Late night talk shows, at least historically, are built for longevity, and so writing a review of the first episode of a decades-long institution (hypothetically speaking) is kind of beside the point. It would be like writing a review of a BLOG based on its first post. Not that anyone should ever write a review of a blog based on anything. Who cares. But you know what I mean. Actually, to carry the comparison a little further, late night talk shows are probably the most blog-like shows on television: they’re a specifically cumulative product. The amount of work it takes to write a daily television program (and to a lesser extent, a daily website) is so exhausting that even the casual viewer inherently recognizes that some days will be a hit and some days will be a miss. It is the way in which the show spans time, creates its own history and mythology, momentarily inserts itself into the larger culture from time to time before retreating once more, builds up and then discards characters, and freezes moments from one week to the next like a perpetually self-burying time capsule that makes a late night talk show what it is intended to be.

On the other hand, one can safely assume that the first episode(s) of a new late night talk show is going to work very hard to hit the ground running. It won’t be the best we’re ever going to see, but it won’t be the worst either. On top of that, Conan isn’t exactly new to the late night field. NOT EXACTLY. Almost? No, not even almost. He has been doing this for 200 years, and his return to form is a highly anticipated media event. So? So:

It was pretty good! It was a late night talk show! Very much so. It was almost aggressive how much of a late night talk show it was. There’s the desk and the moonlit backdrop and the monologue curtain and the cutaways to the shadowy audience and the bandstand and everything. Not that anyone expected, or at least should have expected, anything different. FULL DISCLOSURE FOR JOURNALISM: I know a couple of people who work on this show, and one of them was telling me that people would constantly press the writers on how they were going to change everything up, and this same friend explained how much work it was to explain that you can’t just change everything, and that there are certain reasons why forms persist. This is true! One need only look to the first week of The Jay Leno Show in which he discarded the desk in favor of conducting interview chairo-e-chairo as if that would somehow make young people give a fuuuuuuuuuck about Jerry Seinfeld’s stories about how his wife definitely did plagiarize her cookbook. “Young people HATE desks,” one can imagine someone saying in that planning meeting.

A late night talk show, in the end, is a late night talk show. Mess with the format too much and it will become something else, which could be good or bad, it just wouldn’t be a late night talk show. Which is what this is.

The problem, of course, is that it is a late night talk show in 2010. I have a suspicion that the great Conan O’Brien versus Jay Leon Late Night War will come to be seen as the end of late night television. It’s last great gasp. And I don’t mean the end because they somehow ruined it. What happened on NBC last winter was a new event in the history of The Tonight Show, but it was certainly nothing new entertainment-wise, and hundreds of careers have been made and lost and/or just simply withstood similar upheavals with far less fanfare. It will mark the end of late night television because late night television is an antiquated format in a particularly hostile media environment for things that seem even remotely antiquated. It will be impossible for any late night television show or host to ever create as much interest as that “scandal” created. It peaked. And after things peak, they go downhill.

There is a counter-argument* to this, of course. In thinking about last night’s episode of Conan, I revisited the discussion of the debut episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. We have the benefit of hindsight now to know that Jimmy Fallon is doing a really nice job over there (although I still have a hard time watching his celebrity interviews, but also I am 55 years old, what do I care about a celebrity interview conducted by ANYONE?) but it’s interesting to go back and look at that first episode and see how many elements were already in place. Admittedly, just having the Roots as his house band has basically made that show what it is, but so what? Good! That was a really smart decision! More people working in mass entertainment should make smart decisions! But again, going back to that first episode: they had Slow Jamming the News and a short film by AD Miles and a weird sketch with Robert DeNiro that was admittedly hit or miss but was definitely a strong opening gambit. But most importantly: in that very first episode, they had an audience participation game. It wasn’t mind-blowing, or even that funny, but it did hint at the way in which that show would engage with its viewers, especially through the Internet, in a way that was very smart and very successful. The walls between professional entertainment and amateur consumers are not actually coming down. They are still very much there. But people like to FEEL like those walls are coming down, and Jimmy Fallon (et staff) has mastered that illusion in a way that actually DOES keep their show, despite it being a late night talk show, relevant and “new.”

