Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Extra-Medium Sized Review: Conan

The average sized review, with just a little more...something.

I've been watching Conan O'Brien's new show on TBS, pretty much every night.  Late night television talk shows need one of two things to get me to watch.  Either, a good guest or a good band.  Sometimes, you get both, but it's pretty rare.  The only show I watch religiously is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and I generally watch it the next day.  

Most of us by now know the story of Conan, Leno and NBC.  So, I'm not going to rehash it.  I do feel like Conan got a raw deal and Leno cried to get his show back.  I also feel that Conan is back where he is the best, in an underdog role.  His comedy is generally geared toward the younger crowd, kinda what David Letterman had in his formative years during Late Night.  Johnny Carson was the pro and Letterman was the student.  Letterman had his own run-in with Leno about the Tonight Show in the past.  So, after Dave left NBC for CBS, his comedy became a little more generalized.  Since he and Jay were targeting the same audience.

I know Conan's new show has only been on about a month, but he has no competition at that time slot.  The news is on 24 hours a day somewhere.  You can watch The Daily Show, Colbert Report and Sportscenter anytime you want.  Conan is re-energized now that he's back on television.  You can tell he's having fun again.  It seemed like he was under a little too much pressure during the Tonight Show days, until he was getting fired and then he didn't care.  That's when he went back to being himself.

His partner in crime Andy Richter is back.  He should never leave.  They work flawlessly together.  Richter is a very talented comedian and writer that wants to do his own things.  I get this, but it seems like his humor is only appreciated on Conan's shows.

I'll miss Max Weinberg, but I understand him not wanting to leave the East Coast.  He's been on the road for most of his professional life with Bruce Springsteen.  He also filled in as the sidekick after Andy left in 2000.  Andy's back, Max doesn't want to move permanently to the West Coast and the band is the same, just without Weinberg.  Everything worked out nicely.  Jimmy Vivino is the quiet, but very capable band leader.  He would lead the band when Max would leave on tour with Springsteen, so it's not new to him.  I love that Conan didn't bring in a bigger name to lead the band or get a new band altogether.  Instead, remaining loyal to the guys in the band, who have been with him for 17 years.  Shows you what kind of guy Conan is.

It's a little quick to judge, but I think Conan can only succeed.  He's the face of TBS, works as a great lead in to George Lopez, who is bloody awful, by the way.  Here's something for that time slot that might be a little nutty or outside the box.  Give it to Kevin Pollak, yes, I'm serious.  He hosts a chat show/podcast on You Tube/iTunes, that is really great.  Good guests, fun questions and not boring.  I think it could work.  Check it out.

Final Thoughts:  I was thinking of someway to grade this/these review(s) for my own (thumbs up/down, high fives or A to F, etc.), but I'm not that clever or lame (you choose).  So, I'll say's the only late night talk show that I try to watch every night.  I like Conan, I always have.  Having Andy with him can only make it better.  I think he's right where he should be.

1 comment:

  1. Supposedly another factor in Max's decision not to come back was that he had heart surgery recently....

    I've been enjoying the new Conan as well, usually the next day on the DVR. Pollak's show is also funny, caught the first few episodes when it started. They could definitely move it to cable with minimum amount of changes.