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 Bear Down, Arizona!  Snapped a five-game losing streak to ASU (before this game, ASU was #1 in the Pac-10)!!!!!  In their house!!!!!  By 19 points!!!!  Whoo hooo!!!!!!!!

Conan's last Tonight Show was on Friday.  I've been watching Conan since high school, through college and grad school.  He wrote for the Simpson's early on (I even think he wrote a Treehouse of Horrors, which is my favorite every season) and SNL when it was funny.  Like he said, he's been with NBC over twenty years between SNL and Late Night (and Tonight).

I wasn't old enough to watch Carson on a regular basis; my parents did (as did everyone, I think).  When Carson was ending, they asked me if I wanted to stay up to watch his last two shows.  They thought it was an Important Event, something I should see.  I'm so glad I did.  I remember on his last show that he said if he found something he wanted to do, and share with us, he'd come back.  I was always hoping he'd do something when I was old enough to appreciate it and watch it.  He never did, except going on Letterman and even writing jokes for Letterman.  He died five years ago today; it's still sad.  

I don't even remember enough about the Late Night Wars, Round 1.  I know it was vicious, and there was a book, and a movie, but that's about it.  My parents never really watched Letterman and when they started watching Leno, out of habit, it didn't last long.  Didn't find him all that funny.  Still don't (and I swear, he's gotten worse).  People would talk about how great a stand-up comedian Leno was 'back in the day,' but I don't really see that now.  That, and the Late Night Wars, Round 2, have irrevocably colored my opinion of him, so, yeah.  Jimmy Kimmel's impression of him -- spot on.  Hard to see the monologue any other way.

I am unapologetically Team Conan.  He was late night, for me and only Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have joined him as my must see go-to viewing (Writer's Strike "Who Made Huckabee" fighting for the win!!).  Conan's the original, however.  I watched Late Night when Andy was still there, when In the Year 2000 really was a "future" bit, when making fun of Walker, Texas Ranger seemed the thing to do.  The string dance, "If they made it," the Masturbating Bear, Triumph.  Max Weinberg and La Bamba and Andy. I was ecstatic in 2004 when I heard Leno would be retiring in five years and Conan would get the Tonight Show, as NBC and everyone involved wanted a smooth transition.  And I believed Leno when he told Conan, on air, "This is yours."   

But then Leno announced he was sticking around, doing his show at 10 o'clock and I was shocked (I shouldn't have been, but I was) and angry on Conan's behalf.  I remember reading something at the time -- Conan was irritated but then said, am I sitting in the same chair Jack Parr and Johnny Carson?  Then, I'm okay.  When Conan speaks about the Tonight Show, he speaks about it with such reverence.  He forgot, as Letterman's executive producer told him all those years ago, that it's not Carson's Tonight Show anymore; it's been tainted.  

The time between Conan's last show at Late Night and his first Tonight Show were so, so strange.  He's always been on -- and now he's not going to be on for a couple of months?  So, so strange.  And I had the hardest time finding out when he'd be back -- NBC seemed committed to advertising Leno's new show, with him in the convertible every five minutes (no, NBC, when your "focus groups" said they wanted "more comedy," I'm quite sure they didn't mean they wanted Leno's tonight show on at 10/9 central.  Idiots).  

I know this is all just about a television show, and certainly events, like the earthquake in Haiti, put things in perspective, but this whole thing has been very, very sad for me.  It hurts, inexplicably, but then again, I've grown up watching him.  Conan has always seemed like a nice, funny, dorky guy and to watch all of this the past few weeks (the past few months, really -- Leno was still competing and winning on booking great guests, Leno was getting most of NBC's publicity, it seemed, and Leno's interview last November saying he'd love to go back to 11:30 -- gah) has been hard.  His voice breaks and I just want to give him a hug.  Right before this started, NBC put out a press release -- Conan had been tying Letterman in 18-49 (sometimes winning, sometimes losing) but had been steadily increasing in overall ratings the last eleven weeks; Conan had been consistently beating Letterman in 18-34 for that same period.  It was Leno, with his show that no one thought would be successful, with the affiliates rebelling, with Leno's ridiculous $80mill plus penalty clause, and the stupid NBC executives that thought this was a good move.  Show business is show business and I understand it's ruthless, but Late Night has always been a marathon, not a sprint.  And for television, to make the decision to watch someone every night necessitates some sense of trust.  Why watch NBC at all, for any of their shows, if they'll just cancel everything.  If NBC had treated The Office like Conan's Tonight Show, well, it wouldn't be around today.  It probably wouldn't have survived the first season.  

