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During last week’s Television Critics Association panel discussions, whatever any of that means, Loius C.K. offered up his thoughts on the NBC late night fiasco between Jay Leno and his old friend and former boss, Conan O’Brien. From TheFutonCritic:

I worked for Conan, I was on his first writing staff, so he’s a friend of mine and he’s always been a huge [supporter]. I love Conan and I think he’ll be fine. He’s really a hardworking guy and he’s a very creative, he’s a very funny person so I think he’ll be okay. I never saw it, ‘The Tonight Show,’ [the way he does].

When I was a kid that was Johnny Carson’s show and it was kind of what old people watched you know? People my age watched Letterman. And to me that was the thing: it was Letterman and ‘The Tonight Show.’ And when Letterman really wanted ‘The Tonight Show’ I didn’t understand it because he has his own show called ‘Letterman.’ And when they rejected him he went and got ‘Letterman’ again. He’s doing great.

Conan had ‘Conan.’ Nobody really called it ‘Late Night’ that’s how much he had made it his. That was ‘Conan.’ And I don’t know why he’d want to give that up to host ‘The Tonight Show,’ [which] is just this old, shitty thing. Let Jay have it. So I think it will all turn out [well]. It’s been a traumatic thing for them to all go through, I’ve felt for everybody, except for that guy Jed Jizz-Fucker whatever his name is. Zucker, sorry. He’s just a great villain. I don’t know, he’s probably a great guy… [he just] has that face [and does] all these crazy things.

The Tonight Show is just this old shitty thing! Jed Jizz-Fucker! There is more of this after the jump:

And Jay, Jay is a driven American guy. He’s a working class [guy]. He’s from Andover, Massachusetts which is close to where I grew up. He’s a Boston comic which is what I am. And he’s like, ‘It’s my show! I’m fucking holding onto that show!’ He’s not kidding around. So I don’t blame him either, he’s just holding on. And he won. It’s pretty impressive what he pulled off.

And Conan will be fine. He was born in Brookline, Mass. He’s two blocks from Kennedy’s compound, you know house… he’s a rich, Harvard educated, well yielded, milk and honey fed fellow. So he’ll be okay. And he’ll be the first one to tell you that he’s okay. He gave me my first job. To me that’s a sacred thing.

Conan went out and took a shot with me before I could prove I could do anything. And he’s always let me on the show to promote and I love the guy and I think he’ll end up somewhere else. And he’ll go back to doing ‘Conan.’ It’s hurting him inside because he wants to be the host of ‘The Tonight Show.’ And it’s a little presumptuous of me to tell Conan that his dreams are misguided… but they are.”

Louis C.K. you guys. Basically always the best. The Videogum “Louis C.K. Promise” will be there for you, day or night, but mostly pretty much exclusively day, to bring you these breaking and important Louis C.K. updates.

Comments (49)
  1. LOUIS CK FOR MA SENATE!! i’m topical!

  2. Why is it impressive what jay pulled off? What jay pulled off is saying he’s retiring and giving his show to conan, then not retiring and getting a show before conan, then taking back conan’s show. That’s not impressive, that’s dishonest plus not a hardworking pulled up by his bootstraps achievement but a result of incredibly bad NBC executive decision making.

    This is the worst, diffuse, no real point, cowardly neutral PLUS a dick to everyone involved response to the tonight show situation, and the worst louis c.k. statement/thing louis c.k. says ever.

    • It’s impressive I think because he ended up giving Conan TTS, watching it fail, now taking TTS back from Conan and guaranteeing he is back in that spot for pretty much as long as he wants. I have to think he would have been out soon either way (…because he’s old). He just extended his shelf life a ton.

      • Yeah, except The Tonight Show with Conan isn’t what failed. The whole reason this started was the fact that affiliates didn’t want the Jay Leno Show ruining the ratings for their news,remember?

        • They made Conan look like a failure, I guess is what I meant. Conan never had ratings approaching Jay’s (well, until last week) and it was insane of them to think he’d be even close to Letterman for a while.

