The most famous tall-and-lanky redhead in America stopped by the Village by the Sea Friday and dedicated a trash can.
Langley residents and city officials were treated with the appearance of special guest Conan O’Brien, who was in town for the premiere of his wife’s play “Apostrophe” at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.
Tavier Wasser, the city’s chief of police, spotted the former late-night talk show host Friday morning in front of the Braeburn restaurant.
“That guy’s got Conan O’Brien hair. That’s interesting,” he recalled thinking to himself.
It was, indeed, the famous comedian, who was a talk show host for nearly 28 years, in addition to being a writer for “The Simpsons” and “Saturday Night Live.”
Wasser spoke extensively with O’Brien. The two of them bonded over meeting the Obamas – Wasser was a former presidential security Marine. The police chief offered O’Brien a tour of the city, and around 2 p.m. that day, he met city officials in front of Langley City Hall.
During the impromptu meeting – which was recorded in a YouTube video by Councilmember Craig Cyr – O’Brien addressed a small crowd and signed a trash can in front of the building with his iconic scrawl.
“This is really the star of the show,” O’Brien said, gesturing to his wife, the playwright Liza Powel O’Brien. Her play, which is about a private high school with a troubled past, premiered June 10 in Langley at WICA and runs through June 25.
Langley resident Basil Hassoun roasted O’Brien and said the city had been looking for someone to dedicate the trash can.
“Who better to symbolize our sleepy retirement community than a man who spent his career putting people to sleep?” Hassoun joked.
O’Brien said it was “a great honor” and a “fantastic privilege” to have a trash can named after him.
He quipped that he wouldn’t have visited Whidbey Island and accepted the honor if he had known how lengthy it was.
He joked lightheartedly about the friendly character of the Village by the Sea.
“I’ve been here eight hours and I know everybody in this community,” he said.
Cyr said O’Brien was amazingly gracious.
O’Brien continued to yield the spotlight to his wife at the premiere of her play that night, which the couple’s friends and other family members also attended. Deana Duncan, WICA’s executive artistic director, reported that O’Brien bought his wife a necklace shaped like Whidbey Island to wear to the premiere.
“It felt very familial in that he was there because his wife was the playwright,” observed Billy Tierney, the arts organization’s marketing director.
Over the weekend, the funny man appeared in a series of Facebook photos at Langley businesses, including Ultra House, the Braeburn and Blue Sound Music.
As one online commenter put it, “This is better than whale watching.”
Keegan Harshman, owner of Blue Sound Music, said he felt hesitant to “accost” the celebrity when he saw him dedicating the trash can outside of city hall Friday afternoon. However, he was glad he ran over and had a pleasant five-minute conversation with O’Brien about playing guitar.
“He said that if he lived here, he would be coming in to take guitar lessons and he also commented on my red beard,” Harshman said. “He likes the red in my beard.”
Kim Kerley, who was O’Brien’s server at the Braeburn Saturday morning, said the star ordered a build-your-own omelet. When she went to check on the table and asked him why he hadn’t taken a bite yet, he said he was talking too much to eat.
“He’s very tall,” Kerley said. “A couple of my other tables were like, ‘Is that Conan?’ He was willing to take pictures with people when he was about to leave. Just an average guy, nice man. No star attitude or anything like that. No ego.”