I'm just continuing to blather on, really.  With all of this, I feel I owe Letterman an apology.  I've always thought he was funny, and all the comedians I like today seem to use him as inspiration, but I always chalked up the last Tonight Show skirmish as, well, something that no one came out of looking well.  Something like that had never happened before, chalk it up to ambition on everyone's part, and that's that.

I don't think that anymore.  If something happens once, fine -- you get one free pass.  But if something happens again in the exact same way, you don't get the benefit of the doubt.  Leno's doing the same thing again and thinking he can get away with it, again, that's he just some babe in the woods and doesn't know why things happen.  He isn't hiding behind anyone this time, however; there's no manager to blame.  He was the one who wanted to do the 10 o'clock show, he's the one who gave the interview saying he'd go back to 11:30, he's the one trying to blame NBC and Conan for this mess.  Like Letterman said, no is blaming Conan.  Jackass. 

Speaking of which, Letterman has been on fire these past few weeks.  He's been amazing and witty and biting and all Leno can do is make lame (and occasionally inappropriate) jokes about Letterman's affair.  Letterman is attacking Leno's "good guy" image--he pushed out Carson, bested Letterman, and pushed out Conan.  Without remorse or care, trying to pretend things just happen to him.  If he'd own his deviousness (he's beaten three men who are arguably smarter than he), that would be one thing, but he's trying to paint himself as the victim in all of this.  But like Letterman has said -- do something about it, if NBC says they're firing you.  Don't just "wait in the lobby," you look like a spineless idiot; don't be a snake in the grass, you look like a calculating jerk.  

In the end, Conan is a classy, classy guy.  Good on ya.  People camped out, in the rain, to see his last show.  Per the show's blog, a rainbow appeared in the sky right before taping the final show.  In one camera angle you could see his entire staff out on stage watching.  Neil Young, one of the first (if not the first) to call him once this all started, sang "Long May You Run" (love) and thanked Conan for all he's done for new music.  The Office is definitely Team Coco (well, Conan was in an episode :-))   I loved his final show (coco! coco!) and I can't wait to see what he'll do next.  Thanks, Conan, for so many wonderful excuses to stay up late for so many, many years (and for helping to keep me awake when I most needed it).  And more cowbell!!!!!

So everything with Conan, and the Senate race in Massachusetts (seriously, they all have health care already; it's not a sign of anything except she ran a horrible, horrible race that she should be utterly ashamed of.  Teddy Kennedy campaigned for his seat from the beginning, even though it had been his brothers -- he didn't expect it because of his name or party, he worked for it), and the Supreme Court's laughable, embarrassing, and rather frightening decision (the founding fathers liked corporations?  they were big fans of the multinational conglomerate, were they? or, perhaps, they did they not even comprehend such entities!  idiots -- yeah, I'm going to do something to celebrate the day Kennedy -- whom I used to respect -- and Scalia leave the bench; I'm throwing a party when Thomas and Alito (and Roberts) are out of there), this has been a trying week.  The game kind of helped.

And Haiti, I don't even know what to say about it.  I've been in earthquakes, even a big one, but I've been lucky to have been either outside, safe, in a field, or in buildings built to stringent codes.  They're so poor and the aftershocks must be frightening.  I'm glad that there has been an immediate, international response (even the DR Congo offered help; amazing).  


