- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
OK, we’ve anticipated this enough. We’ve seen the promos. The pics. The tweets. Are we ready for Conan O’Brien to be a talk-show host again?
If you want to join the conversation, and enter for a chance to win some Conan swag, go to Philo.com’s Conan viewing party here….
10:02 OK, we’re starting. Nice. Goes right for the NBC’s throat: “Go to hell!” Plus a great Godfather spoof.
10:08: Great opener so far. Re-told his backstory with wit and class, excluding the whole awkward kissing dolphins in Hawaii part. And hello, here’s video of the cold open:
10:10: Sharp poppy opening. Bit retro theme music but …. what talk show isn’t?
10:11: New set takes the retro influence to a new level. Looks a bit like a 1970s basement rec room. Gorgeous backdrop, though. Is the moon a bit distracting? And, safe bet Conan’s favorite color is blue?
10:12: He kept the beard. Are we good with that? I think we are.
10:12: First joke is another I-was-pushed-from-NBC-liner: “Please. We don’t know how much time I’m gonna get here.”
10:13: Annnnd the second: “Thank you and welcome to my second annual first show.”
10:13: Annnnd the fourth: “People asked me why I named the show Conan. I did that so I’d be harder to replace.” … OK, that one was pretty good. “I’ve dreamed of being a talk show host every since I was 46.”
10:14: “It’s not easy doing a late-night show on a channel without a lot of money that viewers have trouble finding. So that’s why I left NBC.” …
10:14: Masturbating bear! Conan, making good on his insistence that he’s keeping his characters.
10:14: OK, now here’s the question: Is the rest of the show …. just a talk show? Like the same format we’ve come to expect? Conan has done such a great job evolving the role of the talk show host in his online efforts these past few months. In some ways, he’s never been more creative, vital and clever than in his months OFF the air… So does he evolve his role in the show itself?
10:15: The moon moves. You might think that’s a one-time joke. But David Letterman has been throwing index cards out his “window” to the sound of shattering glass for a decade or two now.
10:15: The set is a bit blue-screen-ish. But growing on me.
10:16: Ricky Gervais actually looks pretty good.
10:20: If you haven’t read it yet, check out Tim Goodman’s essay on what to expect on Conan tonight.
10:21: First guest on Conan comes and goes.
10:22: Is everybody on the same diet? Wow. Seth Rogen is like …what’s the opposite of fat?
10:30: As talk show prop mikes go, that red-tipped one on Conan’s desk is distactingly prop-like. I mean, it’s not even facing him.
10:33: By the time Lea Michele takes the stage, we feel we’re here. One thing that’s really unusual about this show is how relaxed O’Brien is. I mean, he’s a bit nervous … but nothing compared to talk show premieres we’ve seen before. One advantage of jumping networks, O’Brien is able to hit the ground running in a way most newbie hosts never can.
10:37: Banter, banter. O’Brien says some called Michele’s GQ’s photo shoot too “sexy.” Which is the nice talk show host way of saying what they were called….
10:40: OK, I’m messing up a little on my times. I know that and accept it. Conan + Jack White playing a song from their album. The music stage works for me. Boxy, but great color and depth. If Jack White dies tragically one expects Johnny Depp to play him.
11:00: So after all its new media savvy, Conan is very much a late-night talk show. This isn’t a surprise, of course, and the show will evolve. But Jay Leno tried so hard to reinvent the talk show at 10 p.m., while O’Brien seems content to stick with tradition. Conan embraces the past in its “open-monologue-sidekick banter-guest-guest-musical performance” script, and more literaly reflects the past in its retro set design. Conan couldn’t hold onto Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, so he designed what is, for him, the next best thing.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day