Everyone attending the taping knew this was going to be the last commercial break for Late Night with Conan O'Brien and, yes, there was another standing ovation because it was a really jumpy crowd. Everyone expected there'd be a bit of Conan saying thank you to various people and goodbye to New York City, and that is what came up. It was a sweet little discussion about the various people to whom Conan felt were influences or aides to his career --- David Letterman and Jay Leno as the most obvious examples; I saw reviewers talk about how he praised Letterman profusely and Leno dutifully, but it honestly didn't play that way in person. I think we may have to accept the idea that Conan O'Brien actually likes Jay Leno --- as well as to people who've been particularly supportive to him as a person.
As you might expect he talked about the writers, the staff, the executive producer (who was getting a standing ovation which Conan cut off; on the aired episode he says, no, that cheapens my standing O), the head writer (who controls the APPLAUSE sign), his parents (who, if I'm not mistaken, were the older and slightly out-of-place couple taking pictures before the show and during commercial breaks), and his brother Neil who called every morning to talk about how great the previous night's show was even in the early years when that was really a show of brotherly love.
Nobody should be surprised that cue cards are heavily relied on for so much of a talk show, particularly when they involve sketches which were written as much as ninety minutes ago. And Conan had a cue card for his goodbye speech as well, but although the speech went on for about five minutes --- and made the entire episode run long --- there was only the one cue card held up for it. I couldn't see the card but I suppose it must have included just the barest outline of points that he absolutely had to make. You don't often see television people talking quite so directly or sincerely and it was exciting watching it.
Trivia: The Mayflower set sail from Plymouth Harbor on 5 April 1621 with an empty hold ballasted by rocks dredged from the harbor. Since setting out from England the ship had lost its boatswain, gnner, three quartermasters, cook, and more than a dozen sailors to illness, and one cooper who decided to stay with the Plymouth colony. Source: Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, Nathaniel Philbrock.
Currently Reading: The Anti-Theatrical Prejdice, Jonas Barish.