Category Archives: The Tonight Show
It’s Conan’s last week on The Tonight Show and he’s going out with a bang.
His contract allegedly gives him $40 million and the opportunity to go work for another network as soon as possible, so long as he no longer makes fun of NBC.
WHATEVER, NBC. YOU ARE TERRIBLE AND YOU DESERVE EVERYTHING YOU GET! ENJOY THE TASTE OF LAST PLACE!
But they didn’t tell Conan he couldn’t sing about how dumb they are. So he broke out into a couple of bars of “Morons! Incompetent morons!” It’s a retro pastiche that will clearly never be a breakaway pop hit, but I like it. It’s got moxie! And zazz!
So now that he’s accepted that this is it, that he will have to give up the Tonight Show so that Jay Leno can return to telling Brokeback Mountain jokes to sleepy red staters, Conan appears to be having a great time sticking it to NBC and being a pain in the network’s ass for the brief time he has left.
There was a huge rally in L.A. the other day and hundreds of fans showed up carrying “I’m with Coco” posters and wearing t-shirts with supportive slogans. I’d imagine it feels pretty good knowing that almost everybody in the world who is not an NBC executive or Jay Leno is on your side.
Speaking of people who are on Conan’s side, old friend Norm Macdonald dropped by last night to give Conan a card he meant to give him back in June. He read it out loud to hilarious effect. I’ll paraphrase:
“Congrats on finally getting your permanent gig hosting The Tonight Show. That’s something they can never take away. This is one of the shrewdest programming decisions the NBC braintrust has ever made.”
Comedy! That’s how you do it, Jay.
Speaking of schooling the world on how comedy should be, you might remember Norm as THE BEST TALK SHOW GUEST OF ALL TIME because of his appearance on Late Night when he did this:
Last night’s episode was perfect. I don’t think I could have asked for more. Norm, Quentin Tarantino and Spoon. I love Spoon. Some people (Salome) tell me I have a thing for tall, gangly, goofy-lookin’ funny guys with reddish hair. Guilty as charged. So watching the very tall Conan shake hands with the very tall Britt Daniel after Spoon played Written in Reverse, well that was a moment I will be replaying in my mind for awhile.
If I have said it once, I have said it a million, billion times. There is not enough Law & Order on television.
And YOU KNOW how much we value Jerry Seinfeld’s contribution to pop culture and the idea that there are no refs in real life. Unlike on his new show, The Marriage Reg, which will air in the place of Leno’s show when it’s finally dragged out into an alley and shot.
Really, what NBC should do is combine these two ideas into one show. Law & Order: What’s the Deal With All These Rapes?
You are welcome, NBC. It’s the least we can do as we watch you decimate a once-proud TV institution with genius programming ideas like “MORE LAW & ORDER!” Somebody get these guys the Nobel Prize for TV Programming!
Oh, and NBC will also fill the time with another semi-reality show thing hosted by a former NBC star: Lisa Kudrow’s,Who Do You Think You Are?, a show that traces the genealogy of celebrities.
This isn’t harsh at all, considering that Lisa Kudrow is also — bum-bum-bum! — Conan’s ex!
In other non-Late Night feud news, can somebody please explain to me how this show Past Life, is being made, but Dollhouse is cancelled?
DR. KATE MCGINN (Kelli Giddish) is not your typical psychologist. Confident, outspoken and highly educated, she works at The Talmadge Center for Behavioral Health in New York City, a world-renowned institute dedicated to the study of the science of the soul. After experiencing a past-life regression in her 20s, Kate became a believer in reincarnation. Using therapy and her natural gift for reading people, Kate helps solve the mysteries of her troubled clients by investigating their consciousness. She believes there are levels of consciousness and explanations for human behavior that science can’t begin to explain. Accustomed to skeptics, but not bothered by them, Kate is an unapologetic believer and a force of nature who marches to the beat of her own drum.
Her partner, PRICE WHATLEY (Nicholas Bishop), is a different story. A former NYPD homicide detective, pragmatic and cynical, Price is a damaged soul who constantly battles grief and guilt over the accidental death of his wife. Price feels that Kate, though not certifiable, certainly operates on the fringes of science. It’s a volatile relationship, but with Price’s solid detective skills and Kate’s penchant for out-of-the-box thinking, together they make a formidable, albeit somewhat dysfunctional, team.