Conan: not so much.

The extent to which the real-but-illusory-but-real-but-illusory wall is not coming down on the new show was made evident in a bit where the audience was supposedly invited to vote on-line for who Conan’s first guest would be, only to have it turn out to be a pre-written comedy bit prepared in a windowless writing room filled with discarded Red Bull cans. It was funny enough, that’s not the issue. But as Conan himself acknowledged in the set-up, he was making fun of the very nerds who had “saved his ass” earlier this year. This, of course, is also not true. Conan O’Brien is a HUGELY BANKABLE talent who was always going to get another job before he even made a dent in his multi-million dollar checking account. But there certainly was a groundswell of primarily-nerd-based support during his public humiliation. They’re not going to abandon Conan just because he does a very solid nerd impression (it’s really very good, he definitely has the nerds dead to rights), they’re going to abandon Conan because at the end of the day there’s a new World of Warcraft expansion pack to unlock, and because nerds have gotten used to their role as People to Be Pandered to By Hollywood for Some Reason and love to exercise their Complain and Shun Rights.

This is not to suggest that Conan needs to cater to nerds. The nerds need a reality check anyways. Relax, nerds. The revolution will not be on Reddit. It is just to point out that while late night forms are late night forms and a late night show, as mentioned, is a late night show, he is at the beginning of a new venture, with a certain populist-breeze at his back, and he should take full advantage. JACK IN, DUDE! You know Kung Fu! The Matrix is literally BEGGING Conan to slow bullets with his hands. In the interim between the Tonight Show and Conan, he made full use of Twitter and YouTube because the Internet was his only medium of communication with his audience, but just because he’s back on TV now doesn’t mean he should give that medium up**. It felt a little last night like he was excited to shake himself free from the dregs of the WEB, but that would be a mistake.

Other thoughts about last night’s episode:

The opening segment was good. It was funny and it addressed the whole FIRED thing, which needed to be addressed. So I was a little disappointed that Conan then spent the entire monologue dinging pot shots off the starboard bow of the S.S. NBC (and it was honestly just retarded when the audience loudly booed the network’s name at some later point, like some kind of Flash Mob of Impotence). Obviously, Conan has to get that stuff out of his system, I just hope he actually GETS IT OUT OF HIS SYSTEM FINALLY. (Wasn’t that what the whole tour was for?) You’ve got a show now, dude. Enough. (Not that I like REGULAR monologue joke segments either? It’s all a bit sticky.)

I like the set! The backdrop looks nice with its moon and ocean! Of course, it all feels very familiar, because it is, and I can imagine that for the people desperate to see Conan back on the air there’s a certain sense of anti-climax. “Oh, right, a late night talk show. You know, I do have to get up pretty early tomorrow for…something.” You do have to worry a little bit (but only a little, we’re still talking about TELEVISION) that if the best that Conan can hope for is to regain the spirited independence and creative freedom that he had at Late Night, but with less budget and a shrinking basic cable-combined-with-streaming-ughloads audience, then he might be slipping backwards through the sands of time. Quick! Jump over those punji sticks and jam the dagger into the magic crystal!

There was a Jon Hamm cameo:

And a Ricky Gervais cameo:

The Masturbating Bear made an appearance.

You can watch Conan play guitar with Jack White here. He sat down for an interview after the song and was almost TOO comfortable? Just kidding? Just kidding.

Seth Rogen has Benjamin Button disease but for fat.

And I don’t even know who this is but she seems VERY cool and not annoying at all.

It was, in a word, a show.

My favorite part of the night was when Andy Richter was invited to sit on the couch next to Conan before the guests came out. It was just like old(est) times. As with most late night talk show consumers, I hit my peak in my freshman and sophomore years of college. This is when I had both the free time, the general interest, and the after hours schedule to make watching a late night television show an attractive activity. I watched Conan most nights back then. Often times, because even at the age of 20, I did not have much use for celebrity interviews (although I still remember Conan’s conversation with Steve Zahn about sitting on a porch to be one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen) I would just watch the two opening segments with Conan and Andy chatting on the couch. They were great together, and I hope they can reclaim some of that previous magic. Not necessarily for me. I will almost certainly be asleep or at the doctor’s office asking for medicines. But there are always 20 year olds out there who need something to do in the middle of the night. They could choose worse than to watch two wonderful comedians make comedy together. And then when Snooki comes on to talk about her new self-help book, look around. There’s probably a re-run of Family Guy on somewhere, right?

Anyway.

WELCOME BACK, CONAN O’BRIEN! BEST OF LUCK TO YOU!

*The counter-argument can actually be carried even further along these lines, which is to say that for as much as late night talk shows are an antiquated medium, they are also, besides maybe sketch comedy shows, which practically do not exist anyway, the television format BEST suited to remaining relevant in an Internet age. They are segmented into easily digestible fragments, they feature celebrities and musical guests, and they often incorporate at least a few laffs per minute. If done right, they can basically be an hour long stitching together of so many viral videos. So, there’s that.
**It should be pointed out that I am not suggesting Conan interact regularly with the Internet because I myself work on the Internet. It is well documented that I hope this whole thing gets shut down, burned to a crisp, and buried in an old aircraft carrier at the bottom of Whoops Ocean to become a coral reef. I’m suggesting that he interact regularly with the Internet because it’s called being realistic about the way things work now.
Comments (99)
  1. Watching Conan always takes me back to staying up late in a dorm in 1996, and by God I enjoyed staying up late in a dorm in 1996.

    I’m an old man now (though still many years Gabe’s junior) and won’t watch Conan every night or anything, but I’m very happy to have him back on the teevee in the year 2010.

    • I was six! I’m so embarrassed that I read a blog by and for grandads! #myinternetlifeissimilartobella’sfromtwilight.

        • Get off of my lawn and back to school! Or did you post this from school? Shit – do schools have computers now? I was kidding about being old before, but it doesn’t seem so funny now.

          • When I took computer programing my senior year of high school, we learned how to use BASIC.

            My freshman year of college, a friend showed me how to get guitar chords off of FTP. Pausing them as they flew by was the hard part. The dot matrix printer was noisy.

            My sophomore year of college, a friend said to me, “Have you heard about the internet?” The next year, we got email addresses. I used it to subscribe to the sebadoh-l listserv.

            When I would try and find things on the internet, I would go to Yahoo and browse the list of websites by category. After a few days, I’d looked at them all.

          • Not so old! I was 14 and totally impressed by the sophomore girls who chose to “stay up late” to watch Conan, while I still had a 10 o’clock bedtime. Young ladies need sleep!

          • “Have you heard of the internet?” is officially the funniest thing ever and I will be using it in conversation from now on.

          • Ha, when I got that phone call from my friend — “Have you heard of the Internet?” — she explained how it worked this way: “The school’s giving everyone something called email! I can go to the Computer Center and type you a message and then at any time of day, you can go to the Center and log in and read what I wrote! And write back!”

            And I said, “That is the stupidest waste of time I ever heard of. Just call me on the phone [which is attached to a wall]. Now let’s go drink beer.”

            #nostradamusgum

        • I was 5!
          Fun fact: Wen I was 12 I would stay up late to watch Conan

  2. To be Team Coco one must be Team Cable. For I am not the latter, I could not be the former.

  3. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy leaked.
    Gabe just wrote the LONGEST review of Conan.

    Best day ever.

  4. Is anyone else surprised that Conan stuck with the ‘ex talk show host’ beard-o look? Not to see that he looks terrible, but he was looking a little ginger hobo/Harry Knowles out there. That being said, he affirmed my existence as a consumer and human being last night, so stop bothering me about stupid things like beards! Geez….

