Conan O'Brien's 'Significant Other' Liza Powel O'Brien Launches New Podcast

Liza Powel O'Brien is joining the family business and launching her own podcast as part of husband Conan O'Brien's Team Coco.

The playwright is set to host Significant Others, a non-fiction podcast that shines a spotlight on people behind well-known historical figures.

"I've probably absorbed a lot, just from living with Conan for the last 20 years," Liza told Newsweek, when discussing her thoughts on hosting a podcast for the first time. Her comedian husband Conan has recently embarked on a surprise turn in his career as his own podcast, Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend, has become an international success.

"I could never in a million years do 99.9 percent of the stuff he does, but having a conversation does feel like something I can manage," Liza said.

Liza Powel O'Brien and podcast title
Liza Powel O'Brien is a playwright whose work has been seen and developed in New York, Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University School of the Arts, and her significant other is Conan O’Brien. "Significant Others" is the first scripted historical podcast from Team Coco and will launch on July 20, 2022. Jenna Jones/Team Coco

Launching on Wednesday, July 20, the notable people from history featured on Significant Others will be voiced by celebrities like Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Lisa Kudrow and Rita Wilson.

Two episodes of Significant Others will be released each week featuring essays she describes as a "light history lesson" with a "sprinkling of commentary from a modern perspective. On Wednesdays she narrates these writings, which are peppered with the voices of the contributing celebrities.

On Thursdays there will be a follow-up episode that features Liza in conversation with people who have a meaningful link to the historical figures discussed.

"It's a little bit of a smorgasbord, but I think that's kind of in a fun and interesting way. The aim of that follow up episode, the aim of the conversations, is to make them a little bit more relevant to now," Liza said.

Team Coco produces a number of podcasts now with hosts including Conan, JB Smoove, Rob Lowe and Andy Richter, to name just a few. Significant Others is significant for the podcast company as it's the first non-comedy genre show it's produced.

"To be honest with you, I'm both terrified that anyone will listen to it and also worried that no one will." Liza joked. "I know, my mother is going to be a faithful listener."

Conan O'Brien and wife Liza Powel O'Brien
Liza Powel O'Brien is working with her husband Conan O'Brien's production company Team Coco for her new podcast "Significant Others." WireImage/Alberto E. Rodriguez

"The person who's a diehard Conan fan may like this, but may not and that is completely fine. It's the type of learning that you can get from this sort of podcast that is not too much heavy lifting, but it might just add another thing to your roster of interesting stuff that you've collected along the way to your life.

"I did a little guest segment on his podcast last week and I was immediately following Nikki Glaser the comedian who is so great. These people are having popcorn conversations that are going off as you're listening. That is not what I do and not what I could do. But [Significant Others] does have a lot of really interesting information. Anyone who is interested in relationships at all will like this."

Liza wants those who do listen to get involved in the conversation and contribute their own ideas for other "significant others" of historical figures. Looking ahead at potential future seasons, Liza has already thought of additional features to add to the podcast.

"I'm constantly thinking of missed opportunities but maybe moving forward I should be asking everyone that I interview who their significant other is in the story of their life. Not necessarily their romantic life, but just their career or their passion project, or whatever it is that they think defines them."

Considering her position in her husband's story, Liza continued: "For Conan, I don't think I would be technically kind of significant other in terms of being his wife, but he has other people in the story of his career, who were pivotal. And that could be an interesting story."

Many of the celebrities featuring on Significant Others have an existing friendship with Conan and Liza, which meant recruiting them to the project was generally straightforward.

Liza Powel O'Brien pictured with Conan
Liza Powel O'Brien, host of the upcoming podcast "Significant Others," has been married to Conan O'Brien (pictured together, right, in 2013) since 2002. Venturelli / Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Getty Images

"Most of the time it was a text [that got them onboard," Liza said. "Rita Wilson happened to be sitting next to me one night and said, 'What are you working on? What are you writing?' I was not going to approach her for any of this but she's so lovely and solicitous, I asked and she said 'I would absolutely love to do that'. She really offered herself for that which was incredible.

"Jameela [Jamil], I think we did reach out to her through more official channels and she was very quick to say 'I love Conan, I'll do anything for his wife.' Incredibly kind," Liza recalled.

In addition to the aforementioned celebrities, Significant Others will feature Timothy Olyphant, Jack McBrayer, Jim Rash, Paul F. Tompkins and Team Coco producer Matt Gourley.

Liza credits the people on Team Coco with helping her settle into the role of host on her first podcast and credits the quality of the team to her husband's hiring policy.

"That's something that Conan has always been really good about is collecting nice people around him and appreciating them and benefiting from what they have to offer. Most of the time, people seem very happy to be working with him and I'm certainly benefiting from that," she said.

By day Liza Powel O'Brien is a playwright whose works have been performed in theaters across LA. With no projects other than her podcast to promote, Liza encourages everyone to get out to the theater at what is a "really dynamic and delicate time" for the industry.

The first season of Significant Others will feature eight episodes in total. Episode 1 launches on all major podcast platforms on Wednesday, July 20.

Update 07/18/22, 11:32 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include a video and additional comments.