Back in college, when someone made a lame joke, my friends and I would say “you should write for Jay Leno.” We always thought of Conan O’Brien as the antithesis of Leno’s cute, unfunny, middle-of-the-road humor.
It’s too bad NBC didn’t give Conan’s new show much of a chance. It usually takes Tonight Show hosts a while to settle in – supposedly it did with Conan when he started in ‘93, as well as with Jay Leno. Sure, Conan’s new show was a bit awkward at times. He and Andy Richter never got comfortable enough in their positions to have the banter they should have had. But the show was still really good, much better than anything Leno ever did. Maybe Conan just doesn’t have Leno’s mass appeal, which might be a good thing.
In the statement he released today, Conan says he will not go along with NBC’s plans to have his Tonight Show start at 12:05 because it would “seriously damage” the “greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting.” That’s another tragic part of NBC’s planned switch. A show that has entertained America and contributed to its culture for 60 years will more or less disappear.
If he is forced out of the show, and it looks like he will be, I hope Conan finds something to do that is worthy of his talent and intelligence.
Some of my favorite moments from Conan O’Brien’s show, off the top of my head:
Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s visit to the premiere of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Triumph asks a pregnant woman in Star Wars regalia if it’s a girl or a boy. She says it’s a boy. Triumph asks when she’s due. She says in a few months or so. Triumph says, “that will be the last time he sees a woman’s vagina.”
Triumph the Insult Comic Dog chats with the members of Bon Jovi before their concert. He says to Jon Bon Jovi, “I heard you’re playing a vampire in a movie coming out soon.” Jon Bon Jovi confirms this. Triumph says, “finally, a role which requires for you to suck!”
Conan checks out a 19th-century style baseball game reenactment. He ends up wearing an old-style uniform and a handlebar mustache and almost gets into a fight with the “hurler” (a.k.a., pitcher). When a plane flies overhead, he freaks out, yelling “ho, what is that devilry?”
Conan tricks Andy Richter into walking on the set of the Today Show naked. Staged, of course.