I watched every last moment of Conan O’Brien’s finale on NBC’s The Tonight Show . Hilarious, intelligent, weird and completely human, the last show of O’Brien’s brief stint at the helm of the late night stalwart was the very essence of the host himself. The program was so unexpectedly joyous, and yet it was hard not to seethe with indignation at the knowledge of what NBC let get away. For the return of Jay Leno.
Conan is so in touch with his fan base, and is wizened enough to know that a legion of Coco followers felt very disillusioned by the unabashed, out of touch corporate politics that have now deprived them of the opportunity to laugh at the tall, funny looking pale looking pale guy. For the first time in 17 years, there will be a marked decline in humorous oddity on late night television. It makes one angry, particularly in a time when we may not be able to find much to laugh about on our own.
There were so many great moments involved in O’Brien’s Tonight Showswan song. How nice it was to be reminded that Tom Hanks got his start in Hollywood as a damned funny guy. But the best, was of course, for last: a brief, emotional and achingly gracious speech from the host, aimed at everyone from his cast and crew, to his loyal fans, to an unbelievably mature expression of gratitude to NBC for a long and fruitful career – the very network that he has now left.
In case you haven’t had the opportunity to witness the moment I am referring to, I encourage you to click the following link:
It’s not often I am inspired by the words of a television personality, but in a world of self-entitlement, bitterness and huge egos, this was a gorgeous parting gift.
Conan is legally obligated to remain off the airwaves until September. I can’t wait to see he does next, and my guess is that a lot of America is with me.