reading tweets from celebrities- demonstrating their mundanity. It also featured animations of the twitter bird logo in a bunch of weird and sometimes perilous situations.

During this first version of this sketch, the voice keeps calling Conan “bro”. Conan asks him to stop calling him that, to which the voice asks (with a graphic) “Bro’s a no-no for CoCo?”

That right there is the first time Conan was called Coco. He immediately hated it. It didn’t help, then, that when Tom Hanks stopped by as a guest later in the show, he continued the name by calling Conan “Coco Christopher” and using sign language on both his hands to signal the audience to cheer the Coco name.

This was an organic meme; I don’t think the writers were intending for Tom Hanks to keep using the name. In subsequent shows, people in the audience started to chant “Coco” moreso than “Conan”, wore t-shirts that spelled out “Coco”, and even other guests called him the name, too- all to Conan’s chagrin. 

"I worked my entire career to get this show, and I’m remembered for ‘Coco’…" -Conan during a Tonight Show monologue.

As the Leno/O’Brien scheduling conflict came to a head seven months later, artist Mike Mitchell made a poster graphic for those who supported Conan to continue to host the Tonight Show- a propaganda style poster with a picture of Conan looking stern and into the distance against a greyscale American flag. The caption underneath it read “I’m With Coco” in the Gotham typeface. The only items in color were Conan’s hair and the word “Coco”. The image spread like wildfire over the Internet. Fans tweeted using #ImWithCoco or #TeamCoco hashtags. Rallies in support of Conan at NBC affiliates around the country in January 2010 were conducted with people wielding signs of the Mitchell image or their own Coco designs. Even Conan himself appeared with the Mitchell poster at the rally outside Universal Studios in Los Angeles. The name, for better or worse, stuck with him.

When Conan’s run on the Tonight Show ended, he was banned from appearing on television for a period of time as a part of his exit agreement. His only method available to him to communicate with his fans was Twitter- the same medium his show lampooned during the Twitter Tracker segment the previous June. He had a million followers within 24 hours. It was through Twitter that he announced his live tour- the Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour- using the Mitchell imagery as the official logo for the tour.

When Conan went to TBS, the name Coco went with him- this time on purpose. Conaco, the production company Conan created back in Late Night, had its logo redesigned so the first and last two letters were a deeper shade of orange- spelling out “Coco”. Aaron Bleyaert, the webmaster of the Late Night and Tonight web sites, became the head of the award-winning Team Coco Digital, running the show’s official web site (, mobile app (the Team Coco app), and other interactive experiences for viewers of Conan’s show. The name was now embraced by everyone… maybe even by Conan this time. ;)

The name’s gone through a lot. And to think it was spurred all from a throwaway joke and a title graphic in a sketch about Twitter.

Happy 5th Anniversary, “Coco”.


Andy Richter, working the pole!

'little victories' by hanecdote





Seriously, where can I get these!?!

Seriously, where can I get these!?!


Holy shit our lungs are crazy