Sona Movsesian is an executive assistant, author and media personality. She has been the personal and executive assistant of talk show host Conan O’Brien since 2009 and was featured in many of the show’s segments. She currently cohosts the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast.

Sona Movsesian Leader Assistant Podcast Conan O'Brien

In this episode of The Leader Assistant Podcast, Sona shares the story of how she got the job working as Conan O’Brien’s assistant, what she enjoys about being an assistant, the importance of setting boundaries with an executive, and how she stays grounded in the midst of success.

Sona and I also chat about her new book, The World’s Worst Assistant, which you should totally order right now.

The World's Worst Assistant by Sona Movsesian

As a special bonus for this episode, I recorded the video of our conversation for your viewing pleasure…

Jeremy Burrows:

Hello, everyone, welcome to The Leader Assistant Podcast. It’s your host Jeremy Burrows, and I’m very excited. I believe this is episode 176. And I’m very excited to be speaking with Sona Movsesian. Sona, how’s it going?

Sona Movsesian (01:26):

Good. It’s really good. I’m really happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

Jeremy (01:29):

Yeah, I’m very excited to jump right in. Uh, so tell us what you currently do?

Sona (01:35):

Currently, I am the executive assistant to Conan O’Brien. I’ve had this job for 13 years now, since 2009, when he first moved out here, uh, and also I am, uh, on his podcast. Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, and, uh, I also wrote a book, and it’s called The World’s Worst Assistant, (laughs).

Jeremy (01:58):

Love it. Love it.

Sona (02:01):

I think your, I think your audience can get an idea of how I am at my job.

Jeremy (02:06):

(laughs), Yeah, well, we’ll, we’ll dive into that here in a minute. But I really wanna know when you were a kid… did you dream of being an assistant someday?

Sona (02:18):

Uh, I don’t know. Does anybody? Did, did you Jeremy?

Jeremy (02:18):


Sona (02:19):

I mean, I don’t know if anybody dreams of being an assistant, I think, and I think part of that is because we’re… we constantly see these assistants who are just like, “Oh…” Like overworked and tired, and they’re answering calls at 3:00 AM, and, you know, they’re, they’re picking up their boss’s dog and their kids from school and getting their dry cleaning. And, and I don’t wanna disparage all that. But s- I think we’ve just been faced with so many images of so many miserable assistants, that I don’t know if it’s a job that a lot of people tend to aspire to do. But then I think like, like a lot of people who are assistants, when I actually started assisting Conan, I loved it. And I was just like, “Oh, I’m never gonna… I’m gonna assist this guy till the day he dies.”

Jeremy (03:09):


Sona (03:09):

“I’m just gonna ride his coattails (laughs) for as long as I can.” Like I, I really did love it, but I can’t say that I, I dreamt of it as a kid.

Jeremy (03:19):


Sona (03:20):

I dreamt of being like an astronaut. And you know, that’s it. I didn’t have, I didn’t have many… Not that I didn’t have many dreams.

Jeremy (03:28):


Sona (03:28):

But being an assistant was not one of them.

Jeremy (03:31):

Yeah, so what, what… when you got into it, then what was one or two things that really made you think, “Oh, I really do like this”?

Sona (03:40):

You know, I think… Well, for, for, for starters, Conan. I mean, he’s a really great person to work with. He’s really great at boundaries, like he won’t call me in the middle of the night because he needs his socks reorganized, you know?

Jeremy (03:40):


Sona (03:54):

He, he knows not to do that. Um, and, you know, he’s, he’s really just a kind person, but more importantly, he’s really good at just listening to everyone. I’m sorry, my dog is here and she…

Jeremy (04:08):

No, that’s okay.

Sona (04:09):

I think when she hears Conan’s name, she growls.

Jeremy (04:11):


Sona (04:11):

It’s weird. But I, (laughs) I think that, uh, you know, he’s really good at like listening to the people around him. And it doesn’t matter if you’re an assistant or if you’re an intern, or if you’re the executive producer or producer. Y- y- your opinion matters to him, and I think that that’s a really… that says a lot about a person, when they can value the opinions of anybody around them. So that was one. And then the other was I, I realized I could have a life and be an assistant-

Jeremy (04:39):


Sona (04:39):

… which is something I, I wasn’t sure was possible. And when I realized like, “Oh, I could still party it up on Friday nights and, you know, and I can… and Saturday nights and just enjoy my life and, and go out there and then do my job. I can still do that.” And, and that’s when I started to realize like, “This is, this is a much better gig than I originally thought it would be.” So that’s probably one.

