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O’Brien attends premiere of post-Tonight Show doc

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Conan O’Brien attended the premiere Sunday of the documentary that captured the turmoil he faced in the days following his departure from the Tonight Show. But he did it grudgingly.

“I personally have trouble watching it because it’s a time in my life that I don’t like to go back to,” O’Brien said from the red carpet, shortly before the South by Southwest film festival premiere of Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop. “I’m happy where I am now. I don’t really need to go back to it. But I made a commitment” to director Rodman Flender.

O’Brien allowed camera crews to follow him during the “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television” tour, 32-city music-and-comedy show he embarked on last year following his unceremonious departure as the host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

It was a tumultuous time for the comedian, who said he didn’t sleep much and lost 15 pounds.

“It’s a swirly cone of crazy emotions,” he said. “It was anxious, depressing but also euphoric and exciting. It was not just one emotion, it was a lot of emotion. I was confused but also really excited by new possibilities and I think you see almost every emotion in the movie. You see pretty much everything.”

Flender, the director who has been friends with Conan since they were classmates at Harvard in the 1980s, said he didn’t want the film to be a career retrospective or a marketing tool.

“This seemed like Conan in a specific position and how he was going to handle that and it was happening right then and there,” Flender said.

Conan has moved on with a new late-night talk show, “Conan” on TBS and says he had had even forgotten that the film was in the works.

“I’ve put this all behind me and this came along and suddenly Rodman said ’Hey, the film’s done’ and I said ’what film?” O’Brien said.

“It might be informative to some people that are going through a crisis,” he said. “If it can serve any good for anybody, then fine, then I’m happy.”

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