      • How did he extend his shelf life? Conan replaced him because of being stale, then he got another show that was stale, and then to freshen up his new stale show they moved it to it’s old air time hoping it would magically unstale itself, even though in it’s previous incarnation in that air time it was stale. That’s not a result of a scheming mastermind, that’s the luck of a dumb schmuck, who’s new show will continue on a downward spiral and meet an idignant end, instead of a dignified one he could have chosen by quitting when he said he would.

        • He extended his shelf life by getting Conan out of NBC. Now, who do they have to replace Jay? Jimmy Fallon? Carson Daly? Someone that does a guest host spot when Jay isn’t available? NBC has no one in place to take over for Jay anymore … so he’s bought himself a lot of time until they do. With Conan, Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel all having shows in basically the same time slot (assuming Conan goes to Fox), they won’t be able to get them to replace Jay … so they would need to go with someone new, or one of the later night hosts. Ferguson is hilarious, but he has the Conan schtick of “I’m the late late night guy … no one cares what I do so I can do what I want” which wouldn’t translate an hour earlier, especially not on the sacred Tonigh Show (apparently). So, outside of Seinfeld or someone like him, no one would really be able to pull the same ratings as Jay … Conan probably would have given time, but now that he’s no longer there, Jay doesn’t really have anyone to worry about. Replacing him that is. He’ll have plenty to worry about in terms of beating him in the ratings.

          • That’s a matter of opinion. You think he extended his shelf life, i think he gave himself more time to go even staler and stinkier, where he’ll repulse more NBC viewers who’ll switch to competing shows. And that is an example of poor decisionmaking of NBC executives and not a credit to leno’s impressive foresight.

          • 6 of one, half dozen of another. Either way, he no longer has a competition for host of the Tonight Show. Doesn’t mean he won’t be boring and stale … but now NBC doesn’t have a back up plan for when his ratings finally start dropping too low for comfort, which means he’ll be a lesser of two crap piles compared to an unproven talent.

  3. When will Louis C.K. comment on the ongoing “Do ginger’s have souls” debate that is literally tearing this country apart?

  4. I love Louis and he makes a good point. I have been so excited for Conan to get The Tonight Show that I never even considered that it’s an old, shitty thing (really, that Leno destroyed). I can’t wait for him to get a show back where he can do what he wants.

  5. He’s always right about everything. I hadn’t even realized how much I missed the “real” Conan until I found some old taped shows on my DVR, they were far better. This “Tonight Show” just didn’t feel right, not because I love the Tonight Show, but because I love Conan. The big, echo-y set, the being in LA, the old people who miss Leno’s pseudo-edgy Brokeback Mountain jokes, it’ll be better for all of us if Conan goes back to being “Conan.”

    • I really like the set a lot, and I’m not sure what being in LA had to do with anything, but otherwise I agree with you.

      • The thing about being in L.A. is it gives you access to lazy Hollywood types who won’t go to NY to do a show. Having said that, to me one of the greatest appeals of Conan NYC-style was that you got cooler guests (i.e. people who LIVED in NYC) and the city became very much a part of the show, from the opening montage on.

        • Um, what? Hollywood stars are scarily driven people and have no problem traveling to promote the shit out of themselves. Do you think Hollywood-based actors say no to Letterman because they don’t want to fly to New York? That never happens. They go where they’re told to go to promote their movies and TV shows. Sorry if this doesn’t conform to your weird preconceptions about L.A., but facts is facts.

        • what the fuck are you babbling about? i live in NYC and I still think you sound like an idiot.

          • Relax, techojeremy. I was just making the point that conventional wisdom was that you got better guests in LA than NY. Ever see what happened when a guest canceled on Conan in NY? You got Al Roker. I rest my case.

          • “…one of the greatest appeals of Conan NYC-style was that you got cooler guests (i.e. people who LIVED in NYC)”
            So you’re saying that Al Roker is a cool guest despite conventional wisdom?

          • One of the greatest Tricks RobinRubbermaid ever pulled was, What? Now I’m confused.

      • Obv being in LA makes Conan gassy!

      • I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but there’s something I like better about the NYC based shows. It’s ok if you disagree with me, it’s simply personal preference. I felt like when he went to LA the “glam” was emphasized more than the comedy. I used to see Conan bits all over the place (they went ‘viral,’ which is a term i despise, but it fits), but since the move I’ve only seen him hit his head, and most recently, Triumph’s outstanding bit at the dog parlor. As for the set, it was just weird to see how big and empty it is. It’s a minor complaint I admit. I just miss the old Conan.

  6. Now that I think about it, making Leno at 10 (or whatever it was called) shitty enough to guarantee Conan would have no lead in, but just not-so-shitty that he didn’t get canceled first was a pretty tough task. Clever girl…

  7. This had less to do with Louis C.K. and more to do with the BLECH of last week. Not complainin, just sayin, I was waiting for good old CK Humor.

    • yeah. i mean, isn’t this basically what everyone was thinking in the first place? new york is just a better fit for conan, and for letterman for that matter, and that’s that. and los angeles is a better fit for phonies like jay leno.

      • Woody Allen, is that you? Yeah, thank god NY is phony-free. Can’t wait ’til Conan can move back to Real America.

  8. I’m pretty sure he means that its impressive in a fairly sarcastic way. Leno is still an incredible shit head but what he pulled off was impressive. He knew he was going to get pushed out of his awful show then somehow got another show which is even worse then he managed to wedge himself into the small cracks in Conan’s reign over the Tonight Show and blow it apart to regain his position. Even if this situation is 95% the fault of jizz-fucking NBC execs, Leno still was able to postion himself to win. I mean really, good for him, in his own slimy way. Nice guys never win in business, it unfortunate but like Louis said, Conan will be fine.

    • That all sounds like pure chance and idiocy of NBC execs to me. He knew he was going to get pushed out of his terrible show because he sucks, but he also knew he would get another even worse show because he sucks? That guy is mr. logic! And you are mr. professor of logic studies for being able to follow that.

      • I think you’re giving yourself too much credit as a professor in the field of Conan=good Leno=bad. Everyone else here agrees that Jay Leno and NBC can go fuck themselves. But to wail on about how poor little Conan got screwed and Jay Leno is an imbecile is a bit naive. If NBC didn’t want Leno or Leno had no influence over the network or the network had any confidence in Conan to begin with, the 10 o’clock Leno show would have never existed. NBC dumped Conan way too soon and its retarded but why can you blame NBC for wanting at least SOME catatonic grandmas to watch Leno as opposed to NO catatonic grandmas watching Conan? And the fact that Leno was STILL around to get his old job back despite failing at his new show even more is not dumb luck or coincidence. Its Jay Leno being a pompous jerk who wouldn’t give up in the face of mediocrity and awfulness and NBC wanting to keep a safe bet around. That’s bid-ness. The fucking snake in the grass is going to make it more often than the nice guy putting himself out there and taking a chance. The bottom line is that there are a hell of a lot more fat asses out there in middle America that prefer Jay to Conan and if Jay can bring back some of that audience, NBC will have done the right thing for THEM not a bunch of people reading a blog about internet videos. In the end, I hope NBC and Jay Leno go down in flames and I hope (actually, I know) Conan will move on and become an even greater success than he would have been hosting a piece of shit show that no one watches because they know how to work Hulu.

        • I never said leno isn’t a pompous jerk, i’m saying he doesn’t have brilliant, scheming foresight as you have been implying. When leno was leaving and giving his show to conan he didn’t know NBC would grant him another show. And he couldn’t have known that NBC, after having the determination and confidence to give conan TTS would give up on him so easily after only several months, without calculating in that the reason for conan’s decreasing ratings is that it’s lead-in is jay leno’s horrible, ratings failing show.

