Saturday, February 21, 2009

So Long, Consie...

There will be a void in my life now at 12:30 at night (11:30 on God's time). Last night Conan O'Brien signed off for the last time with his old friends, Jack and Meg White - the White Stripes, re-uniting for a very special appearance to play his favorite song, "We Are Gonna Be Friends". Late Night with Conan O'Brien is no more. Taking the reins from David Letterman after the Johnny Carson retirement/Letterman vs. Leno madness in 1993, Conan and his sidekick Andy Richter got off to a rough start and were nearly run off the air. SNL producer Lorne Michaels plucked Conan from anonymity to be the new host of the Late Show. Born and raised in my current town of Brookline, MA, O'Brien graduated from Brookline High School as Valedictorian and went on to Harvard where he was the Editor of the Harvard Lampoon. After a stint in the late 80's/early 90's as a writer on SNL, Conan left to become a writer for the Simpsons (he wrote the infamous Monorail episode). In the year after he left for the Simpsons, Lorne Michaels kept Conan's office untouched with his name on the door just in case he came back. When all the late night drama went down in 1993 at NBC, Michaels took one of the bigger leaps of faith in TV history screen testing and auditioning only one candidate for the new Late Show - Conan O'Brien.
Regardless of his slow start, Late Night began to gain steam with the 18-40 y.o. crowd and eventually snowballed into a hit by 1996 when the show was recognized by the Emmys for best writing. The blend of awkwardness and sophomoric humor struck a chord with teenagers and college students who were likely the few people awake at midnight. While so many moments of Late Night were so bad they were good, these cringe worthy moments have brought so much laughter and joy to me for 15 years. Characters like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, the masturbating bear, Preparation-H Raymond, and Frankenstein can only scratch the surface of madness that been sent out over the airways.

If you have never seen Triumph at the Star Wars premier - PLEASE watch!

Part II (I'm crying watching this)

The via satellite conversations with the overdubbed mouth were always classic with frequent guests like Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger leaving me in stitches (my favorite had to be John Rocker amid his homophobic public meltdown courtesy of an SI interview).
Late Night with Conan O'Brien - Bill Clinton (8/28/08)
Can you beat the Walker Texas Ranger lever? (and that was before all the stupid Chuck Norris craze) How can you forget In the Year 2000? Conan has always been an excellent interviewer of his guests. He actually appears to care. Nevertheless, he always turned to mush when it came to interviewing the ladies (see: Rebecca Romijn or Izabel Goulart see video). Hopefully, he can take all of this and find success on the west coast when he takes over the Tonight Show on June 1. His band, the Max Weinberg 7, and announcer, Joel Goddard, are coming along for the ride. I don't think Jimmy Fallon will fill my Late Night void, but I will support him nonetheless. Can't wait to see if Conan has to grow as his time slot moves up. I don't think so. So long or now old friend. We'll see you on the other side.


Leland said...

He will be missed, although he will arguably more accessible now. I kept fogetting that when I watched the final episode in sadness. He's not really going away!

I wish Andy would come back. They were a GREAT duo.