Today’s #ThrowbackThursday is centered around the Tonight Show debacle. It was originally published November 2010. I thought it was relevant since Jimmy Fallon will be taking over the Tonight Show gig starting Monday. There are many questions on whether he can capture the regular Tonight Show audience (which is much different than the Late Night audience), which proved to be a challenge for Fallon’s Late Night predecessor Conan.
Last night the 10-month long wait for Conan O’Brien’s return to TV ended. I have to admit that my expectations were low after his 24-hour live webcam stunt on TeamCoco.com. I watched a large portion of the broadcast and found myself confused, disheartened and not laughing. It was an interesting social experiment but it generated more head scratching than laughs.
However, Conan blew me away in the opening segment where he finally was able to mock the NBC executives by having them dressed as secret agent types in dark shades and suits. After exclaiming “Move my show to 12:05, go to hell!” Conan slammed down the phone, drove out of a parking lot in his ’92 Taurus and was greeted by gunfire by the executive guys (implied NBC employees). He then went through his unemployment phase where he was self-loathing and a wife-beater wearing father of 12.
During his time off television, Conan became an avid Twitter user. He generated a heavy support from young people and used Twitter to his advantage. He tweeted he wanted to figure out a way to include Jon Hamm, a.k.a Don Draper of the hit show “Mad Men,” on his new show. Well he did! Conan interviewed with Don Draper but was denied because he had no marketing experience and it was 1965. Conan gave several shout-outs to his Twitter followers (smart move) quipping with one line saying many would be asking “Hey, isn’t that the guy from Twitter?”
He definitely wants to hold onto the young audience who supported him and who wouldn’t? His first guests were Seth Rogen and Lea Michele. Lea Michele is the star of “Glee” the monster show on FOX. Smart move there Team Coco. The show concluded with a tieless Conan jamming with Jack White. He was letting loose and having a good time, which he deserves after what he had been through. He should enjoy his new show!
One of my favorite lines of the night was, “People asked me why I named the show ‘Conan’…because it would be harder to replace me.” Humor is always a great way to deal with stressful or heartbreaking situations. I say heartbreaking because the “Tonight Show” was something he always dreamed of hosting. Not only was he fired but also he was replaced by one of his idols, Jay Leno, who shook his hand and “graciously” gave him the new job. I would never want my idol to shake my hand “I’m passing my job onto you, you’re going to do great” and then 7 months later “Oh yeah I’m taking my job back, you’re fired.” I will definitely be tuning in for more laughs from a tall, pale, red-haired man. Team Coco!