Jeremy (05:04):

Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s makes such a huge difference who you’re supporting, you know.

Sona (05:04):


Jeremy (05:10):

Like, for my last executive, he would call me at 10:00 PM, on a Saturday and say, “Hey, I can’t find my other blue sock or whatever, you know, whatever.”

Sona (05:21):


Jeremy (05:21):

And you’re just like, “Okay, wait, what?” Uh, but my current executive, it’s like, “Hey, I’m, I’m offline. I’m not even gonna check anything for at least 24 hours, every weekend, I’m gonna have a 24-hour, uh, break or Sabbath or whatever you want to call it.”

Sona (05:35):


Jeremy (05:36):

And, and I’m like, “Okay.” Uh, so and when I started working with him, I said, “Listen, I wanna…” I sat him down. I said, “I’m gonna be the best assistant you’ve ever had, but you need to leave me alone on the weekends.” (laughs).

Sona (05:36):


Jeremy (05:36):

That’s, that’s what I said, so.

Sona (05:50):

I think that’s important to set those boundaries. Otherwise, they’re gonna think like, “Oh, I could do whatever I want, ’cause they’re my assistant.” And I think-

Jeremy (05:57):


Sona (05:57):

… a lot of people, you know, see how you… what you can get away with and they’re like, “Okay, I can call him and ask him about my blue sock at 10 o’clock on a Saturday, like, that’s okay, ’cause he’s my assistant.”

Jeremy (06:08):


Sona (06:08):

But it’s, I think it’s important for people to say, “This, this is what I’m okay with. And this is… You know, I’m gonna work really hard for you, but there are certain limits to how much you can not abuse me.” What’s the word I was looking for? How, how much I can help you. Like-

Jeremy (06:08):


Sona (06:28):

… how often I can help you. How available I could be for, you know.

Jeremy (06:28):


Sona (06:31):

And I think that that makes a big difference.

Jeremy (06:33):

Yeah. Awesome. Well, so how did you end up as Conan’s assistant, is this your first assistant gig, and how did that all come, come to be?

Sona (06:42):

Isn’t it f- It’s funny, I never even thought about if this is my first assistant gig. I was a coordinator at my last job.

Jeremy (06:49):


Sona (06:49):

Um, and I don’t… I, I think, yeah, I did. I assisted somewhat at my last job. I would say I assisted someone, but I didn’t necessarily assist them in a very… Like, she was in a higher up position than me, and I supported her, but I wasn’t her… I wasn’t technically her assistant, I think, it’s the best way to say it. Um, so this is the first… He’s the first person that I actually assisted.

Jeremy (07:14):


Sona (07:14):

And, and it was I remember my friend Tom, who was Jeff Ross’s assistant. He’s the executive producer. I was like, “Hey, is there anything I should know about assisting?”

Jeremy (07:14):


Sona (07:26):

(laughs), like I was just… I was trying to be like, “Can you tell me what to do and how to do this job?’ Like I, (laughs), I remember I was just talking to Tom and being like, “So how do I do this?” I think, um, so I got the job because I worked at NBC as an intern, and, uh, then a page and then I got a job in the operations department, in the events operations department. And then I talked to HR when I heard Conan was moving out to LA to host the Tonight Show. I was like, “I really want a job on that show.” And they’re like, “Okay, well you just have to keep an eye out for postings.” And then I, I applied to be a PA, which was a productions… production assistant, and I was, you know, gonna… I was hoping to get that job and then, uh, they saw my resume and pulled it out of the pile of PA applicants so that I could apply to… so I can interview to be Conan’s assistant.

So I applied to be a PA, but I didn’t realize I was actually applying to be Conan’s assistant. And then, and then I just didn’t… It was weird how normal it was. Like, I had my first interview with our line producer, and then she slimmed down the applicants to… from a pool of I think about 10 to 4, and then, uh, the second interview was with our line producer, our producer and Conan himself. So that was I think within a week, I ha- I did my first interview, my second interview, and I got the job that day.

