04/18/2013 11:56 am ET

Conan O'Brien's 50th Birthday: A Look Back At Comedian's Life & Career (PHOTOS)


Today, Conan O'Brien turns 50 years old. Born in Brookline, Mass. to a doctor and a lawyer, O'Brien has spent his entire adult life evolving into the closest thing we have to a comedy superhero.

Before he turned 20, he was elected as the president of the Harvard Lampoon, an office he held onto the next year -- a feat that nobody had accomplished for decades. (For perspective, the Harvard Lampoon was the country's most respected humor publication until the advent of The Onion, and Conan was heading it up before he was legally allowed to drink.)

Immediately upon graduating, O'Brien and his Lampoon pal Greg Daniels, who would go on to create the American "The Office," moved to Hollywood to work in comedy. After a few odd jobs, they were hired as staff writers on "Saturday Night Live" in New York City. Conan worked there for two years before getting burned out. "The Simpsons" heard he was a free agent, and hired him as a writer, and he was a key part of their creative team during some of the most acclaimed seasons.

Meanwhile, a dispute between David Letterman and Jay Leno led to O'Brien filling in the "Late Night" seat in 1993. And the rest, as they say, is history. Anyone with passing knowledge of pop culture knows the saga of the Late Night Musical Chairs, but on Conan's 50th birthday, the timeslot or network doesn't matter -- as long as Conan is Conan.

Whether you're a longtime fan of O'Brien since he took over "Late Night," or are mostly familiar with his TBS talk show and Team Coco digital presence, we all should give it up to Conan today. Here's a look back on his remarkable life and career.

Conan O'Brien Through The Years