UPDATE: A day after it picked up steam online, Comedian Conan O’Brien responded to a video where a New Jersey man, who shares similar features with the late-night talkshow host, claimed he might be his illegitimate son.
O’Brien said on Twitter:
O’Brien’s response to the video was a bit tongue-in-cheek (as would be expected), and riffed on the sordid family life of director Woody Allen, whose estranged son, Ronan Farrow, took a shot at Allen as he was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime-achievement award during the Golden Globes earlier in the week.
EARLIER: Growing up without a dad was tough for Gregory Keating—or so he claims—especially since he’s convinced that his father is a celebrity figure and late night talkshow host.
“I’ve spent my whole life confused,” Keating says in a video posted on YouTube, called “Conan? Dad?,” in an attempt to reach out to comedian Conan O’Brien. “I want to share with you, grow with you, and dominate late-night television with you. Together, as father and son.”
While Keating bears a striking resemblance to O’Brien, a Brookline native, whether or not his story carries any weight remains unsolved. After all, he does have some experience in marketing and advertising as a junior attending Temple University, which could mean his plea to connect with O’Brien is nothing more than a shot at TV fame.
To give his tale some leverage, Keating has concocted a plot line to back his theory. In the video, he says his mother worked at 30 Rockefeller Center, in New York City, in the early 1990s, around the same time O’Brien was taping his nightly show. He also claims that O’Brien and his mother could have had a brief tryst, as she was later fired from her gig as a producer at NBC’s News at Sunrise because she got pregnant.
Sure, it sounds far-fetched. It’s probably even a ruse, based on the over-the-top performance Keating gives in his video. But the New Jersey native remains persistent throughout the two-minute clip where he asks for fatherly affection. And if you do the math, Keating’s age—he’s 21—matches up succinctly with that of an average college junior, as well as the timeframe when he says he was conceived in New York City.
To find out just how serious Keating is about his quest to finally “go fishing” with O’Brien, and have a male figure in his life, we tracked him down and let him play out his fantasy. Here, he responds to a few of our questions:
Do you really think Conan O’Brien is your dad?
Well there’s always the possibility. In the video it’s all speculation. But I can’t count it out.
In the video it’s just speculation, but there is this gut feeling that comes into play. Like police detectives. Sometimes you just get gut feelings.
It seems like an attempt to get on his show.
No, not at all. If that does happen, sure, fire away. I want to find out if he’s my dad or not. It’s just to draw attention to the situation.
Is it about money?
No money. I don’t need money. Well I do need money, but that last line in the video was for comedic effect. This isn’t a con or anything.
In the age of the viral Internet, why did you wait until now to reach out to him?
I have been a Conan fan for a long time. When I was a child I didn’t know who he was. But as I grew older, I started looking like him more and more. You saw my hair, it just does that. It really just does that. Whenever I’m out, or at school, or a party, people come up to me and they always say, “people probably tell you this all the time, but you look exactly like Conan O’Brien.” I started to introduce myself at parties as Greg O’Brien. I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s funny to see the reaction when you tell people that.
Does it sting when people bring up the fact that your dad doesn’t love you?
It’s nice at first because this world can be pretty lonely, and having people pay attention to you can be pretty nice. But it’s the aftershock, when they leave, and no longer care about you and only that you look like your father. It hurts. It can cut pretty deep.
Does your hair really just fall into place like Conan’s?
I wake up in the morning and it’s a mess. And then I just slick it back and it falls forward. It’s like ‘come on, really?’ It just does it. I wake up in the morning, but I still have that wave, that poof.
So how did you start piecing together the clues to come to the conclusion that Conan might be your dad?
I did some snooping around. My mom had some old NBC files in the cabinet upstairs that I got a hold of. I found some old pay stubs, and talked to a few people, and I got the idea from there. But then again, I’m not too clear on that time of her life. She doesn’t like to talk about it.
Sounds Like Conan doesn’t want to talk about it, either. Has he responded to your video?
He has a lot going on, you know? He is famous. I tweeted the video at him, and to the Team Coco account, and I didn’t get any answers. I didn’t expect to. I think having an illegitimate son can be daunting, especially in the public eye. But I think with enough viral attention, maybe I’ll get an email or a phone call or something like that.
Or get to appear on his show and do a blood test?
Yeah something like that. Then maybe we can have some Maury, or Jerry Springer-type action.
Your LinkedIn profile says you’re studying marketing and advertising. Sure this isn’t a ploy to test your skills in the field?
I’m in advertising. Writing is my thing. It’s definitely one of the things I’d like to do. Writing comedy is something I do for fun when I’m not bogged down with school. I do a jazz show, and some news on a school radio show. But doing comedy is something I’d like to do.
Like father, like son?
If he does turn out to be my dad, that would change my life.
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/2014/01/13/guy-claims-conan-obrien-father/
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