Jeremy (07:26):


Sona (08:53):

So I think the day I and… I, I did my second interview, they called me and they’re like, “Okay, they’re gonna offer you the position.” I was like, “Oh, okay.” (laughs), I think I was… I think I really didn’t think I was gonna get it. And then, when I did, I was like, “Oh, my God, I’m gonna be Conan O’Brien assistant. What the f*ck?”

Jeremy (09:10):


Sona (09:10):

“How am I gonna do that? What if he’s a weirdo? What if he sucks?” You know, it was just all these things running through my mind. But luckily, it did not turn out badly, (laughs).

Jeremy (09:24):

Right. I was gonna say it, what… at what point during the process were you like, “Should I mention to them that I haven’t assisted anyone before” (laughs)?

Sona (09:29):

I know, (laughs), I know, I know. And then I shadowed his assistant for a week. So I was flown out to New York, and I shadowed his assistant for a week, but she had been with him for about 11 years.

Jeremy (09:40):


Sona (09:40):

And she… And there was two assistants at the time. So they were gonna go from two assistants to just me. And the second assistant was actually doing the brunt of the work and, um… but she had been with him for so long. She knew everybody, she went through his contacts with me, she like, ran, ran me through all the important dates in his life and, you know, just kind of gave me a good foundation. So, uh-

Jeremy (10:03):


Sona (10:04):

… yeah, that was, uh… So I had a week, week of training. And then after that, it was me asking Tom like, “Hey, what do I do? How do I do this job? What do I do? How do I do it?”

Jeremy (10:14):


Sona (10:14):

(laughs), you know.

Jeremy (10:14):


Sona (10:14):


Jeremy (10:15):

So what’s one of the, what’s one of the funniest things, uh, that’s happened? You’ve been with Conan for what? 12, 13 years-

Sona (10:15):

13 years.

Jeremy (10:15):

… or somewhere there? 13 years.

Sona (10:24):

Yeah, 13 years. One of the funny I… You know what? I don’t know if I could choose one of the funniest things I will say, uh, working for a comedian like Conan I wanna say every single day I’m laughing.

Jeremy (10:36):


Sona (10:36):

It’s just a constant nonstop laugh fest. I, I, I think things that stand out to me in terms of things we did that were really fun were I went to a lot of his Conan Without Borders specials, when we were taping. So I, I went to Cuba with him. I went to Armenia with him. Uh, we went to South Korea, to Mexico, uh, Berlin. So whenever we go on those just seeing him interact with people, I’m always dying. Every time he shoots a remote, I’m always dead. Um, you know, when he used to shoot his clueless gamers, or, uh, I think the f- one of the funniest things that I could remember where I was, I was on camera. So I couldn’t laugh that hard. But I remember everybody around us was dying, was when we went to a matchmaker in Armenia, he too- took me to go meet a matchmaker. And everybody that she was presenting, she’d be like, “Oh, this guy, he’s really good. You know, he’s, uh, he’s not married. He, uh… You know, he’s, he’s young and whatever.” And then he… she’d be like, “Oh, but there’s a catch.” And then eventually, you realize there was a catch with every single guy she was presenting.

Jeremy (10:36):


Sona (11:47):

And the catch was either like, “Oh, he’s still married, technically.” Or, “Oh, he just got out of prison for stabbing someone.”

Jeremy (11:55):


Sona (11:55):

You know, like it was… And it was it just got to the point where it was like, every single guy that she was presenting had some giant massive red flag. And you could see everybody in the room just dying waiting for the next red flag to be, to be said, and then Conan was just acting like such a fool. I think it was one of my favorite shoots that we did. Um, but yeah, I mean, um, when we record the podcast, you know, when like Bill Hader is on, or when Bob Newhart was on or Jeff Goldblum. I mean, those people make me laugh so hard.

Jeremy (12:26):


Sona (12:28):

So yeah, I’m really lucky. I think it’s just I, I wish I could give you a specific thing that was like the hardest I’ve laughed. But there have been so many times when I’m like, tears running down my face, I can’t breathe, kind of laughing. And, uh, it’s part of why I love my job so much, is that I’ve… I just laugh all the time. It’s just a nonstop laugh fest, and I love it.

Jeremy (12:52):

Yeah. I me- Well, speaking of laughing on the podcast, I just listened to the recent episode of the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend Podcast, where you talked with Jack Wyatt, and I, you know, I was just listened to that was I couldn’t help but wonder, you know, do you ever pinch yourself and think, “How did I end up here co-hosting, (laughs)-“

Sona (13:12):

All the time.

