Conan O’Brien returned to the air after two months sidelined by the Writers Guild Strike. NBC offered a transcript of his opening comments: "Let’s talk for a minute about the situation we find ourselves in. As you know, 2 months ago the Writers Guild of America went out on strike and we took our show "Late Night with Conan O’Brien" off the air in support of the writers. This has been a tough time not only for our show, but for a lot of people in the entertainment industry. Good people right now are out of work. And possibly worse, with all the late night shows off the air, Americans have been forced to read books and occasionally even speak to one another, which has been horrifying.
We’re back now but sadly, we do not have our writers with us. I want to make this clear, I support their cause – these are very talented, very creative people who work extremely hard and I believe what they’re asking for is fair. My biggest wish is that they get a great deal very quickly and get back here because we desperately need them on the show. Think about it: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, The Masturbating Bear, The Walker Texas Ranger Lever – it’s all writing. Well, not the Masturbating Bear. That’s just instinct. Which brings us to the big 64,000 question of the evening: What do we do now?
Everywhere I go, "What are you gonna do?" It’s one guy who follows me. Everywhere I go in the city for the last couple of days I hear, "What are you gonna do? You got a whole show to do. What are you gonna do? You got no writers." We have no writers and an hour show to do every night. Well ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to start by talking about my beard. That’s right, I know this looks fake. It looks like it ties on in the back, but believe it or not I actually grew a beard. Two birds, one stone. I never grew a beard in my entire life. I grew it out of solidarity for my writers, and to prove that I have some testosterone. The biggest comment I’m getting the last couple of days is that I look like the character of Kris Kringle in ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town.’
I’ve been taking a lot of flak for this beard, but I think you’ll find that if you look closely at this beard, it’s actually quite amazing. Let’s do that now in a quick Strike Beard Moment.”
O’Brien finished the top of the show by demonstrating his wedding ring spinning prowess and showing a video package of what he and his skeleton crew staff have been doing during the strike.