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Conan O’Brien a ‘Softie’ As a Dad, Says Wife

03/19/2011 at 05:00 PM ET
Eric Charbonneau/WireImage

For Conan O’Brien and wife Liza Powel, the ‘good cop, bad cop’ approach isn’t always applied when parenting children Beckett, 5, and Neve, 7½.

“I think Conan is itching to play bad cop,” Powel tells PEOPLE with a laugh. “Dads have that need to flex the authoritarian muscle, but Conan is such a softie. He adores them, so if I ever kind of turn him loose on them, it doesn’t go very far!”

Her husband, Powel continues, “really just wants to snuggle and make up with them immediately. And they’re good – they’re young still, so they haven’t really earned bad cop treatment yet. But when they’re teenagers, it will be interesting to see if Conan can wing it!”

The couple were in Austin on March 13 for the South By Southwest Film Festival, which included the world premiere of Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, a documentary filmed during the talk show host’s 32-city tour after he had left NBC but hadn’t yet started at TBS.

Have the children inherited their father’s funnyman traits? “Well, the goofy gene has definitely shown up,” admits Powel.

“They’re both super-clowny, and have a good appreciation for humor. We noticed early on that they seem to understand that things are funny [when delivered] in threes — that there’s a setup, a setup, and then you land something. So they have good senses of humors, but seeing if someone can be funny takes a while to develop.”

– Anne Lang

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PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 7 comments

Li on

Adorable. I’ll bet he’s a great daddy!

Mette on

They’re so beautiful together!

CelebBabyLover on

Is Neve a boy or a girl (I seem to remember seeing him with a boy and a girl before, so I’m guessing girl)?

ELO on

Neve is a girl.

Anonymous on

Gotta love Conan:)

Mia on

His wife must be very tall-Conan is like 6’4 or 6’5. Their kids look like a great combination for both parents-but I think favor him a lot. He seems like he would be a really fun dad!

soph on

Liza is so pretty!

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