How Conan O'Brien Was The Unexpected Hero Of The Emmys

Trust Conan O'Brien to steal the show despite missing out on an accolade. Fans and industry veterans alike were hoping O'Brien would come out on top during the 2021 Emmys on September 14, securing a final win for the series. (O'Brien announced his retirement from late-night television in June after 28 years, per NPR.) Even Jimmy Kimmel, who was also nominated, admitted on the "Howard Stern Show" that it would be a "nice" send-off. "I think [an Emmy win is] certainly deserved. I know the Emmys isn't a lifetime achievement type situation, but I do think that Conan, not only was he really funny and very consistent, which is hard, he stuck to his guns."

However, O'Brien lost "Best Variety Talk Series" to John Oliver. His show, "Last Week Tonight," has taken out the title for the last six years, and despite his success — the entertainer wasn't ready to give up his winning streak just yet. When asked in the press room whether he'd share the award with O'Brien, he jokingly said: "Conan? No, he can take them from my cold dead hands. I realized I said I appreciated him — not that much!" per Deadline.

While O'Brien couldn't officially mark the end of his television era, he did certainly got people talking during the ceremony.

Conan trolled attendees during the Emmys

Conan O'Brien loves the camera, it seems — he only went on stage once at the 73rd Emmys, but somehow, he became a trending topic on Twitter. The ex-host first trolled Frank Scherma, chairman and CEO of the Television Academy, who was there to present the Governor's Award. O'Brien randomly stood up and started heckling Scherma and saluting him, prompting a standing ovation and two rounds of applause. Scherma, looking equally confused and amused, laughed along and thanked O'Brien for the warm response. Twitter also blew up and applauded the stunt. Comedian Wanda Sykes wrote: "Conan is giving no F's tonight." While fans said: "Conan was the star of the Emmys" and "Conan's chaotic energy is my favorite part of the show."

Others, however, weren't so happy with the comedic timing of O'Brien's stunt as Scherma was there to present an award to Debbie Allen — one of the few people of color who won an Emmy. "@ConanOBrien way to nail the entitled white guy bit @TheEmmys when celebrating diversity and the legend that is @msdebbieallen. Spot on!" O'Brien also raised eyebrows when he crashed the stage after Stephen Colbert won the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special. "Always been a Big fan of @ConanOBrien. But crashing @StephenAtHome acceptance speech at the #Emmys was not a class act. That was so unlike him. Was he drunk?" Others simply laughed off the moment: "I can't tell if @ConanOBrien crashing @StephenAtHome during his acceptance speech pissed him off or not... "

Either way, it's clear O'Brien made a splash!