Jeremy (13:13):

“… co-hosting a podcast-

Sona (13:14):

All the time.

Jeremy (13:15):

… talking to actors and musicians and you know, other famous people all the time (laughs)”?

Sona (13:21):

All the time. Oh my God, I swear, Jeremy, there’s moments where I’m just like sitting there and like, I’ll have an out-of-body experience, where it’s like, I’m hovering over myself looking at myself sitting in a room with-

Jeremy (13:21):


Sona (13:32):

… Jack Wyatt and Conan O’Brien and just being like, “How the f*ck did I get here?”

Jeremy (13:32):


Sona (13:37):

And it’s, it’s w- it’s, you know, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s extra weird just ’cause I come from a background that has nothing to do with that. Like, we’re not glamorous people. You know, I’m, I’m not someone who… I grew up in LA. I’m born and raised in LA, but I’m not someone who grew up around celebrities. I’m not-

Jeremy (13:37):


Sona (13:58):

… somebody who grew up with parents who were in the entertainment industry. You know, like, my dad was the general manager of a, of a, of a catering house. Like, he, he catered lunch trucks. Like, that’s, that’s what he did, and, you know, my mom, and then we went to, like, you know, a small public school near my house. And I, I think that there, we were just so removed from all that. And now to just sort of be in this position where I’m, I’m meeting some incredible people I’ve met, like, uh, two presidents. You know, and I, I just like… There’s so many moments where I’m like, “How did I get here? What is this? This… They’re gonna find out that I don’t belong one day and just be like-

Jeremy (13:58):


Sona (14:37):

… ‘You need to leave and go back to Hacienda Heights, or Montebello and just not come back here.'” Um, my friend and I call that, uh, the-just-come-home moments, where someone is just gonna be like, “What are you doing here? Just come home. Just stop. Just stop doing whatever, stop pretending you’re… you belong here and just go home.” You know, it is, it is, uh… it’s never gonna be anything I’m gonna get used to.

Jeremy (14:59):

Hmm. It So how do you, how do you combat that? Like, how do you… Like i- you know, you, you could call it impostor syndrome.

Sona (15:08):


Jeremy (15:08):

Um, you know, assistants in the corporate world. They are sitting in these boardrooms with, you know, top execs, and they’re, you know, oftentimes have that same feeling of like, “Okay, o- one I don’t belong here.”

Sona (15:25):


Jeremy (15:26):

Or, or, “Two, I do belong here. And how did it, how did this happen? But I’m, I’m speaking up and sharing ideas and a board meeting with a company that’s got, you know, a billion dollars in revenue or whatever, you know.”

Sona (15:26):

Oh, God.

Jeremy (15:40):

So how do you, how do you combat that feeling of like, all right, ’cause you’ve got to, you’ve got to somehow have that confidence to go sit in those rooms with those people over and over again?

Sona (15:50):

Well, I think that that confidence comes over time, too. I think also, the more you’re in it, the more you realize a lot of people have that same feeling.

Sona (15:59):

Like it’s, it’s not like, uh… I think a lot of people just fake it till they make it. They act like, “I belong here. I should be here. I… This is where I should be. This is my spot. I’m important, and I am gonna say things that, uh, I- I’m gonna act like I know [inaudible 00:16:16] gonna work and are important.” But to be quite honest, I have no f*cking clue. And I realized, from top to bottom, there are so many people, you think that all of these massive people who make these incredible billion dollar decisions are infallible, but you realize they’re not. They’re just human beings who are flawed, and, you know, they also are, are hoping that people won’t realize that, you know, they don’t exactly know everything that they’re talking about sometimes.

And I think that that was a big moment for me, when I, when I was in, like, some of these big rooms with people, not necessarily Conan, ’cause, you know, uh, he’s, he’s very openly talks about, you know, his, uh… how unlikely it was that he is where he is. But when you talk to other people who are in higher positions, you realize, like, “So- some of them have no f*cking clue what they’re talking about.” They’re just sort of… You’re like, “Oh, okay, okay, I’m okay here, because you don’t even know why you’re here.”

