When you've been in late night as long as Conan O'Brien has, you learn how to think on your feet. Conan showed that Friday night by spending an entire evening roasting Kumail Nanjiani after he was forced to cancel at the last minute. Throughout the show, Conan interviewed his own personal assistant Sona Movsesian and explicitly refused to promote Nanjiani's upcoming film, all while getting in jabs about Nanjiani's supposed "troublesome diva" personality.
O'Brien slipped Movsesian, a regular on his podcast Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend, onto the couch in Nanjiani's place. For her part, Sona took it in stride while still pointing out the unlikelihood of her ending up in front of the camera.
“Oh shit, they really ran out of stuff to do,” she said, before revealing that the interview was a complete surprise to her. “That’s kind of like how my job is just regularly...No one tells me anything.”
Conan compared Nanjiani to Liza Minnelli for flaking, labeling the actor and comedian a diva.
“Liza Minnelli canceled and she’s known—she’s a great artist—but she’s known for sometimes flaking out,” he said. “So Liza Minnelli and, in that same category of troublesome diva, Kumail Nanjiani.”
Nanjiani apologized for the no-show, blaming a scheduling error with his filming of HBO's Silicon Valley. He also noted that the bit they used to lampoon him was the sort of classic Conan segment that got him into comedy in the first place, even though he was horrified it came at his expense.