When he started as the sidekick on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 1993, Andy Richter was dead set against becoming the next Ed McMahon. "I never thought this was going to be a job I did for the rest of my life," says Richter, 33. "You weren't going to be seeing my head on any sweepstakes envelopes."
True to his word, Richter will exit Late Night on May 26 to return to his comedic acting roots. "I want to be someone else for a while," he says. "I'm tired of being me." He'll play Richard Gere's hunting buddy in the upcoming big-screen comedy Dr. T and the Women.
With his other buddy, Conan, Richter helped create such memorable Late Night bits as "In the Year 2000" predictions (flashlights under their chins) and the Richter-O'Brien staring contests that Andy always loses. But as Conan loses his No. 2 (with no plans to replace him), Richter says, "I still have moments where I think, what the hell am I doing•" For now, though, he says, "I'm just thinking about sitting on a beach for 10 days"—he and actress wife Sarah Thyre, 31, are planning a Caribbean vacation—"and then I'll worry about my new, fascinating career."