An emotional thrill ride, each episode finds Price and Kate working with their colleagues to unravel a new mystery. DR. MALACHI TALMADGE (Richard Schiff) is Kate’s mentor and the center’s namesake, an avuncular but gruff elder statesman who is a legend in the field of cognitive research. DR. RISHI KARNA (Ravi Patel) is the rookie of the group, an energetic M.D. who loves bad TV, Cuban jazz and driving everyone crazy.
I mean, this is basically an episode of The X-Fringe (TM Salome) stretched into a series. Except that Dr. Rishi Karna sounds like he is auditioning to be my best friend. He loves bad TV! So he will love this show!
I know everybody is entertaining the idea of loving Fox because they appear to be waiting eagerly for Conan to be free to do a late night show for them, but I gotta say, I don’t trust a network that can’t figure out how to promote a show that’s basically “hot, fightin’ chicks are hot now.”
Beware, Conan. Fox has ruined men like yourself.
It’s official, people. We are watching the implosion of a television institution in real time. It would be fascinating if it wasn’t heartbreakingly sad.
And we don’t want any comments about how what’s more heartbreaking is real world problems. We’ve had our share of real world problems this year. (Yes. Already.) What we need is a distraction from that.
NBC is providing us with one by destroying their late night lineup and ushering in a feud the likes of which has not been seen since the last time they picked Leno over the funnier guy.
Conan issued a statement yesterday. Some websites have been ridiculously ready to enjoy themselves a backlash bloodbath, telling us what we already know: That this is a fight between millionaires over who gets piles of money. “Rich white guy writes letter of complaint.” Except it’s more like “Rich white guy hired a non-rich staff to help produce his show, then moved them to L.A. where they are all being fucked over by Jay Leno.” Some rich white guys are classier than others.
There are reports that Conan broke down when reading the letter to his staff. Oh my God, we want to give Conan such a big hug!
But the gist of Conan’s statement was: “I am not going to take part in the destruction of The Tonight Show. I will not follow Jay Leno at any time. If NBC wants Leno, they’re going to have to fire me.”
You know, we think Conan is the funniest late night host. Hands down. But this proves he is also a savvy, savvy man. His letter implies (not very subtly) that Jay Leno IS participating in the destruction of The Tonight Show. And how! By refusing to follow Leno at 12:05, Conan is forcing NBC to nut up and fire him. Which they will, since they’ve already announced that Leno is going back to 11:35. (OR IS HE? More on that later.) His statement puts the honus back where it belongs: on NBC. Their statement talking about how they want to keep everyone happy and move people around and it all depends on what Conan wants was sooooo bogus. It is nice to see him tell them to take their Sophie’s Choice and make it themselves. We are with him. There is only one Tonight Show and NBC should just decide who they want to host it and fire the other guy. Let’s get on with it.
What is truly remarkable about last night is that all the other late night hosts joined Conan in EVISCERATING both Leno and the Peacock. Gawker has a roundup of all the relevant clips for your viewing pleasure. But we have some commentary. Let’s start with the man himself.
Conan walked out to a huge standing ovation and applause that went on forever. News of his statement had been bouncing around the wires and internets all the live-long day. He launched into his monologue with lots of jabs at NBC execs and a few at Leno. The rage seems to have subsided a little bit. And that’s only natural because he appears to have gotten it all out in his letter. In which he also declines to move the Tonight Show because it would fuck up the Late Show’s timeslot and he doesn’t want to do Jimmy Fallon dirty. GET IT, JAY? He also had one of his writers call NBC a pimp and him a ho. And Howie Mandel was on hand to play Deal or No Deal to help Conan figure out what to do next. His guests were interesting choices: Tom Brokaw, who famously and generously handed over NBC Nightly News to Brian Williams, and Zachary Levi, whose show, Chuck, has been dicked around by NBC so much that it’s almost been cancelled twice.
We watched Conan’s show last night and had the following chat conversation:
Jess: This is amazing.
Tanis: It really is. I love how the other late night hosts have essentially set the stage for everyone who is on the fence to just totally loathe Jay’s new show, whatever it turns out to be. It’s like they called each other!