  5. It was… a bit of a letdown, honestly. I say that as a huge fan. I don’t want to live in a world where Jimmy Fallon is doing a better job of hosting a late night talk show than Conan O’Brien. So he had best get to steppin’.

    I think my favourite part was in the opening pre-taped bit where his wife’s like “Get a job! We have 14 children!” And beaten down Conan just did the whiney back-talk “Get a job! We have 14 children!” thing in response.

    Also, I was willing to give it a chance, but please shave your face, Conan.

    • no, keep the beard. does anyone else on tv (not playing a character) have a beard? anyone?

    • The beard stays! You go!

    • I wasn’t disappointed. I remember watching the first episode of The Tonight Show that Conan hosted and I felt like I was holding my breath the whole time, fearful that the audience wouldn’t laugh and wouldn’t understand what he was doing. Last night felt pretty much like every episode of Late Night, which was rather nice after so many Tonight Show eggshells. But to Tanis & Gabe’s points (I think), “Conan” was almost surprisingly familiar. I thought perhaps the new format would be different, but alas the tried-and-true template remains. And we all could care less about celeb interviews, so why does it continue? Conan doesn’t even enjoy them, I suspect. In fact, the only hosts in recent memory who are actually good at interviews are Ferguson, Kilborn, and Kimmel. Anyways, the celeb interviews just bring the show to a screetching halt, and I wish they’d find a new way.

      Someone tell me, is the Jimmy Fallon thing really working? I don’t bother with it. I watched a few episodes early on and they were brutal and I haven’t gone back. Gabe is maybe sympathetic because he knows people who work on the show? I don’t know anyone who watches it, so I’m just wondering if others agree that it’s getting better. Also, I’m much more skeptical than Gabe about The Fallon Show being this innovative, forward-thinking, illusory-walls-coming-down program. Again, I just don’t know anyone who’s always saying, “Hey, check out this hot Fallon twitter with a tiny url to a sweet YouTube of the Roots doing stuff last night.” ???

      • Ferguson is a great interviewer. Maybe because he seems genuinely interested in the conversation and lets it go where it will go instead of being all “here are the pre-set questions I’m asking.” I really like him and I love his monologues. He’s just like “Fuck it. I do what I want! And I do it in a Scottish accent!” so it turns out great no matter what.

        I think Conan’s worst enemy here is himself. I’m not judging him against anybody else, really, just him at his best. And like I said downthread, the first episode of Conan was one that, had it appeard in the middle of Late Night’s best run, I would’ve been like “That was kind of a dud.” But I still tune in because he’s on more than he’s off and who knows when you’re going to get a Walker Texas Ranger lever moment like the one with Haley Joel Osment?

        Conan had so many brilliant accidents on Late Night. The Finland president thing, horny manatee, Norm MacDonald basically telling Courtney Thorne Smith that she sucked to her face. I loved it when he’d get sort of sub-par guests to do crazy things just because he had great chemistry with them and played the spastic kid to their straight men, not because he was letting them plug whatever and asking wrote, stupid questions. His stuff with Martha Stewart, for example, was just amazing. I kind of think he has a chance to go back and recapture some of that stuff I felt got a little lost on The Tonight Show.

        As for Fallon… well, he’s Fallon. It’s tough to make up for a total lack of charisma and an inability to make it through a sketch without laughing, but he knows his audience (College dudes, I guess) and The Roots are seriously amazeballs. Why can’t ?uestlove just host the show?

        • I wanted to counterpoint you because that felt natural, but I have to agree on the interviews. Conan has a tendency to showboat in interviews, rather than, you know, have a conversation. There was at least one moment where it was awkward watching Lea Michele trying to get a word in after he’d asked her a question. I get that the celeb thing is apparently a draw, but rather than the usual canned Q&A and the “I saw the movie last night and you are outstanding”s, I’d like to see more of the stuff like taking Slash to look at guitars for sale on Craigslist.

