Jordan Schlansky is a 50-year-old associate producer, television personality, and podcast host. He’s best known for helping produce three versions of the television talk shows hosted by Conan O’Brien, most notably “Conan” on the TBS cable television network.
Early life and education
Jordan Schlansky was born on 13 April 1973, in New York State, USA – he grew up in Long Island in the state but wasn’t proud of that fact, according to the Team Coco Q&A. However, Jordan occasionally visited the island to eat cold cheese pizza in adulthood, somewhat disproving that claim. He revealed that he attended the State University of New York at Buffalo during his Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) event.
Jordan started his career as an unpaid intern on the “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” talk show set in 1994, and appeared in his first comedy sketch the following year. By 1996, he was promoted to his first paid role as a studio co-ordinator at the recommendation of the longtime producer Frank Smiley. Frank noticed that Jordan had great chemistry with Conan behind the scenes and told others, ‘We have to get them in front of the cameras at some point.’ In 1998, Jordan was credited as unit manager for the hour-long episode celebrating the show’s fifth anniversary. During the following two years, he worked as the show’s unit manager and production manager.
Conan and others credit Jordan for making one of the show’s staple characters, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, work. Robert Smigel, the puppeteer behind the fake dog and the show’s head writer, said on the Inside Conan podcast that the 1999 Westminster Dog howorganizers revoked the permission to film the first sketch a day before, and that he gave up. However, Jordan reportedly stepped in, printed fake NBC identification documents, and let them in through a loading dock. Knowing that they had a limited time to perform, Jordan told the crew to shoot as much footage as possible quickly; hence, the sketch looked amateurish despite being scripted.
In 2003, for the filming of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien: 10th Anniversary Special,” Jordan rose to the position that he would retain to this day: associate producer. However, what launched his career was the 2008 writer’s strike. That forced Conan to shift to unscripted content to fill air time, resulting in an interview with Jordan. Viewers immediately spotted their chemistry, and Conan said that ‘it was a shot in the dark that created the cult of Jordan.’
Jordan consequently became the butt of many jokes, typically involving Conan going to his office, which was often messy, and asking him what he did at work. Jordan would appear unfazed and remain vague, saying that he ‘does what is asked of him or that responding to Conan isn’t in his job description.’ That’s also when Jordan gave his iconic ambiguous response, ‘I have various duties. My title is associate producer.’
Revealing his interests
In his Cheddar interview in 2023, Jordan implied that he thrived on being ambushed and mocked for comedy, but was unsure why the bits worked so well. After all, he nearly always looked deadpan while Conan laughed uncontrollably. Jordan was less enthusiastic in one Washington Post interview, in which he said, ‘All that happens is fair game; we work in entertainment, and if I can serve that cause by doing things based on my private life, I’m happy to be able to contribute.’
He referred to Conan teasing him for being a super-fan of the Rush band, knowing how to use the bullwhip actor Harrison Ford carried in “Indiana Jones” movies, and being the “Star Wars” movie franchise fanatic since childhood. Jordan frequently talked about his love for Italian cuisine, architecture, and language, particularly espresso machines and red Vespa scooters, and said that he visited Italy yearly since the 1990s. He admitted that he isn’t of Italian descent, but identifies and appreciates the culture. Jordan added that red, his favorite color, matches his personality and favorite type of wine.
Besides Italian, Jordan was also a fan of dead languages. For example, he would say the name of the Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates with the original pronunciation, which Conan could ridicule. Despite being so forthcoming about his passions during segments, the viewers never knew if Jordan was being himself or playing a character. Conan said that a guy once spotted him in the parking in front of an In-N-Out Burger shop, and nearly caused a chain collision when he abruptly stopped his car to ask him if Jordan was real or playing a role.
Late Night Wars
Jordan stayed with Conan during troubling times, especially during January 2010, the period many called ‘Late Night Wars.’ NBC broadcast “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” for only half a year before the clash, so it was expected that Jay Leno, who hosted the prime-time talk show “The Jay Leno Show” would get preferential treatment, as he started hosting the previous iteration, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” in 1992. On the surface, the programming shift looked insignificant, as Jay’s new show was scheduled to air at 11:35 p.m., pushing Conan’s to 12:05 a.m. However, that would severely limit Conan’s viewership, which NBC executives knew. After all, “The Tonight Show” had never aired during that time slot during about 60 years of broadcasting.
Conan protested the decision publicly on 13 January, and NBC eventually paid him $33 million in severance while Jay’s show premiered at the time mentioned above on 1 March. Conan remained contractually obligated to NBC until 1 September 2010, yet the last episode of his show aired on 22 January. Thus, Conan performed stand-up comedy during the break, and called the tour The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) February 14, 2018
Move to TBS and exit
Conan announced that he had inked a contract with TBS in September, and “Conan,” his new talk show, premiered on 8 November. Jordan worked with Conan for the following 10 years until the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic halted the production. Conan premiered 50 episodes in isolation in 2021 from Largo Theatre in Los Angeles, California, then decided to leave TBS. Actor and comedian Jack Black was his last guest, and although he pretended to get hurt in the final comedy sketch, he truly injured his ankle. According to CNN, Conan found this even more fitting; they wanted to make his exit somewhat chaotic, contrasting the meticulousness of other TV hosts going off the air.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jordan remained active on social media, particularly his Instagram, Twitter (now X), and Snapchat accounts, all under @jordanschlansky. However, his jordanschlansky account on the Cameo platform attracted more attention – he charged a fee for fans to send him a private message or request a custom video but included a nod to his iconic quote in the description, saying that ‘he completes the tasks assigned to him.’
