Well Lana and I have been big fans of Conan O’Brien for years now. In our opinion he is by far the funniest and the coolest host of any late night show. There were a lot of times we didn’t get to watch him during the week because of his time slot, so we settled for Letterman instead. Of course, Letterman is also funny in his own bitter, overly political, and crotchety old man sort of way. Letterman though, has in recent years become even more and more politically bitter and he is starting to lose his appeal with us. Anyway, the point of this completely irrelevant to life post is to point out a couple of unfavorable aspects of the new Tonight Show with Conan.
Lana and I were excited when we learned that Conan would be taking over for Jay Leno, who we have never thought has ever really been funny. We were also excited about the earlier time slot. The earlier time would completely satisfy the need for an alternative to Letterman in the same time slot. Well we have been somewhat a little disappointed.
The entire ambiance of the set is completely different. I understand the show is in California and earlier in the evening. The set in New York though was more dimly lit and seemed like a smaller and more cozy setting. The quaintness of the auditorium in New York added to the intimacy that Conan seems to have with his younger crowds. The set in L.A. is large, bright and just not the same.
The demographic that Conan appeals to as opposed to those in Leno’s corner are definitely different. Conan seems to be the indie rocker of the late night arena while Leno fulfills the part of the old rocker still hanging on to that first hit record. If their shows were rock shows, Conan would be playing to a standing room only crowd in a trendy club or converted warehouse in the art district, while Leno would be crooning to mid-lifers and old timers in some fancy auditorium in a downtown metropolitan theater district. The shows are complete polar opposites.
Some of the aspects of the old Conan show that we are missing seem to be the most basic ones. Even Conan’s entrance to the show has become much more subdued than his NY show. He used to run onto the stage and criss cross in and out of the view of the camera. He would get up close to the camera and make his signature faces and gestures. And the infamous “string dance” has yet to be showcased on the Tonight Show as far as I know. He seems to have been instructed that “the older crowd doesn’t get all of that young humor.” He used to always refer to the audience in a high pitched voice as “my babies.”
Somehow I just don’t think we will be seeing such great segments as Conan Hates Your Homeland (which gave way to the revelation that Conan’s fan base resides primarily in Finland and that he sort of looks like the president of Finland), Conan Saves Lincoln or hornymanatee.com on The Tonight Show. So while I am grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy Conan every night instead of just on the weekends, I am a little disappointed that he seems to have catered to the ratings crowd. I am sure all of this hasn’t been his choice and I am sure that the powers that be at NBC are regulating him closely in order to compete with Dave. I just hope after he wins the crowd over, he can slowly return to the Conan of old. But all in all we still think he’s the bees knees.
Now I know that there are many more important things to worry about in this life but you have to have some fun some time. What do you think?