Friday, January 22, 2010
Ode to Conan O'Brien (Coco)
Tonight, the last Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. I have extremely mixed feelings about this: on the one hand, Conan has been an absolute shot in the arm for the tonight show. When he first started as a fresh faced writer for the Simpsons and Saturday Night Live, nobody had heard about this tall, gangly, redheaded ghost of a man. After the buck-toothed crab-ass took his toys and went to a different network, O'Brien was offered the chance to take over.
Granted, once he got the show, it took him a good three years to find his niche. But as with all things that require time (i.e. wine, cheese, statutes of limitation) he got better. He found his groove - and he realized that the only way to succeed in this business was to be himself. Thus such wonders of modern television as: The Masturbating Bear, Insult the Comic Dog, Horny Manatee, Conan O'Brien Hates My Homeland, Who Made Huckabee?, and my personal favorite, Raymond (The Preparation H guy).
Over the course of fifteen years, Coco, as he had come to be known, would start more feuds with the rest of the world than Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and the cast of Jersy Shore combined. Eventually, Conan was offered the position as the host the venerable Tonight Show. For six months, we waited with bated breath as the new studio was built for him, his entire staff was moved across country, and Conan began his long trek across this nation to make it to the studio right as the show started.
Through the greatest of times, and the worst of times, Conan was there with us - making us laugh, either to enhance the enjoyment, or to help us get past the tragedy. At all times, Conan was willing to show us that no matter how dire a situation, no matter how dark the night, all it took was one man who was willing to sacrifice every ounce of personal respect to make the nation laugh, making those moments where we wondered how we would find the strength to move on much more bearable. Those darkest times is when Conan would go for broke, wringing out every last laugh from a humorless situation, just so we could wake up the next day and say "Hey, we'll get through this".
Now, the powers that be have revealed their true colors, not the steadfast rainbow of the peacock, but bright, flashy colors that run and streak at the slightest show of less than perfect weather. The peacock has shown itself to be a yellow-bellied sapsucker willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater in an ill conceived effort to chase heavy losses with larger gambles, knowing full well that they are putting a tarnished lightning rod into a position that was willingly relinquished not seven months ago.
As they say, all good things must come to an end, and for this television nation, for these late night diehards, it is the end of an era. A giant (in every sense of the word) of late night entertainment takes his leave, a network has lost all credibility, and another once great comedian will never be funny again. Sure, time will blunt the pain of this betrayal, and memories will dim, but the loss will never totally go away.
I've got to tell you Internet, Conan is a wonderful man. He was allowed to say whatever he wanted to about NBC tonight, and I was hoping, wishing, praying! that he would go on a total tear about how they completely dissed him, ruined his life, and betrayed his trust, but he didn't. He talked about what a run it had been, and how much NBC had supported him in the past, and that even though they had their differences, he still thought it was the greatest network out there. He is an amazing man, and I see nothing but blue skies and clear lanes for him in the future.
P.s. Conan, if you some how ever read this (I know, highly unlikely), I just want you to know that you have been an inspiration to my and my craft... and if you need a staff writer for your next gig, please contact me at nathanswritingexperiment (at) gmail (dot) com.