Jeremy (15:59):


Sona (17:17):

And so that was a big thing for me, it was noticing that there are people who, uh, are just as flawed and, and kind of unsure of what’s going on as I am. But also somebody once te- said to me, which kind of stuck with me, they were like, “Don’t ever get jaded. Don’t ever get to the point where you think that, ‘Yeah, I belong here.” Uh, always take a moment to just kind of stand back and look at everything going on and realize, like, ‘This is very cool that we get to do this.'” And, and I, I have never forgotten that. And anytime I get to a point where I’m like, “Yeah, whatever. I’m talking to Jack Wyatt. I’m gonna be in the podcast and it’s not a big deal.”

You know, I always am like, “No, no, no, that’s very cool. It’s very, very cool.” And there are s- and there are… You know, even after 13 years, there’s moments where I stopped and I’m like, “It’s really cool that I get to assist Conan O’Brien, you know.” So, as long as I keep reminding myself of that, I think that I don’t think I would ever, ever get to a point where I’m like, “Yeah, I belong here. Hello. Yes, I was born-

Jeremy (18:19):


Sona (18:19):

… assisting this man, and I’m gonna do it forever, because this was my destiny, and I was born to do this.” Like, I don’t… I’ll never get there.

Jeremy (18:26):

Yeah. Yeah, that’s great. So when, um, when did you have that. that c- that shift? So, you know, I’ve been, uh, Conan fan forever, and, you know, watched all those clips of you being and on his show and all the f- you know, the fun little bits that you guys do together. But when, when did it kind of shift from, “All right, I’m Conan’s assistant.” To, “Okay, I’m actually like, a regular on the show, and okay, now I’m hosting a podcast,” like, what… did it just kind of happen or was there like this moment where, where he sat you down and said, “Hey, I want you to be like more of a regular partner almost”? Does that make sense?

Sona (19:10):

Oh, yeah, I know, you’re saying wh- like, but is your question, when did that happen, or when did I realize that was happening? ‘Cause that’s two different things. So-

Jeremy (19:10):

Maybe, maybe both. Yeah.

Sona (19:10):

Yeah. Okay.

Jeremy (19:10):


Sona (19:21):

So it happened pretty organically. I think that, um, Conan and I… ‘Cause we’re… I’m his assistant, we just because of the nature of my job, and you know, this, you just get very close to the people that you’re assisting. It’s just… It just happens and a lot of yourself comes out. They learn a lot about you. They really get a good idea of your rhythm with them and your chemistry and your relationship and, and they acknowledge it, you acknowledge it. It’s just something that just organically happens. And I think that there were m- like in the very beginning, there were moments when I would like pop in and stuff, but then we did the a, a documentary called Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, about his tour in 2010, called the Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television tour.

And, uh, and I was… I had just been working for him for like a little over a year. And I was by his side pretty much the entire time. I mean, that really I think solidified our working relationship and our friendship. And I was just like there the whole time, and because there was documentary being shot, people really got a glimpse into our dynamic, and they really responded to it. And so I think after that, anytime that it, it seemed organic, that I would pop on the show, like I lost my mug, and I sent out a very aggressive email to the staff asking people where my mug was, and, you know, that Conan… Someone showed Conan that email and he’s like, let’s get a camera crew and find Sona’s mug, and then, you know, uh, everything just happened so organically, and it got to a point where it just it made sense. It was never forced, it was never like, “Let’s just see if we could shoehorn Sona into that moment and see if it works.” ‘Cause that I’m… first of all, I’m like, terrible when I’m set up and when I understand what’s going on, (laughs) and so, so.

Jeremy (21:14):


Sona (21:14):

So, yeah, so like, uh, it, it always has to be an organic thing. Um, and then the podcast, I think, was just sort of Conan was starting this podcast, and I think that he thought that we would work really well together ’cause I am, uh… I’m very comfortable talking to him and saying whatever I, I want to him. So we [inaudible 00:21:38] tried it out, and again, people seem to really respond to it. So that became, that became sort of a thing, you know, but me personally, I don’t think there will ever be a time where I’ll be like, “Yeah, I’m talent now. Like, I-

Jeremy (21:52):


Sona (21:53):

… I’ve been on YouTube.” You know, I mean, I joke about it a lot. But I don’t think that I ever will give into the idea that like, I’m a fixture, ’cause I think that it can just go away at any minute. And if I-

Jeremy (22:05):


Sona (22:06):

… give into it, and it goes away that I’m gonna be like, “Oh, I don’t know what to do without this aspect in my life.” But now because I haven’t really glommed on to that. If God… You know, I don’t want it to go away, but if the podcast goes away tomorrow, or, you know, Conan stops featuring me and doing remotes with me, I’ll be fine, you know.