Jess: This scandal needs more Norm Macdonald.
Tanis: OMG. Yes! He has to go on Conan’s show tomorrow! They can talk about being fired by NBC! I will not rest until this happens!
Jess: Yes! I want to see Conan and Norm on Dave’s couch on Monday!
Speaking of Letterman…
These classic cars are making me thirsty! Seinfeld speaks about Conan/Leno, breaks own record for douchebaggery
I don’t know if you guys watched Conan Friday, but you should’ve, because he did the string dance, made fun of NBC, did his Leno impression, jumped on his desk, made fun of LaBamba’s moustache and hosted a very funny interview with up and comer Aziz Ansari. (“I almost slept on that sheet!”)
Where has this guy been? I sort of miss Late Night Conan. Tonight Show Conan is different. I know he can’t stay the same forever, but I think this new, Tonight Show Conan who was in full-on “Fuck it!” mode is my favourite Conan. So much so that I kind of hope he stays with the network and spends every night from now until his contract is up being a bitter, bitter pain in NBC’s asshole.
Of course, this likely isn’t going to happen. Because Conan is classy and funny and hopefully won’t let it get to him. I promise to stop talking about this soon. But first. I need to address this. I’m going to explode if I don’t.
The New York Post says Conan is contemplating leaving the network. (Duh.) But that’s not the best (worst?) part of that story. The Post has Seinfeld stepping into the fray. Because that’s all Jerry Seinfeld is good for nowadays: Trying (and failing) to prop up his hacky friends.
Comedy legend — and close Leno pal — Jerry Seinfeld took the side of NBC and Leno.
“What did the network do to Conan? I don’t think anyone’s preventing people from watching Conan,” he said during an appearance to hype his new NBC show, The Marriage Ref.
Congrats, Jerry. Spoken like a true douche who is promoting a TERRIBLE show.
I know Jerry’s got to pat the network on its head and all so they’ll put his shitty show on the air (and really, The Marriage Ref sounds like terrible TV), but what the ever-loving fuck is he talking about?
NBC execs are the authors of their own demise and the fact that they’re putting your new show on the air proves it.
The network that once gave groundbreaking comics like Seinfeld and O’Brien airtime has been reduced to handing giant aging baby Jay Leno a pacifier and being unbelievably shitty to Conan, who for the last 15+ years, has done NOTHING but work his pale, Irish ass off to grow their target demographic of 18-35-year-old viewers. They repaid that hard work by scheduling Leno as his lead in. Then, when that failed, they decided to celebrate Leno’s slide in the ratings, by giving him back his original timeslot, telling Conan he’ll do his show at 12:05 and like it, and capping off their brilliance by putting a show called The Marriage Ref on the air.
You better work, Seinfeld. Because I think you’re going to have to hustle to get people to watch that show. Since it’s apparently entirely up to the performer to get ratings and not the network.
WHATEVER. I’m sure Jerry and Jay will laff it up later in their neighbouring airplane hangars filled with cars. “A Duesenberg over a Porsche!? Oh, that’s a hot one! Why I haven’t laughed so hard since I schemed to buy my 150th classic car off a dying old man!”
That’s the rumor. Yeeeeeah. I don’t think that’s such a great idea. Jerry Seinfeld is good at many things, but I don’t think his skills are best suited for the talk show format. Of course, I don’t think he has the inclination to be a talk show host, either. And as in many situations, I agree with Brendon at WWTDD:
Aren’t these the same people who fired Leno when he was in first place? And then put him on at 10, on a show that is in last place by a mile every single night, thus giving Conan no lead in? Shouldn’t they be the ones who get fired?
And after the jump, my all-time favorite Tonight Show clip:
One of us may have cheered. One of us may have teared up (shut up, I’m having blepharospasms). But whatever your reaction, a new era of late night is upon us. And to think that “they” said Conan would never last! (I remember one article criticizing the tone of the wood used for Conan’s first desk, because it clashed with his coloring.)
As for the show itself, it’s obviously just begun and is still finding its footing and other cliches, so I’m not going to make a definitive judgment, but it does seem to be the same spirit as Late Night. Check it out for yourself, though–tonight’s guests will be Tom Hanks and Green Day.