When in times of hopelessness, we feel like there’s nothing to look forward to; the days get longer and the whole world feels dark and dreary while storm clouds gather over our head as it rains and we realize, we’ve forgotten our umbrellas as we drag our feet along, holding onto the notion that times can be good again and hope can be restored and that people won’t drive too fast and splash us with gutter water.
For months on end, Conan O’Brien fans fell into a dark spot, missing their beloved “Coco” and wondering what the orange-haired, milk white glistening skinned comedian would have in store for us next.
It was this past Monday that the 47 year-old old, O’Brien made his highly anticipated return to television, garnering in a staggering 4.16 million viewers beating out both Leno and Letterman on their respective networks. It's no surprise that the internet phenomenon that took place this year with O'Brien's media spotlight survival played a part in viewership. It’s been noted that almost all the viewers of O’Brien’s debut of Conan over on the TBS network brought in audiences under the age of 50.
Nearly nine months ago Conan O’Brien bid farewell to The Tonight Show, a gig he said that every comedian dreams of hosting and was lucky enough to do it for seven months. In his last show that aired January 22 of this past year, O’Brien said walking away was the hardest thing he ever had to do and the choice was extremely difficult. It was an emotional night where fans sat in awe by their TV sets as the emotional comedian and writer spoke and held back tears.
Then he said the most remarkable statement to his audience, particularly the young people that watch: “Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it’s my least favourite quality. It doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get but if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you; amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, it’s true!”
Since his departure from television, O’Brien kept busy and during the last week of February, garnered much attention for starting a Twitter account. It was about an hour later that his following list soared to over 30,000 Twitter users and half an hour in, passing the 50,000 followers mark. In 24 hours, O’Brien had well over 300,000 followers and surpassed the one million mark this past May.
O’Brien was named one of the most influential people in the world, voted in by readers for Time Magazine’s Time 100, tweeting on his Twitter account, “I came in second to Lady Gaga in the Artist’s category of the Time 100. Once again, I’m penalized for not wearing a bra that shoots fire.”
After being prohibited from making television appearances of any kind until May as per the legalities involved with NBC, O’Brien did an interview with 60 Minutes reporter, Steve Kroft where he said the situation regarding the peacock network and The Tonight Show felt “like a marriage breaking up suddenly, violently, quickly; and I was just trying to figure out what happened.” However, he felt it was important for people to know that he was not shafted by the whole situation and was fine. “I’m doing great. I hope people still find me comedically absurd and ridiculous and I don’t regret anything.”
It was this past March when O’Brien announced a 30-city live tour across the United States and Canada beginning in April, entitled “The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour” where he was joined by good friend and current sidekick, Andy Richter along with members of the former Tonight Show Band (minus Max Weinberg). Tickets for the shows sold out within hours!
This past September it was revealed that O’Brien would return to television in the simply titled show, Conan over on TBS. A title he joked about on the first episode of his new show that aired this past Monday, saying it'd be hard to replace him now.
With the arrival of Conan back into the late night talk show mix, he’s still charming, funny and engaging as ever and the show is nothing short of entertaining but familiar. The cold open spoofing that of a television series or even an MTV reality show was highly entertaining; a taped bit showcasing how O’Brien saw his departure from NBC complete with a Godfather joke about the host being gunned down and looking for work outside of the late night talk show circuit complete with a guardian angel in the guise of Larry King reminiscent of George Bailey and Clarence of It’s A Wonderful Life.
Considering he has some of his writers back from his days on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, the show still maintains that quirky heart and warmth, feeling a bit like a subtle shift between something of his time on Late Night and The Tonight Show. It stays true to the eccentric O’Brien and his humour and it’ll be interesting to see old characters come back in some form. Already the Masturbating Bear made his debut in the premiere episode where he was working at a local NBC channel helping out with lottery numbers that were pulled out of his...sack.
Conan O’Brien is back and all seems to be well in TV land. The orange-haired, tall, lanky pale skinned Irish man has returned and there’s nothing more amazing than watching him perform the string dance or poke fun at nerds with the infamous nerd voice he’s so good at doing or laughing so hysterically that he has to hold his belly in like he’s the young Santa Claus, Kris Kringle from the Bass-Rankin production of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.
As the first week of shows comes to a draw, fans can only expect more comedy in the coming weeks. O’Brien told Entertainment Weekly that fans can expect this show to be full of surprises as he believes it’s a lot like a “let’s just go for it” kind of feel. He adds, “If it makes me laugh, I’m just going to go for it. And that, I think is going to serve me well for about 3 months.”
It goes back to what Conan O’Brien said during his last show, “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get...”
That’s the whole point to life – as comedic as it sounds, when life hands you lemons, make some kind of fruity juice from it or sell those lemons back for more than they’re worth. Don’t fall into the norm of things and just be creative! Think outside the box. O’Brien has been a mentor to me in some sense of the world and my career in writing and I appreciate those words more than anything. He goes onto saying, “ – if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
They say hard work is the key to success. Conan O’Brien is the poster boy for it. He’s been through tough times and all through the lens of the media. It’s hard to achieve what you want most in this life when unpredictability plays a key factor in our destiny but nobody ever drowned in their own sweat. What’s worth more to you than the effort you pour into what you love and are passionate about? If you love what you do – pour your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts and go for it. It’ll pay off. Try to spread a little kindness every once in a while and put a smile on someone’s face. You never know how far it can go!
With the way the internet rallied around O'Brien over this past year, the comedian has shown nothing but love and gratitude to his fans and this proves, if you stand up for what you love and believe in, good things can happen. Now, if we as an audience can make a difference and support Conan O'Brien, perhaps the same can happen for Larry King as it was announced earlier this year he will retire from hosting Larry King Live on CNN by the end of 2010. Perhaps fans can rally round, snapping their suspenders in hopes he can host another show on another network for another century. He is afterall, O'Brien's guardian angel. Shouldn't we pay it forward?
Here's to hoping and what I expect to catch on, Larki! Team Larki for the win!
Larki! Larki! Larki! Larki! Larki!
Conan airs on TBS, Monday to Thursday at 11PM ET and in Canada, you can catch it on both the Comedy Network at 12AM ET and CTV at 1AM ET (check local listings).