Jeremy (22:06):


Sona (22:26):

I’m gonna be totally okay. It’s not like, my life’s gonna be over. So, yeah, in my eyes, I think that I’m always gonna be just Conan’s assistant and all the other stuff is just like fun things I get to do on the side.

Jeremy (22:40):


Sona (22:40):

Yeah, (laughs).

Jeremy (22:41):

Nice. I, I love, I love how you said, you know, you’re… you’ll be fine. You’re… It’s not like your life’s gonna be over. You know, I talk a lot about detaching our worth as human beings from our work, and so it sounds like you have and so it sounds like you have a very healthy, uh, relationship with your work, if you will.

Sona (22:56):


Jeremy (22:57):

Um, because you’re like, “Oh, you know, if the podcast goes away. Yeah, I’ll be… maybe it’s sad, and I’d, I’d miss it, but I’ll be fine.” [inaudible 00:23:04].

Sona (23:05):

It takes, it takes work to get to that point, doesn’t it Jeremy?

Jeremy (23:05):


Sona (23:07):

Like, you probably didn’t start off like that.

Jeremy (23:07):

No, (laughs).

Sona (23:09):

And I didn’t start off that way, right?

Jeremy (23:11):

That’s what half my book is about, (laughs).

Sona (23:12):

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, it- it’s such a… it’s such an important thing. And especially now, when people are talking about just how the overall workforce is changing, and how people are putting up with a lot less. You know, it’s… I think that it’s really important to realize like work should not be your life, and you need to be in a position where you have to be okay. You know, whether you okay, financially, that’s a completely different thing, but to be okay, emotionally and mentally, if something is no longer in your life, from a career perspective, or a professional perspective, you have to, like, get to a point where you’re like, “I’m okay with that. You know, everything else is good. My family is good. My life is good. You know, I can find another thing that will fulfill that for me, but, uh, I cannot… I, I just… I think it’s gonna be really dangerous if I put too much value on that.” You know?

Jeremy (24:09):


Sona (24:10):

We see eye to eye Jeremy. I feel like we’re really vibe. We get each other.

Jeremy (24:14):

I know, right. Assistants! We got each other, right?

Sona (24:18):


Jeremy (24:19):

So okay, so you two have worked together for a long time, as we’ve talked about. And you do have… I mean, you’ve talked about some of this as well, though, great working relationship and how, you know, he leaves you alone on Friday night at 10 o’clock and-

Sona (24:36):


Jeremy (24:37):

… don’t bug you, whatever. But what’s one thing that’s helped you stick with each other for so long? Is it, is it the fact that you laugh every day? Is it… you know, is there, is there like a… Yeah, what’s, what’s something that’s helped you to stick together for so long?

Sona (24:54):

… you know, that’s a good question. It’s, it’s a… I think like, um, he’s, he’s gone from being just my boss to being like a member of my family. You know, I mean, him and his wife Liza threw my husband and me, our engagement party, like four years ago. They threw us a really nice party with my family and stuff. And, and then they, uh… my… they’re both the godparents to my kids. You know, they… He’s… He came and visited my dad in the hospital, when my dad was getting surgery. He came to my parents house when my grandma passed away, you know. We’ve, we’ve sort of crossed that point from being work colleagues, to just really being in each other’s lives and just being there for each other and being really good friends and, and, you know, essentially family. So I think that that’s a big part of it. Uh, you know, also the fact that I like know all of his credit card information and his personal information, and, you know, he can’t fire me ’cause-

Jeremy (25:53):

The stickiness. Yeah, (laughs).

Sona (25:56):

You know, (laughs), ’cause I know too much. And, you know, everything’s under my name. So I think… in that way.

Jeremy (26:03):

His house, his cars, yeah, (laughs).

Sona (26:04):

His house is mine, his car’s mine, his phone’s mine. No, I, I… on paper, there is no Conan O’Brien, but there’s Sona Movsesian with a lot of stuff, (laughs).

Jeremy (26:14):


Sona (26:14):

Yeah, but it’s just like… it’s like any other relationship in your life. You have to like work at it, you have to, you know, talk to each other and be honest with each other, and, you know, be there for each other. And then we do that, we’re pals. And, and, you know, uh, and we- we’ve gotten to the point where he just accepts me for who I am, I accept him for who he is, and that’s, that’s it. And we’re, we’re, we’re just in a really good place like that, you know? That’s cool.

Jeremy (26:43):

That’s awesome. Well, okay, so I guess this is probably part of this answer, but why did you decide to write your book? Is it because you guys are in a good place, and you want to get it out before, you know, he fires you and you guys (laughs)-

Sona (26:58):

(laughs), so my book, I think that there was, uh… I feel like I just had something to say. I think that especially now, and I’m, I’m hearing about so many people who… You know, with like the entire I think industry sort of just changing in terms of, you know, the, the days when agents would like throw things at their assistants, and when… you know, abuse their assistants, like no one would allow anybody to get away with that anymore, you know. So I think that like just talking about… And I think that so much has been said about the negative aspects of assisting, that I think that it’s really nice to shine a light on like a really positive experience. Like, you did with your book, just kind of talking about, like, you know, uh, that being an assistant doesn’t mean that you have to be abused. It doesn’t mean that you have to have this, like… You have to look at it as just a job, that’s a stepping stone to something else. Like it can be your job, and it can be very fulfilling, and you could be really happy at it.

And so, um, and it’s just like, you know, I, I think that I was in a place where I was like, “I just feel like I should just write about a lot of the things that I got to do.” And then when I told Conan, he was so supportive, and he was like, “I’ll write the foreword for it. You know, I’ll help you. I’ll help you sell it.” You know, and so he did, and he was… And so I, I feel like because it was also just like, kind of like a collaborative experience with my boss. You know, I thought like, he was worried I was gonna make him look bad. But I was like, after I wrote the book, I was like, “Oh, no, no, I look terrible. You look great.”

Jeremy (27:21):


Sona (28:32):

“I look horrible. Like I did the opposite effect that I wanted with this book and made you look like a hero, and I look like this terrible, terrible person.” Um, so yeah, what made you write your book?

Jeremy (28:45):

Uh, well, I… Well, first I wanna say so you, you wrote your book, and you said it made him look like a hero, and then of course… he was okay with it then once, once that… (laughs)…

“Oh, yeah, we… let’s go. I’ll help you sell this.”

Sona (28:58):

“Let me read the finished product to make sure I looked at it. Okay. Yeah. Oh, yeah. You look like sh*t. But I look great. Yeah, let’s… I’ll write the foreword. No problem. I know.”

Jeremy (29:06):

“Yeah, uh, we can promote this.”

Sona (29:08):

I know… to his credit, I came to him when it was an idea. I didn’t even have anything written. So he wasn’t even sure how it would go, and then I wrote it. And then, uh, you know, it, it just it… ‘Cause the book really is about like ha- ha- you know, I… And I think people get really fascinated with this, just like your job. You are in a position where you’re assisting people who do make these really massive decisions that aff- impact so many different employees like that, you know, they, they, they basically they run a company and they, uh… it’s important for you to do your best at it. But I am sort of this goofball, I guess, who just started working for a goofball. And it’s like, we’re just two goofballs who found each other and we’re both insane, but it just works really well. So I, you know, I, I think we both got really… I’m gonna say even talking for him. I think we both got really lucky, and I think he’s very lucky he has me.

Jeremy (29:09):


Sona (30:11):

And I guess I’m lucky I have him too, whatever, but yeah.

Jeremy (30:14):

Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. So I mean, similarly, I wrote my book, because I knew I had something to say. And I had talked with so many assistants, and it was having the same conversations over and over again. And all the, all the tips and, um, mistakes that I made and everything, you know, resonated with other assistants. And so I thought, “Okay, well, I’ve always been a helper. That’s… I think that’s why I’ve been an assistant for so long as I like to help other people, you know, execute their vision.”

And so I was like, “Okay, well, I also wanna help assistants and their executives, and as many as possible.” And so I figured a book would be a good way to get this out to as many as possible without me being on the phone every night with, you know, one-on-one coaching calls or (laughs) something.

Sona (31:01):

(laughs), yeah.