A fan paid him $210 in June 2023 to finally reveal what he did for Conan; Jordan said that he mainly ensured compliance with rules and regulations. He also explained that the work behind the scenes was divided between producers, thus, he sometimes had to do staff and general administration and manage the scheduling and production of photographic operations, remote work, meetings, and special projects. Jordan also supervised the post-production of music, film, websites, and writing and strategized airing and hiatus periods for Conan. Finally, he analyzed licensing agreements, booked crew and audience spots, maintained daily production quotas, and assisted with merchandise sales.
Co-hosting a podcast
Conan, learning from other hosts’ mistakes, founded the television production company Conaco, LLC, in 2001. Since then, all related content has been co-produced or solely produced by his company, meaning that he owned the rights to his likeness and branding after leaving TBS.
Jordan likely assisted Conan with his weekly podcast, “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” which he had co-hosted with producer Matt Gourley and his assistant Sona Movsesian since 18 November 2018. In April 2021, Conan premiered his second podcast, “Conan O’Brien Needs A Fan,” in which he interviewed fans over conference calls. That was a successful venture, as the well-known broadcasting corporation SiriusXM purchased Conan’s digital media enterprise, Team Coco, for $150 million in May of the following year.
On 30 November 2023, SiriusXM announced that Jordan would co-host “The Conan and Jordan Show,” primarily available on SiriusXM’s Conan O’Brien Radio channel and through the SiriusXM mobile app. The two promised to discuss various items, from each other’s lives and favorite things to current events, and take calls from listeners live. Jordan previously said in a Team Coco Q&A that Conan was the funniest man he knows, and praised him for being thoughtful and attentive. He provided an example of Conan buying him an expensive porcelain cappuccino cup from a Florence, Italy, coffee shop only because Jordan mentioned that he loved the place. Conan described Jordan as ‘someone who infuriates him in the ways that people see on-screen but fascinates him.’ He added that he has affection for Jordan, and described their relationship as ‘a perfect yin-yang,’ i.e., completely balanced.
After a break of about a year, in August 2022, Conan featured Jordan in front of cameras in a YouTube video, Conan Reunites With Jordan Schlansky | Team Coco. They joked about Jordan not getting COVID-19 because ‘it wanted nothing to do with him’, and that Jordan had greying hair and a beard, prompting Conan to use a temporary hair-dying spray to restore Jordan’s color to dark brown. In October, Conan’s team uploaded another video in which Conan confronted Jordan about his Cameo videos, joking that ‘some people had to do things they were ashamed of to survive.’
These comedy segments implied that Jordan would soon have a more significant role in front of the camera, which Conan confirmed in May 2023. He announced a new channel, Conan O’Brien TV available on Samsung TV Plus, a streaming service for Samsung television sets that included over 300 free channels. It primarily consisted of re-runs and compilations of old episodes, and Cheddar interviewed Jordan for the occasion. He praised Samsung, indicated that he would help curate the content, and revealed that his favorite interviews in the show were with people he grew up with or around, because ‘he got used to the A-listers pretty quickly.’ He picked John Ritter, best known for starring in the ABC sitcom “Three’s Company,” as an example of a guest whose interviews he enjoyed the most.
Jordan also announced that he will help produce Conan’s four-episode series, “Conan Must Go,” scheduled to premiere in 2024 on the media streaming platform HBO Max. Jordan described it as a travel show that would follow Conan’s journey to meet fans featured on his podcast. Jordan also showed his passion for tango, a ballroom dance type, via Instagram around that time.
Wife Emma Schlansky
Jordan married Emma in August 2015, announcing his marriage in the “Conan” episode in which Conan organized a surprise bachelor party. Conan attended their wedding. Little about Emma is known; the primary source of information is the skit from an episode broadcast in 2014. In it, Jordan went to couples’ counseling because he was cheating on Conan by becoming engaged to a woman he met at a CVS drug store. Jordan only revealed her name, and that they argue over air conditioning – she likes to use it while he doesn’t.
Jordan has balding salt and pepper hair, hazel eyes, is 5ft 10ins (1.78m) tall, and weighs about 160lbs (73kgs). He has an athletic physique and mentioned using CytoGainer, a whey and carbohydrate supplement, to gain muscle mass. Jordan broke his arm in 2017 when a lady hit his red Vespa, shattering the vehicle and prompting Jordan to stop driving scooters in Los Angeles.
Jordan Schlansky has an estimated net worth of over $3 million. Conaco, LLC has employed him for over two decades, and Conan repeatedly stated that he paid his staff even when they had no work. Moreover, with over three decades in production, Jordan is among the top-earning associate producers in California, with a base pay of $99,000 yearly, according to Glassdoor. Additionally, Jordan charges $250 per custom video on Cameo, and has promoted products such as Philips Norelco and Chianti Classico and brands such as Fendi and Fiat.