Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

The talk show host's attempt to wait tables did not go well. 

Elisabeth Sherman
November 09, 2017

At the legendary Harlem soul food restaurant Sylvia’s, you probably expect some of the best chicken, collard greens, and mac cheese you can find in the city. You probably would not expect to find Conan O’Brien, host of his own talk show, working behind the counter. Still, the comedian decided to give it a go, stopping by the restaurant to learn how to be a restaurant worker for a day. He’s not so great at it, as you might be unsurprised to learn.

First off, the comedian mocks the number of pictures of Liza Minnelli on the wall (there are quite a few). Once he actually puts on the hairnet and apron and gets behind the counter, he makes a few rookie mistakes: stealing a customer’s meal for instance, which he proceeds to sample for himself, and giving away free cakes to anyone who stops into the restaurant, and then berating said customers about which sports teams they follow. It’s probably also inadvisable to wipe the sweat off of a customer's face and call his sideburns those of a “pornographer," at least if you want to get a good tip.

He also can’t figure out how to work the register, which makes him completely useless to the other employees. Then he tries to sing happy birthday to an innocent diner, but his rendition of the song does not go over well. O’Brien ends up making so many mistakes that he’s eventually relegated to the back of the restaurant, where he’s assigned to dishwashing duty (an admittedly essential job in the kitchen).

His antics might have been all for show and laughs, but that doesn’t change my personal conviction that he would still be a terrible restaurant employee. It’s not always amusing to hear a joke when all you want to do is eat your food, no matter how hilarious the waiter is. Thankfully, O’Brien’s stint only lasted one day. He’s sticking to the talk show business and leaving the restaurant work to the professionals.