Jeremy (31:02):

So, anyway, yeah, it’s definitely a project. But are you, are you excited, uh, to… I know, I was excited that like there’s this, there’s this phase of you’re working, you’re writing, you’re editing, you’re recording the audiobook, and then it’s finally out and you still feel like there’s work ’cause you’re like, “Okay, well, I’d like to sell some copy.”

Sona (31:21):

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly.

Jeremy (31:24):

But are you excited for that next phase?

Sona (31:25):

I’m thrilled. I am waiting for it. It, uh… It’s, you know, not that I thought it wouldn’t be a lot of work. But I (laughs) think that I, I think I underestimated it. You know-

Jeremy (31:25):


Sona (31:38):

… the publishing world is something I know nothing about, and I knew nothing about before I started, uh, writing my book. Um, but it’s a, it’s a process. And also, my deadline was, I think, in October to write the book, and then I had babies in July. So I had these newborn babies that I had to take care of, two of them. So I, I, I remember just how hectic those like first few months were with my boys, because I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible, but I really wanted to finish my book and write this book that I was proud of.

So it took a lot of navigating. It took a lot of help from my parents. Um, but yeah, I, I did it, and, and you’re right, I feel like every week, there’s just other things I have to do and tick off, and it’s hard. And I- I’m sure you had the same mission ’cause you’re still doing your job. Like you’re still… you still have your 9:00 to 5:00 gig that you have to do. And so it’s just really hard to, to navigate doing both, ’cause I feel like putting out a book is its own sort of full-time job sometimes. So yeah.

It’s a lot. So I am looking forward to being out. I’m looking forward to, uh… I’m preparing myself for any scenario, i- but mostly for like, “Oh, sorry. So no- nobody bought it.”

Jeremy (32:56):


Sona (32:56):

And I’m like, “That- that’s fine. [inaudible 00:32:57]-“

Jeremy (32:57):

Well, I bought it. So-

Sona (32:59):

Eh, thank you.

Jeremy (32:59):

… at least, one person has bought it, (laughs).

Sona (33:03):

All right. All right. I’m on my way. Awesome.

Jeremy (33:05):

Well, okay, well, The World’s Worst Assistant is what it’s called. And, uh, I will link to it in the show notes at, I’ll also link to your Instagram and all that stuff, and, then-

Sona (33:22):

Oh, thanks for doing that, Jeremy, thank you so much.

Jeremy (33:24):

I’ll also share a couple of the YouTube clips from your, your, uh, little snippets. I think the one about Conan buying you a car. That was one of the ones I’ll link to.

Sona (33:24):

Oh, yeah.  Oh, yeah.

Jeremy (33:34):

Uh, so a couple of my favorites in case people haven’t seen those.

Sona (33:37):


Jeremy (33:38):

Uh, but anyway, so to wrap it up. Uh, thank you so much for being on the show. I really, really appreciate it. I know you’ve got two little boys and, uh, boys, right? Twins?

Sona (33:38):

Two boys, yeah. Twin boys.

Jeremy (33:51):

Uh, and a dog and… all that fun stuff.

Sona (33:52):

… my dog.

Jeremy (33:53):

So what’s one thing that you would like to say to the assistants of the world?

Sona (33:58):

Uh, I think, uh, let’s never forget that assistants pretty much run the show. I think, uh, it’s a huge facade that the people that we assist are the ones in charge. But I think we all know that if assistants stopped functioning, everything would fall apart. So, uh, that’s what I wanna make sure everybody knows, I think. Not… I think. I shouldn’t have weakened it with “I think.”

Jeremy (34:16):


Sona (34:18):

Yeah, no, I mean, yes, that is, that is my, my truth. I believe that.

Jeremy (34:24):

Awesome. Well, thank you so much Sona. A great way to end the conversation, and best of luck to you and all your different adventures, uh, with Conan and otherwise.

Sona (34:35):

Thank you so much Jeremy. Thanks for having me. 

Sona is endlessly creative in her singular pursuit of her own comfort.

– Conan O’Brien

Sona Movsesian Author Headshot

Over her twelve years of assisting Conan O’Brien, Sona Movsesian has become a regular feature of all things Team Coco and a fan favorite. Now, Sona cohosts Conan’s podcast, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, and stars in an IGTV show hosted on @TeamCoco, “Sona Fixes Your Life.” Sona lives in LA with her husband and twin sons. She regularly forgets to put Conan’s appointments in his calendar.

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