LANGLEY — The police chief could have arrested the famous talk show host for vandalizing public property.
Instead, he applauded him.
What’s up with that?
Armed with a Sharpie, Conan O’Brien drew a caricature of himself on the top of a trash can by City Hall in an impromptu ceremony Friday afternoon.
“What an honor,” he wrote. He signed it, “Your new friend.”
O’Brien was in town with his playwright wife Liza Powel O’Brien for the premiere of her play “Apostrophe” at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, which runs through June 25.
“I want to thank all of you for this fantastic privilege of having a trash can named after me,” O’Brien told the gathering on First Street.
He praised the cordial community and the ramen he had at Ultra House.
“I’ve been here eight hours and I know everybody in this area,” he said.
“The Conan Can” is destined to be the most talked about trash can in Washington state.
When word got out Friday that the tall comedian with the pompadour red hair was in town, Langley Mayor Scott Chaplin and police Chief Tavier Wasser had to act fast.
“The chief saw him when he was just doing his walk around town,” Chaplin said.
The officials wanted to commemorate his visit for the good folks of Langley. It needed to be something silly, like a storm drain or a trash can.
Since O’Brien was the longest-serving late night host, the long-serving can by City Hall was a good fit.
O’Brien, 59, retired from late-night TV a year ago after almost 28 years with shows such as Late Night with Conan O’Brien, “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” and “Conan.” He was also a writer for “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons.”
Resident Basil Hassoun, 23, a hip urban designer, was summoned by the mayor to give a trash can dedication speech. He put on a bow tie for the occasion.
“Who better to symbolize our sleepy retirement community than the man who spent his career putting our people to sleep?” he said.
A piece of notebook paper with “The Conan Can” in inked letters was taped to the front of the brown can. There’s talk of a bronze plaque being installed as a marker. Or something artsy. After all, this is Langley.
The seaside village draws those who want to chill, create, perform and escape.
“Famous people pass through occasionally. Not very often, really,” Chaplin said. “Macklemore came through one time. Oh, the Barefoot Bandit lived in the area for a while.”
Tourists are expected to flock to the can for selfies and make a deposit.
“We should probably add a recycling bin next to it. Maybe we should name it after his wife,” the mayor said.