As a late-night host, Conan O'Brien typically sticks to the lighter side of news — celebrity gossip, funny headlines, etc. The purpose of the show is to make people laugh, after all. And, because O'Brien tapes his shows in a closed-off setting, he and the studio audience have the luxury of being unplugged from the outside world for a couple of hours. Yet, Robin Williams' passing Monday night was such a significant event, it penetrated the otherwise insular recording.
O'Brien abandoned his late-night schtick just before the end of taping to break the tragic news to his audience, along with guest Will Arnett, and sidekick Andy Richter. "This is unusual and upsetting, but we got some news during the show that Robin Williams has passed away," he told everyone in the studio. "I'm so sorry to have to report this," he continued, realizing attendees likely hadn't heard the news yet. O'Brien and his guests spoke briefly about Williams, and what a devastating loss the world is feeling. He was a great comedian, they all agreed, but as Arnett said in the clip, "He was even better as a person." (Deadspin)