Thursday, August 4, 2011
Saying Good-Bye To Conan
So, I've just finished watching The Late Show with David Letterman and now I'm watching Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. It's my late night routine and honestly it's how I keep abreast of current events.
There was a point in time when Conan figured into the mix but a couple of months back I made one of the most difficult decisions that I've ever had to make in my life; I cut Conan out of my viewing schedule.
Now I've been a fan of Conan O'Brien for quite some time now. The Simpsons was one of the first shows that I actually paid attention to the credits, so I was vaguely familiar with him when he got his start in late night.
(I was also watching Saturday Night Live during his time as a writer on the show, but I'd be lying if I said I remembered him from that.)
But Late Night with Conan O'Brien was certainly a show that appealed to my comic sensibilities. I liked the absurdity of the humor. Mick Ferguson, The Guy Who's Awfully Proud of His Bulletproof Legs completely slayed me. And I loved the "The More You Know" parodies. And Good Priest/Bad Priest is like a genius concept with perfect delivery.
You've also got Cloppy the despondent horse and Quackers the duck. Celebrity Survey and Actual Items were really a triumph of writing. And of course Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was trailblazing and served as a great inspiration.
The interplay between Andy Richter and Conan was comic gold and while I was worried when Andy left, the show kept going. The stuff with Joel Godard was always solid. And when Conan branched out and included staff members from behind the scenes like Pierre Bernard and Jordan Schlansky those bit would kill.
The characters that writer/performer Brian Stack played would always make me laugh. He played the "Fan-tastic" audience member. He also did Hannigan the Traveling Salesman and Artie Kendall the crooning ghost. But his bits would always make me laugh, maybe because they made Conan laugh.
But ever since the whole brouhaha with The Tonight Show and his moving to TBS, Conan seems to have lost something. He got his freedom and salvaged his dignity, but he lost a ton of great comedy bits. He got to leave NBC with a nice severance for himself and his staff, but it cost him some of his trademark comedy.
Conan's TBS show feels forced. Watching it I found myself anticipating laughs that never came. It was like I was holding my breath waiting for something that never came. And instead of watching Conan and the show making me laugh on a nightly basis, I'd watch Conan and it'd make me sad.
So I decided to give up on Conan. Maybe the time away will do me good. Maybe I'll return to the show and it will have found it's footing and be sure of itself again.
And most importantly, maybe the next time I watch Conan it'll be funny.