          Sure, jay leno took advantage of horrible NBC exec decisions, but taking advantage of idiots doesn’t make you brilliant or impressive.

          Also, the existence of leno’s show doesn’t have to do with NBC’s lack of confidence in conan. If they didn’t think he could do it, why shuffle the shows at all? What it has to do is their miserable misguided attempts to milk the late night format for all it’s got. “Hey, let’s have leno before conan to milk the super tame audiences, and then maybe even people who are waiting for conan will tune in as well!”. Except it didn’t work out like that.

          • I totally agree that this is all born from NBC trying to milk the late night formula. All I’m saying about Jay is that I agree with Louis CK’s assessment that is is “impressive the way in which Jay has maneuvered here. I also do not believe he somehow predicted how things would shake out or that he masterminded or drove this entire process. But what he DID do was put himself in a situation that benefited himself and in the end, he wins. That’s impressive. I love Conan and I respect him as a writer and a comedian but I don’t feel all that bad for him. After all, we’re talking about men who have tens of millions of dollars to wipe their tears/upholster their antique cars with. Conan will come out ahead in the end, he has become something of a martyr to our generation (Our generation is sad. Everyone read a book!) and he will be idolized and respected for years and years to come while Jay waits for his audience to succumb to natural selection and old age. To sum up and never touch this topic again: who the fuck cares? We can all find something better to do with our time then to be mad about NBC. It’s been tough since the Late Night shakeup has been blowing up the news but I heard there’s a war or something and I think some building may have fell over in Haiti.

  9. maybe Louis is right and this will turn out to be something super for Conan. I know I preferred his insane sketches/artistic freedom more than the talking on the couch shenanigans he’s up to these days. Who wouldn’t want to see the CN tower race the Empire State Building again? ALSO maybe he’ll come back to NY and I’ll finally be able to see him live.

  10. The word “Jizz” came so much later in that quote than I expected.

  11. i think also – and i’ve said this before – people need to remember how much fucking money Conan is making off of this. if somebody offered me $40 million to stop doing my job and told me it was ok to go do my job somewhere else, i would be more than ok with it.

    • But your job is crashing through my monitor to tell me I should keep up the good work.
      I don’t think it’s comparable. Devil’s Advocate!

    • It’s stupid to even talk about money with these two… They’ve both got F-You money for their great great grandkids. To me what it’s about is NBC completely blowing up both their prime time and late night lineups because they couldn’t say no to Leno (hence the 10:00) then not giving Conan the courtesy they gave to Leno before him to get his feet under him over a period of time. (Leno repeatedly lost to Nightline in his first months.) NBC just can’t quit Leno (BBM jokes, super-timely) and they’ll pay for it eventually, because Leno’s losing viewers every day (Summer of Death continues for Lenoheads! Cuz they’re OLD!) and Conan will go elsewhere and we will watch him until we’re as old as Gabe.

    • There is also the 100+ (probably) workers that moved to LA for the Tonight Show. It might take Conan two years to get another job started. Where do the workers go?

      • yeah – and it sucks for them. i’m not defending that at all. that being siad, those workers will get some sort of severance package and there are tons of other jobs in LA – its not like they uprouted and moved to Nebraska.

  12. Louis has a point, Conan is Conan no matter what they call the show and what time or channel its on. I still think Conan is getting fucked over with this whole fiasco, the whole thing is ridiculous

  13. Didn’t we just deride Jerry Seinfeld for weighing in on Conan v. Leno last week? Why all the vitriol for Jerry, but Louis gets a pass? Because he worked for Conan in 1576? What sort of yellow journalism is this?

  14. Over the weekend I heard a little bit of Rosie O’Donnell’s Sirus radio show and she was saying some insightful things about Leno. She said he got married really young and never had kids so he hangs on to the show because it’s all he’s got. She also said he’s got a weird obsession with making everybody like him.

  15. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for Sexman to break his legendary silence on this scandal.

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