          • WHAT!? We always agree and get along! I never say the opposite of what you say just to say it! YOU’RE WRONG!

            Just kidding. You are right and I agree! Like last night. More stuff like “Let’s go visit standards and practices and make him react to things like ‘Taking Grandma to Applebees.’”

            I’m going to put the first show interviews in a box and ignore them. He seemed really nervous for some reason? But you’re right about how she couldn’t get a word in edgewise because he was trying (and failing) to crack a joke.

  6. The show really doesn’t need to go much farther than this:

    I’ll be satisfied.

  7. I have infinite love for my tall ginger brethren.

  8. “although I still have a hard time watching his celebrity interviews, but also I am 55 years old, what do I care about a celebrity interview conducted by ANYONE?”

    “As with most late night talk show consumers, I hit my peak in my freshman and sophomore years of college. This is when I had both the free time, the general interest, and the after hours schedule to make watching a late night television show an attractive activity. I watched Conan most nights back then.”

    THE NUMBERS DON’T ADD UP. YOU SIR ARE A FRAUD. #scandal

  9. “…the great Conan O’Brien versus Jay Leon Late Night War…”

    Is Jay Leon a mash-up between Jay Leno and Kings of Leon? Because that would be the worst mash-up. (Other than famine and AIDS mash-up, of course)

  10. I love TBS’s new-show strategy:
    1. Hours upon hours of Family Guy reruns, leading directly into…
    2. Whatever they’re hawking, leading their captive/baked audience to exclaim…
    3. “Shit! Where’d Family Guy go?!”

    Do they pick up many people like this? I guess every little bit helps.

  11. Graham Norton is the best late-night host on TV (sadly only on the BBC), and it’s because he is not wedded to the tired US format. He doesn’t have a studio band, he gives a 90 second monologue, immediately brings out his guests to sit together on a couch an interact, he sits in a chair next to them, and interacts with the audience constantly. Compared to this, US talk shows are boring and stale.

    • That is how British Television has been for 50 years. It’s inherently British. Americans do it differently. And I think most English people would love to sit down with you and tell you how fucking boring and stale their television has been for the last 50 years.

  12. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • So what, in theory, were you expecting?

      • See: Graham Norton Show or even Jonathan Ross, on BBC.

      • For starters, I was expecting something funny. However, his monologue was dead on arrival. Masturbating bear is back? Oh, hooray. It all felt lazy and conventional. I switched back after The Daily Show just in time to catch an extremely uncomfortable interview with the slutty Barbara Streisand from Glee. You would think that after 200 years of hosting a talk show, Conan would finally learn how to actually talk to his guests.

    • I think we need to keep in mind what Gabe said early on in the post, that we can’t judge this show by it’s first episode. To dismiss the show outright would be a great disservice to Conan and “Conan.” Give it a minute to settle in.

      • How many months did he have to prepare for this night? It reminds me of SNL — they have most of the Spring, all of the Summer and part of the Fall off and they come back with…What’s Up With That, Gilly, Maternity Matters, Governor Patterson, Bronx Beat, Secret Word, etc. L.A.Z.Y.

        • Viva Conando!

        • Sounds to me like late night comedy just isn’t your thing. It’s not mine either, but I just don’t watch it. Maybe you should just stick to the things you like.

          • I just said what literally translates to “Life to Conan.” Why do you think late night comedy isn’t my thing?

          • No, I love late night comedy. Especially when it contains actually comedy. Being twice as old as Gabe, I grew up watching Carson. Solid stuff when I was a kid but by the time I was a teenager it just felt meh. Then, I had my late night comedy world rocked when Letterman started Late Night. Conan, at first, kept up the tradition of shaking things up but now he seems like he just wants to be loved. Obviously this is working for the majority of the gummers but it all feels pretty generic and sad to me.

