Comedy (like all things) is subjective. I find some things funny that you may not and vice versa. It’s the nature of the beast that not everyone can find everything funny. But if you could sit through Conan O’Brien’s live show and not laugh, you should see a doctor because you probably died sometime last week.
Conan is on tour right now, and last night he played the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis and yours truly was fortunate enough to obtain a couple tickets. Before the show even started you could tell that this was going to be a laidback, youth-oriented show. The merch table had a sign requesting the use of a specific hashtag if you were going to be tweeting and the posted rule about no photography was clearly not being enforced.
The show began with opener Reggie Watts who has a very funny act that makes excellent use of a loop sampler and gibberish. Most of the comprehensible language he used was not of the sort that I’m allowed to use in this blog, so I’ll sum up his act with one phrase: get your flapjack on.
After a brief interlude the meat of the show got underway with a couple numbers from the Legally Prohibited Band (basically the lineup of the Max Weinberg 7 whenever Max was on tour with Springsteen). We got two songs, one sung by LaBamba, one by Mark Pender, both of whom have shockingly great voices (we’ve heard Pender, but LaBamba was a surprise).
We were then treated to a video that showed what exactly Conan has been up to since he lost his show (getting fat and passing out on trampolines), and then it was time. Conan O’Brien in person. I could have reached out and touched him (if my arms were about a thousand feet long). It will probably go down as one of the defining moments of my life (I don’t care how sad that sounds) for I love Conan!
You could definitely tell that the affection he has been receiving on the road has touched him deeply, but it was also obvious that all of his jokes about wanting to get back on TV were coming from someplace very real inside of him. But for all the bitterness that most people feel he’s entitled to, he was actually very restrained when it came to badmouthing the others involved in the Tonight Show Shuffle (outside of a video wherein he played a ruthless network executive who, for legal reasons, went unnamed).
From there it was just a brilliant evening of madcap hilarity. Andy Richter was there to act as Conan’s sidekick (and to provide insight on that greatest of Minneapolis institutions: The Juicy Lucy). Former Tonight Show writer Deon Cole did some standup that proved amusing, the jokes weren’t great, but that was kind of the point, lets leave it at that.
The show also featured some visits from Late Night favorites including Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and the Masturbating Bear (the latter of which required a change in name and physical appearance, he’s now the Self-Pleasuring Panda). Conan did a lot of new material but he recycled one bit that disappointed noone: the Walker, Texas Ranger Lever! We got five good pulls that, of course, ended with Haley Joel Osment providing the phrase internet memes are made of, “Walker told me I have AIDS.”
Surprise guests have been a regular thing on the tour so far, I heard Pearl Jam (or at least Eddie Vedder) performed in Seattle, Jim Carrey has shown up, Hanson made an appearance, and as we were driving into the cities we were speculating about who it might be (Prince was suggested, but deemed unlikely, Al Franken was also proposed), we were wrong on all fronts, for the special guest at last night’s show turned out to be none other than Brian freakin’ Setzer(!) who wasted no time before diving into a blazing rendition of ‘Rock This Town’ with Conan accompanying on guitar.
The whole evening (along with every other stop on the tour, probably) stands as proof of Conan’s fans undying affection for him. I think everyone would have preferred him to be allowed to keep the Tonight Show, but if he had, none of us would have had the opportunity to see Conan O’Brien decked out in the purple, leather jumpsuit from Eddie Murphy’s Raw.
Posted under Kyle's Adventures in Pop Culture
This post was written by Kyle on May 19, 2010