It's been one crazy ride for the Tonight Show host this month. It began with rumors of night time show line-up cancellations on NBC. Eventually we all learned that Conan O'Brien was going to be moved from 11:35pm to 12:05am. This shuffle was supposedly a reaction to network affiliates complaining about poor ratings coming from the predecessor to the Tonight Show, Jay Leno. He began hosting a 30 minute variety show airing before Conan's that essentially tanked. Both Conan and Leno were mere months into their new shows and ratings reflected both shows readjustment.
But, instead of complying to an AM time, making the "Tonight Show" name a misnomer, Conan opted to walk. With a 44 million settlement, a large portion of which will go to severance pay for the Tonight Show staff, Conan got his papers and will not be allowed to host on another network for 7 months.
All the details aside, I'm fuming mad that my favorite late night show host is now leaving the iconic Tonight Show. Still, in good grace and humor, Conan ended his show this past Friday, amongst many things, thanking NBC for the opportunities he was given in his 20 year tenure with the network, beginning with working as a writer on SNL and then hosting the Late Night Show after Letterman's untimely departure, and finally the brief time with the Tonight Show.
Conan has thoroughly entertained me from his first airing at the Late Night Show in 1993. This gangly redhead had an cute combination of slapstick, dry wit and self-deprecating humor that endeared me to him. Come on, his dance moves are top notch, especially the "string dance."
In fact, I wanted to marry him during my graduate school years. Something about being the editor of Harvard's Lampoon, writer and producer for the Simpson's and SNL and graduating from the little known university in Cambridge, that I found uber sexy. Let's face it, nothing hotter than an awkward, lanky nerd.
From his skits involving the Masturbating Bear to Triumph the Insult Dog. Who can forget the classic moments where Triumphs pokes fun at Star Wars nerds?! Conan and his team of writers really tickled my funny bone and have also won critical acclaims and a handful of Emmys. So, letting Conan go from the Tonight Show makes no freagin' sense to me. Giving back the show to lackluster Leno makes even less sense.
I find Leno completely humorless. He's awkward around women often making really uncomfortable and downright creepy efforts to flirt. He's equally offensive to people of color resorting to racial stereotypes for a cheap laugh. He's very unpleasant on the eyes and painful to listen to. Watching Leno is equivalent to listening to former president G. W. Bush talk about about peace and the American way. It just makes no sense and is downright torturous.
In short, this is simply my note of support for a soon to be legendary entertainer, Conan, and I wish him lots of luck with opportunities I'm sure will come his way. He's making out okay financially from this NBC debacle but as anyone who've followed Conan over the years know, leaving the NBC family and Tonight Show franchise was probably the most humiliating and hurtful thing Conan has ever had to do. He's a good guy and deserves a bright future.
I'll be looking out for you dude!