I was so proud of my favorite late-night leprechaun when Conan O’Brien took over The Tonight Show. His special brand of antics would be even earlier, making it possible for me to watch more often. Sweet, right?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard all about the drama. NBC decided to give Jay Leno back his 11:35pm spot and bump Conan to 12:05 (AKA — The NEXT DAY!), Jimmy Fallon to 1:05, and the poor bastard son of late night (otherwise known as Carson Daly) to 2:05. Leno supported the move, but Conan — who dreamed of hosting The Tonight Show since he was a wee lad — posted a public letter denouncing it. Problem is, his contract guaranteed him the show, but not the time it would air.
In a tiny nutshell, NBC pulled a bait and switch after realizing Leno’s 10pm show was not only bombing, but was affecting affiliate news ratings and pulling down the numbers for The Tonight Show.
So … they gave it back to the dead weight dragging everyone else down.
Frankly, their sly late night shuffle was the worst possible thing they could have done.
Never, ever, give a funny man a reason to flame you. On TV. Every night. This was a serious lack of foresight, NBC.
In fact, every late night show on every channel took pot-shots at NBC for weeks. I’m still laughing at Jimmy Kimmel’s episode long roast of Jay Leno. Ouch!
Some gems from Conan’s last few monologues:
- “Please, I may not have that much time. You’re using valuable time here!”
- “Hello my name is Conan O’Brien and I may soon be available for children’s parties.”
- “They spent more time building this studio, than using it!”
- “You can do anything you want… unless Jay Leno wants to do it too.”
- When I was a little boy, I remember watching ‘The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson’ and thinking, ‘Someday, I’m going to host that show for seven months.’”
- “NBC says they are planning to have the late-night situation worked out before the Olympics start. And trust me, when NBC says something, you can take that to the bank.”
Plus, he put the Tonight Show Studio up for sale on Craigslist. (tee hee!)
The kicker is that Jay Leno is going back to The Tonight Show. I used to like him, but it really bothers me that he didn’t do the right thing. He should have walked away. He doesn’t need The Tonight Show. Conan has kids; Jay Leno has a garage full of cars.
Throughout it all, despite the wisecracks (hey, it is his job to make people laugh), Conan was amazingly gracious and determined to have fun. He freely admitted he’s one of the luckiest people he knows and we shouldn’t feel sorry for him. Nonetheless, his pale pasty face will be missed. Jay Leno may be back in late night, but I for one will not be watching.
Me? I’m with CoCo.
Some of my favorite clips:
“If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” –Conan O’Brien