Most who know me know I've long been a fan of Conan O'Brien's work. I became a fan of his pretty early into his time as host as "Late Night." The absurdity spoke to me. I liked Andy and Max and the perverse humour.
And this is really saying something considering his show came on at 1:35am in my home time zone. I can probably thank the Confederation Centre of the Arts for guiding me to Conan.* I worked as an usher for years, and getting home at 11:30 at night was perfect timing to get a snack and wind down watching Dave and then Conan. (And Bleu Nuit?)
I was 18 when I wrote to NBC to ask for an intern position. I misspelt Conan's name on the envelope. When my family and I got back from Newfoundland for Christmas, there was a voicemail for me from a guy whose name used to be in the "Late Night" credits (I think it was Chris DeLuca) of the show asking me to come down to New York for an interview. It was verboten for me to come to NYC, mostly, I think, because if I had actually gotten the job, I would have to live in the Big City with no income. BUT, I could have met Jack McBrayer, and possibly married John Krasinski, two former Late Night workers. I could have learned so much about comedy writing and mounting a daily show.
I was concerned about how Conan et al would translate to an earlier time slot, mostly because of the non sequiturs and absurdist comedy. I was afraid the kind of audience that would still be awake might not take to Conan's brand of humour.
Well, Conan, I give you a humble bow tonight. You're a honourable man, and I admire your integrity. I'm sorry that things ended so badly once you finally got to host the holy grail of comedy work, but thank you for not compromising. We know you always had your eye on that spot. You sported portraits of Jack Paar, Steve Allen, and Johnny Carson on the set on "Late Night." Well, the "Tonight Show" is not the end all. Conan has graciously reminded us not be cynical. Bless him, I say. He's proved he's a bankable writer and performer over the years, so he'll be fine. He comes away smelling like roses, and NBC looks like an incompetent, impatient boob.
It's just all too bad.
*It's not the first and probably not the last time the Confed Centre changed my life for the better.