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 25th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
i didn't read all of it, but here's where i weigh in on the conan/leno debacle: i loved conan, but i was wary when they said he would replace leno on the tonight show. i watched a few episodes, but i really felt like he didn't translate to a timeslot that is censored. what i loved about the LATE LATE show was the utter wackiness of it - it was the kind of show that you watched with your own sidekick and i think some of the funny came from just the fact that you get a little loopy during the witching hour. i thought it was weird that leno was retiring, i have always liked him more than letterman and when i did tune in during that hour, i watched him. that game with people from the street was always a winner. that said, i believe that there's this standard that people can 'retire' and then come back and THAT'S really what irks me about this whole things. if you're going to quit, then quit. i was actually surprised to see leno retiring in the first place and i'm not sure what led to it, but he should have stuck with it since he did it. yeah, so ultimately i think conan was wronged, leno was stupid for retiring and hopefully conan will take a job in a timeslot better fitted to him or on cable where he doesn't have to water down his comedy for the mainstream.

also, MA. democrats have spent too much time with this we must be bipartisan bs. this will hopefully be their wake up call.
Jan. 28th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
Hey! I'm finally back on LJ; so nice to see a comment from you. And thanks for reading my rambling :-))

Honestly, I think Conan will do better away from the Tonight Show. Hopefully he'll have a show where he'll have more creative control (and a network that will allow him that control). Leno's just bugging me throughout all of this -- if he didn't want to retire, he should have said something. And all of this, and particularly the way he did it (starting with interviews RE would like to have the 11:30 slot back in November) just seems so similar with the last time this happened, and trying to pretend he's just a victim of NBC...blech. Irritating. And, yeah, Leno, don't be the Brett Favre of late night tv!

also, MA. democrats have spent too much time with this we must be bipartisan bs. this will hopefully be their wake up call.

Booo. I didn't really pay attention to this race but I thought she seemed awful. At least they (and we) are only (hopefully) stuck with him for two years. I don't understand this desire for bipartisanship. Sure it polls well, but I don't think the American people really mean that they want Dem/Repub solutions; they just want solutions and less gridlock. Which actually means the party in power ignores the other party for awhile, especially if the minority is, well, obnoxious.
Jan. 29th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)
*takes a moment* the dem/rep situation in this country really... just.... so, i'll say this: george w. bush had a 51 seat republican congress 'majority' and he took it as mandate to push through his agenda. he could have cared less about bipartisan bullshit and he got the job done that he wanted to do. obama has a 60 seat democrat congress (59 now?) and we can't do ANYTHING. it's embarrassing and ridiculous and it pisses me off. what's even more, is that our leader has checked out. what's he doing? he's fired most of the people that got him there and he's just. not. present. i hate to be here now, where we are with this economy, with congress and with our social issues, and feel like i KNOW hillary would be doing a better job. it frustrates me to let that anger me. i feel myself starting to get off on a tangent because that loss still hurts, so i'm going to stop. now.
Jan. 29th, 2010 02:33 am (UTC)
btw the icon is re: the situation, not how i felt about your response. just wanted to be clear on that :D
Jan. 29th, 2010 08:39 am (UTC)
LOL. I get it, no worries. :D
Jan. 29th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC)
OKay, I had a ridiculously long (two-part) response to this because it's similar to a conversation I had with someone earlier and thoughts have been marinating all day (for weeks, really, but today was the first time I've actually talked about any of this).

I deleted the comments because they were way too long, probably way too much; and this has been such a long, weird, sad day for me and a lot of that was coming out in my comments. You have great comments here; why burden you with my ridiculously tangential posts. So, I'll be back when I have some sleep and take a few breaths . . . in the meantime, hugs, because, yeah, this situation really does suck.
Sep. 16th, 2010 06:03 am (UTC)
for serious. I wrote this same exact post. no joke, check my frekaing archives/tag list.
I was just checking out your taglist and saw, team conan and died.
those people standing in the rain for conan, that was supposed to be me. I had work my best friends went though, i wore a viva conando shirt for a week.
you rule. so much.
Sep. 17th, 2010 05:44 am (UTC)
DUDE. DUDE. That is amazing!! And you read/skimmed this ridiculously long thing! Even more amazing.

VIVA CONANDO! Stupid work :D

*goes to your journal*
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )