Conan O’Brien on Life Backstage at the Simpsons

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In the journalism trade — which I intermittently practice — revealing the boring making-of details behind a product is known as “making sausages.” It’s a Bismarck thing, yo. Once you’ve read this Q&A with Conan O’Brien, the TV equivalent can henceforth be known as “flipping pool cues:”

Do any stories from those early days at The Simpsons stick out?

I look back at a few periods and realize, “Gee, I think I lost my mind a little bit during certain stretches.” I used to walk around the Fox lot, and I found two pieces of a broken pool cue in an alley. There were two pieces that screwed together with a brass fitting, and then unscrewed. Jeff Martin and I developed a whole game around unscrewing it, flipping both handles in opposite hands, and screwing it back together, and how many times could we do that in a one-minute period. We developed all these complicated rules involving how far your wrists had to be apart, and so forth, and we took it really seriously. It got to the point where Jeff had the record for 45 flips in one minute, but then there was the time I broke it and got to 46; we were elated. And other people in the room would watch sometimes. I remember moments where Jeff and I were doing it, and there was a circle of people around us watching, and it got very intense. I think I still have that pool cue somewhere, in a closet or a basement.