As anyone who caught his national tour knows, Conan O'Brien is "legally prohibited from being funny on television." But his writers aren't.
O'Brien's longtime writers, as well as sidekick and Tonight Show announcer Andy Richter, will start making themselves comfortable at their new network with a stand-up special, Team Coco Presents Conan's Writers Live, airing Sunday at 10/9c on TBS.
"It's bunch of guys who were writing for The Tonight Show, who are performers in their own right and who have been sitting at home for the last five months ready to do something," Richter tells TVGuide.com. "Our writers had already been doing stand-up together as a group at various stand-up clubs around LA, so it was just sort of the proverbial no-brainer."
The writers found themselves with more spare time after O'Brien's sudden departure from The Tonight Show in January led to an exit deal with NBC that prohibited him from appearing on TV until fall. His new TBS show will begin airing in November.
"It's not like they're a bunch of mousy quiet little fellas sitting there putting lines in Conan's mouth," he says. "They're all really funny, talented performers in their own rite and it's nice that people will get a chance to see that."
The "legally prohibited" part of "legally prohibited" is no joke: Don't expect the lanky redhead to drop in at the special. But that will mean even more recognition for his talented team of writers, some of whom appeared in the "Legally Prohibited" tour that took O'Brien across the country in the spring.
"It's about showcasing each individual's bit. There's the stuff that they write for Conan and the stuff that they write for themselves. So some of the guys are just kind of straight-up joke tellers, and then other guys are going to be kind of more weird, atmospheric character pieces, but all funny and not too far apart from each other in terms of comedic identity," he says. "You're going to see lots of silliness."
The special also marks the first appearance of "Team Coco" on TBS since the network announced O'Brien's new late-night show in April.
Richter says the team has yet to truly start brainstorming for the program, scheduled to debut in November, but says he's already excited about Team Coco's new home.
"The network couldn't have been more open to us and more inviting to us and more welcoming to us," he says. "It was pretty lousy what happened and it felt pretty lousy, but I really do think we're going to end up in a better place and that's already becoming evident."