I'm not a regular watcher, but I respect Conan O'Brien for how he managed his career after Leno shafted him.
That said, I really don't know why these talk shows try to make anything that happens on them appear spontaneous. These shows are so tightly scripted that even on the off chance that Conan has no control over what Rudd has given to the director to show, it comes off as staged. I think the last unplanned thing to ever happen on late night talk/comedy TV happened somewhere in the Carson/Letterman era and it's all been on a tightly scripted railroad since.
Every time I tune in to Conan, he fails to make it weird.
It's like Quirk-in-a-Can nowadays.
Go watch some Letterman clips with Brother Theodore. Christ, what a show that was.
@boner, When I was a lad, my personal favorite was when Dave called up the Russian embassy or TASS to try and spread a rumor. There had been some rumor-mongering with the Soviets at the time, so they decided (with audience votes) to call 'em up and tell them that the latest shipment of wheat to Russia was accidentally bathed in a chemical that would turn your urine blue.
After calling back and being hung up on several times, the next night Dave called the guy they'd messed with back up and offered him a load of NBC swag for the trouble they'd caused. I think they sent an intern over with the items, though I dunno if the dude got to keep them.
Leno's the one who was fired, not Conan. He didn't screw over anyone. You could make the case that NBC royally botched that whole thing, but Leno didn't do anything wrong. Except for being a painfully unfunny hack, obviously.
Last thing I saw in latenight land that was any good was this:
Not really worth submitting but it's a fun trainwreck to watch. Reminds me of early Conan, before his trainwreck became staged.
@infinite zest: Actually I thought that was funny enough to be worth submitting. It has eric andre. And definitely makes the point that more improv is better.
SPK: here's what I see in that link. "Facing the prospect of attempting to keep both Leno and O'Brien, Zucker made final call on Leno's deal: "Yes, we’ll extend your deal. But this is your last contract. Time to hand over the keys." The plan would extend Leno four additional years, after which he would give The Tonight Show to O'Brien."
I remember what happened; it wasn't that long ago and was pretty well documented...
aw, this just makes me realize how little i care for new conan's schtick
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