Considering the fact that Conan O'Brien wrote some of The Simpsons' funniest episodes (see exhibit A, Marge vs. the Monorail), I tuned to NBC on Thursday night assuming he would weather the writer's strike without much problem.
I realized I was horrifically mistaken right about the second time he spun his wedding ring on his desk, an activity that took about three minutes at a stretch, and which he told the audience at the top of the show "he did when he was bored in rehearsals."
Now THAT is an entertainer: "Oh this? This that I'm doing right now? This is what I do when there's nothing interesting going on. This right here. We'll be back after these messages."
On the one hand, he played it classy by manning up and discussing the strike, supporting the writers, and admitting (way too frequently) that he was “just killing time.” On the other hand, who the hell wants to watch Conan O'Brien underperform an hour every night? I mean besides his wife.
In a lot of ways it reminded me of watching my grandfather try and entertain young children. There was the weird fascination with his beard (slow panning shots of which replaced most of the monologue), the manic clown-like dancing, and of course the glazed look of desperation whenever it dawned on him that he still had ten minutes to go before Saget came on. At that point, he would invariably say something hilarious like “this water is good,” “this is really good water,” or “you can't get good water like this.”
He also showed a short video touring his office, revealing once and for all that he's exactly as you imagine him to be: he plays electric guitar, talks into an old rotary phone, and performs puppet shows with an action figure of himself. In short, he's your college roommate trying (unsuccessfully) to impress a girl into sleeping with him.
So thank you, Conan, for proving your dedication to the writers with a graphic depiction of why they are so very necessary. Here's to your unsettling beard and funnier days.
Besides blogging for CRACKED, Michael also makes hilarious videos as writer and co-founder of Those Aren’t Muskets!