So, like, I saw Conan O'Brien live last night. And stuff.
Yes, somehow I managed to go weeks without mentioning this impending event here, and I really don't know how. Blame it on the despair, I guess, which I think I'm recovering from, which is great.
But anyway! Conan! He's legally prohibited from being funny on television and, as such, has gone on tour, and I was able to witness one night of this, for the low low price of $35! And it was worth every penny, and would've been worth several more pennies, too!
Granted, the night didn't get off to the best start, as Conan's opening act was a man named Reggie Watts, who is not funny, at all. Whatever interestingness his basic setup might have - constructing a one-man rhythm section by gradually layering a capella loops recorded live is sort of a cool idea, from a musical standpoint - was completely nullified by his actual material. Watts is a man who thinks the words "shit" and "fuck" are inherently funny, and essentially uses them as the entire setup, and punchline, of each alleged joke. And shit.
Conan, however, was excellent. Simply due to the nature of this tour vs. a nightly television show - i.e. the audience is different each night, so sketches have time to be honed via repeated use, as opposed to television where each new show has to be, well, "new" - most of the bits were pretty well-polished by this point. And, yes, it might lose a little bit of that awkward barely-held-together charm O'Brien has on television (that I do miss, but will get ample doses of come November), this format definitely works better for something I'm expected to pay for. The assorted musical numbers - including topically relyricked renditions of "On the Road Again" and "I Will Survive" - probably benefited the most from this, seeming noticeably more polished than the early versions I've viewed using the YouTube. (Luckily, I didn't spoil all the musical festivities - the delightfully odd "half-complete" ballad, "The Girl Who Looks Like Conrad Bain", was at the very least new to me.)
Not all the musicality was good, though, as the special guest du jour was "Michigan's own" Kid Rock, who is a moron. Most of the college audience ate up his performance - a ditty about Mr. Ritchie's hypothetical stint as President of the United States, wherein he mentioned the consumption of beer every couple sentences, as is his wont - but I wasn't particularly amused. For the reasons he intended, anyway, though in retrospect I find amusement in just how much he does not understand what the President can and cannot do. Like, um, wholesale firing Congress. Maybe President Barack Obama isn't that bad...
Did you know? Andy Richter is capable of doing more than starring in mediocre, quickly canned sitcoms and, as career-related desperation sets in, resorting to be the guest murderer of the week on Monk. He's also capable of reading off a series of one-liners, making only a couple of mistakes! :D Of course, I kid the Richter, who is a definitely underrated personality, and pretty much the best sidekick Conan could ask for. I loved the banter, and was thrilled to see him even get to do a couple solo segments: a backhanded advertisement for some local bar, and the aforementioned series of goofy one-liners, "What I've Learned". ("Lions sleep for 20 hours a day....and no one divorces them.")
Other highlights include an intimate conversation with the audience, which is awkwardly forced to attempt to read off a teleprompter, in unison ("Kiss La Bamba!"); and shameless renaming of classic bits to get around this "intellectual property" nonsense. Introducing the Self-Pleasuring Panda and the Chuck Norris Rural Policeman Handle! Honestly, though, even segments featuring some of the worst elements of the Conan canon - Triumph the Insult-Comic Dog and Tonight Show writer Deon Cole - were somehow made amusing here, which is baffling, but in a nice way.
Am I forgetting anything amusing, Jim? It is late, after all.
But, yes. A fantastic show, totally worth the money, and perfectly timed, for an occasion when I clearly need to laugh the anxiety away. Certainly more exciting than, say, motorcycle lessons, or urine-related diaper hijinx. :)
- Jesse's Occasional Thing Review: The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour