Conan to Caro: “I respect you too much to have you on my show”

Conan and Caro

Conan O’Brien recently interviewed historian and writer Robert Caro.  John Kelbin tells what happened in his recent piece at The New York Times.  Here is a taste:

“They probably told you,” Mr. O’Brien said, “I’m a fan to a disturbing level.”

“I want to say, if I’ve ever been asked to be on your show, my publisher never told me,” Mr. Caro replied.

“I like this way better,” Mr. O’Brien said. “I respect you too much to have you on my show.”

The host then asked Mr. Caro if he agreed with Ernest Hemingway’s comment that a writer should not “exhaust the fuel tank in one writing session,” so that it’s easier to start again the next day.

“I want to say, if I’ve ever been asked to be on your show, my publisher never told me,” Mr. Caro replied.

“Yes, and you’re the first person that ever mentioned that,” Mr. Caro said, before noting that he had written his thesis at Princeton on Mr. Hemingway.

“Why am I in comedy?” Mr. O’Brien said.

Did Mr. Caro ever take breaks? Sneak away from his desk to an afternoon movie?

“See the new ‘Avengers,’” Mr. O’Brien suggested. “Ina doesn’t have to know about it.”

“Never in my entire life,” Mr. Caro replied.

Mr. O’Brien proposed coming by Mr. Caro’s office one day and taking him to a matinee.

“If I don’t answer,” Mr. Caro said, “it’s because I’m so deep in the work.”

After a Q. and A. session and another round of applause, Mr. Caro seemed pleased. “I thought these questions tonight were exceptional,” he said in a side room. “Incisive.”

Read the entire piece here.

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