          • O, you were talking to krup, it all makes sense now.

  13. I am happy to continue watching for a few months to let him find his TV legs (if he finds his TV legs, I’ll be watching for alot longer). It was really obvious ol Coco was just so fucking giddy to be on the TV he almost didnt know what to do with himself (a la the opening monologue. Jeez, settle down there Conan). Gradually that energy will start to get creatively used again. The problem with having a “first show” after a year off or whatever is that so much shit has happened that you, as a host, are going to be off the pace (news-ish speaking) for a week or two at least. Guests wont really matter for a bit and until then, half the show is fairly irrelevant. Just sayin.

    I’m actually fairly glad he kept all the trappings of a late-night show. I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t. I felt very comfortable.

    I’m now going to take a swim in Whoops Ocean.

    • I suppose I should give him more of a chance to get back to it.

      Maybe it didn’t help that Seth Rogen is one of the worst talk-show guests ever and he was Conan’s first guest back?

      It felt kind of like… a middling episode of late night. One that I’d be slightly disappointed with. Tom Hanks/Jon Hamm/Jack McBrayer/Paul Rudd on in the next little bit would make up for that.

  14. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Can the phrase “old-timey” just shrivel up and die already?
      Also Conan is on Jack White’s label for some reason, so I don’t think this is going to be a normal thing just because it happened once.

    • LAY OFF CONAN’S 59 SILVERBURST LP Dude shreds and has the voice of an angel, got it? I’m tired of everyone on here complaining Conan didn’t shake it up enough last night, I love John Stewart as much as the next man but in a perfect world he would be anchor of the Nightly News and Conan would be playing hip shaking ditties with Jack White all night long.

  15. I need to get this out of my system: I only watched late night my junior and senior years of high school and I exclusively watched….wait for it….Craig Kilborn.

    I am so sorry.

    • It’s ok. I really liked when Kilborn hosted the Daily Show in my younger years. His downright mean interview of Brendan Frasier (at the time of “George of the Jungle”) is still legendary in my mind, although I cannot find it online…

    • I am the same: the only time I ever watched late night television was in high school, and then it was only to watch the Dennis Miller show.

  16. According to a book called The War For Late Night, they took away the desk at the 10pm Leno show because keeping it was seen as being too directly competitive with Conan. 10pm Leno was supposed to be a variety show, rather than a Talk Show. But then they had guests anyway. Just no desk.

    The War For Late Night also says that when Conan was on the Tonight Show, he kept getting notes that he should interact with the audience more, and he kept ignoring those notes. But not last night! He kept diving right into that audience. Hugging, and whatnot. So I guess ultimately he decided that was a note worth paying attention to. But when Conan took over the Tonight Show, with its traditionally very topical-joke driven monologue, NBC execs were concerned because standup was never his thing. And last night? One meta-topical-joke, and nothing else. And of course, the Tonight Show bosses hated Andy, so last night — Andy! On the couch.

    Is it inside baseball if it’s not baseball, and the “inside” perspective is that you read a book?

    Anyway, I liked the show last night. Thought it was funny. May even lure me away from Jon Stewart sometimes.

  17. I’m in heaven with Conan on TBS. I’m on the west coast and because of some cable box switcherroo which I was not aware of until last night I get TBSHD at 8:00pm when it airs on east coast time. CONAN @ 8:00 4 LIFE.

  18. Thin Seth Rogen is so hot. Frankly, fat Seth Rogen is also pretty damn hot.

    What? He’s pretty.

  19. Somebody should tell the guys at Reddit that the revolution will not be on Reddit. They will be so disappointed.

  20. I was a little disappointed at first. But really, what I was I expecting? We weren’t asking for late night revolution, just for Conan to be back on the air. Now he is, and it’s super nice.

    Unfortunately it’s not on till 1am my time, so I’ll probs only be watching when Gabe et al tell me I should.

