2
Jun
2009
Review: The Tonight Show with Conan Obrien
The Tonight Show with Conan Obrien
Sam
Conan O'Brien is the host of The Tonight Show. I've been waiting a long time to say that. Or in this case, write it. Anyway, the big question about Conan is how he would change with his move to LA and to a timeslot that's an hour earlier. Guess what? None of those questions were answered in the premier, and the really couldn't have been answered. The first week of Conan's Tonight Show will likely be aimed largely at getting new viewers. I'm sure the producers behind the show are well aware of the die-hard Conan fan-base (which I am proudly apart of) that will gladly move to the earlier hour. Conan's job at during the infant stage of his show is to let people in on the secret and that most likely means, turning down the crazy, just for a bit.

The show opened with a great bit where Conan is twenty minutes from the start of the show when he realizes he forgot to move to LA. So naturally when he can't catch a cab, he decides to run the length of the country, in 20 minutes. I think watching Conan run, who is comprised of 75% legs and 25% hair, is comedy gold on its own. This is really an introduction to the wild world of Conan O'Brien. I'm not sure if there is any recorded evidence of Jay Leno running anywhere. Conan let people know he's different. He'll run across the country, he'll swim with his suit on and run across Wrigley Field.

The rest of the show seemed to also be an intro to what Conan does best. He started with an awkward monologue (always Late Night's weakest part) where Conan would often be self deprecating. He showed his shitty 1992 Ford Taurus (which fans of the show have seen on numerous occasions), he showed his shitty seats at the Lakers game and he showed how absurdly stupid it was to steal the D in the Hollywood sign (which turned from a shitty joke to a funny joke when they broke the D, the faces were priceless). Max Weinberg returns with the same band but now they're Max Weinberg and The Tonight Show Band. You can tell the show is taking it slow with introducing everything because there was really zero banter between Max and Conan or Andy and
Conan or quips about La Bamba (be patient, it will come).

My guess is it will take about a month before this show can really be defined. This show had the luxury of a funny guest (Will Ferrell) and Conan did not need to show off his aptitude for quick thinking funny interviews. Conan did a pretty funny remote segment where he went on one of those stupid tram rides at Universal. I'd say the bit was pretty funny. I think it will take some before the show seems less like a television event and more a part of the week. I felt as though I was watching Conan host an awards show or some sort of anniversary special. For it to fell commonplace like with the old show it will take a bit. The show's first musical guest was Pearl Jam and I didn't really care at all (as I often don't for musical guests on talk shows). So to give the show a grade seems a bit ridiculous because this was a special episode it has been planned for months and doesn't feel really natural yet and Conan is still introducing himself to the rest of America. I think we should review the show a year from now to see how it's grown but since we grade here, this is what I think:

B+

Notes: Man, has Andy been working on his announcer voice, he sounded nothing like himself in the opening. When he started talking to Conan he went back to that kind of child-like giggle voice he has.

-Can't wait for the standards to come back (Triumph, Masturbating Bear I hope, random F-List celebrities making appearances this was previously Abe Vigoda's job)

-That new set is fucking gorgeous; they hit it out of the park.

-Liked the classic NBC peacock at the beginning I hope they keep that.

-I also was expecting a different opening song for the new show but it is kinda comforting to hear the old song.

-As stated before, patience is important. I believe Conan is gonna tone it down to reel some people in and then he's gonna be able to do more of what he wants.
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