  21. There was an odd moment after they were wearing the Conan masks and they went to commercial, and it was a commercial for George Lopez, and it was impossible to tell whether or not George Lopez was wearing a George Lopez mask or not.

  22. The only downside I see to this whole TBS thing is that now I have to be solicited by George Lopez during commercial breaks, and occasionally, when I don’t change the channel in time, have to watch Antoine Dodson Meme (RIP) singing the intro for Lopez Tonight. BARF!

  23. The first guest, the nutcracker lady, is from Leavenworth, WA, which you should visit if you ever drive through the Cascades.

  24. I watched last night and definitely enjoyed it, but I find the entire Late Night platform a little tired (see what i did there? late night? tired?). Anyway, like Gabe, I find celebrity interviews especially boring (hooray, you’re rich and famous, but I don’t really care about your canned story!). Conan may be a particularly fun monologist, but the entire medium of the monologue at the beginning of the show itself feels overused. Maybe it’s just me (and I think it’s not just me- http://nymag.com/arts/tv/profiles/69366/), but I think Jimmy Fallon is the only Late Night personality who is really innovating. (Gabe already said this, but I just wanted to throw my support behind Jimmy and highlight that great NYMag article about him).

    All of that said, I really liked the studio, and the Conan and Andy dialog WAS really fun. The show has some palpable promise. Best of luck, Conan, but I probably won’t be tuning in except for some fun internet recaps.

  25. Cable only :(

    I typed “Conan” into Hulu and this is what they gave me:

  26. Does anyone know if Gabe thinks the late night talk show is an antiquated format?

  27. Agreed you cannot judge just by the first episode.

    But that was not a very good first episode. Very underwhelming.

    Conan’s first episode of the Tonight Show was so much funnier and well-put together than this. Remember that? Running across America and the Universal tour. Good stuff.

    I had high expectations for this episode, with all the online build up and those awesome Tonight show episodes. Expectations not met.

  28. I pretty much agree with everyone here. The first show was entertaining, but was weak. I agree that you can’t judge from the first episode, because I’m sure Conan is really skeptical about his receiving since everything has gone down. I’d say he was pretty nervous. I sort of think he needs time get his mojo, or refine his talk show hostness. I don’t remember how long it was between Late Night and the Tonight Show, but he’s been out of the loop for a bit with the tour and all. I do wish he would be more innovative, like how Jimmy Fallon did with his show. But Conan did mention in the Ryan Secreast interview about having a lot of cash prizes for his audience and fans. SOOO yeah. Did anyone know he gave 10,000 shirts before the show came on?? And I got one! Pretty cool.

  29. Conan basically became a cult hero after being fired from NBC. So I think many of us are slightly underwhelmed that he did not ride into the studio on a unicorn and behead Leno with a machete. He’s just a talk show host – albeit the best one around.

    I thought the show was perfectly adequate, if somewhat lacking in the frenzied whimsy that makes up the best of his shows. He actually seemed almost too cool, too together. I’m of course going to stick with it, but I want to see more of teh nerdiness.

  30. we are hard to please.
    we didn’t want him to go to the tonight show b/c he’d have to change the late night show, had to tone it down.
    then we got mad when he got booted from the tonight show b/c booo.
    now we’re mad that his first show back either is, or isn’t what we liked about his previous shows.
    also, mad b/c he’s using a late night talk show format for a late night talk show.

    this much is true: conan is love, he’s really funny and he gets to make it better every day! have faith! or go to bed.

  31. “Relax nerds.”

    Gets me every time.

  32. Well, late night talk shows mean different things to different people. Some judge it on how strong the monologue is. Others, by the host’s rapport with the guests. Others consider the strength of the skits to be the most important factor. For me, it’s how peripherally the camera operators film female guests for potential side boob.

  33. LOOK, I get it, this is THE LAST COMMENT right now, but I just wanna say that the mention of the Steve Zahn interview made me rewatch it and laugh all over again. For that, I thank you.

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