Not long ago, Ryan Vance over at Revision3 Internet Television generously extended Conan O'Brien an offer to create shows for his site once Conan's Tonight Show contract ran out. He offered some pretty impressive perks, ("Complimentary broadband"? How the hell are we supposed to compete with that?), but I still think I can make some aggressive offers myself. But first, we need to talk about why you need to get out of TV in the first place.
The Tonight Show Kind of Blows Now
You should know that it wasn't always easy for me to say "The Tonight Show blows." Immediately after word of your shit-canning hit the Web, I felt pretty terrible for you, because you were an idol of mine growing up, and as a rule, I hate seeing my idols either a) upset or b) stolen by Alfred Molina. In this case, it was a), so I was pretty unhappy for you. Then, Cracked Editor-in-Pants Jack O'Brien (we call him that because he's the only one who wears them), reminded me that The Tonight Show is sort of pointless, these days. I recognize and respect what it once stood for but, as far as an enjoyable program, it falls short and it's been falling short for years. I've only really enjoyed it these last two weeks, when you stopped giving a shit, and that's hardly standard of a Tonight Show performance, right? Normally it's all "Teri Hatcher's going to talk about some bullshit followed by a performance by Everclear, everybody, what do you think of that?"
Who would want to watch that?
As is often the case, Louis CK probably said it best when he said "I don't know why Conan would want to host 'The Tonight Show,' [which] is just this old, shitty thing. Let Jay have it." He's right, Conan. The Tonight Show isn't to young comedians today what it was to you when you were growing up. It's just some awful Jay Leno show. It's changed. TV has changed, you can be doing so much better. I'm actually thrilled that you won't be hosting the Tonight Show anymore. It means you will no longer be chained to the desk, and you're free to work on anything. The past was "Conan doing The Tonight Show. The future is "Conan doing whatever he wants." And what embodies that kind of freedom better than anything else? The Internet. That Louis CK interview cuts off not long after that quote, but I'm almost positive CK would have said "And Conan should go work for Cracked.com instead," I can just feel it.
But you probably need some more convincing.
You'll have $45 million for leaving The Tonight Show, so you won't need any money, which is terrific, because we don't have any. But can you guess what we do have? (I really hope you didn't guess health benefits or indoor plumbing.) We have total freedom. No network intervention. No affiliates telling you what you can and can't say. No sponsors to worry about. It's friggin' Lord of the Flies over here, except we're all Jack. They let me write and I can barely read. Hell, I blacked out one day and wrote plenty of totally batshit insane articles and no one even gave a shit. Brockway once murdered a guy who was delivering a package full of the remains of the last guy Brockway murdered. (Meta murder!) If you bring a bear around the Cracked offices, it will feel left out if it isn't masturbating. Say and do whatever you want, it all works. I can say Cock Nazi if I wanted to. Cock Nazi.
And I'm still here, Conan. That's freedom. Imagine that freedom. Don't just go to Fox and do a late night show with them, it'll just be more of the same. The Internet is the last Wild West this world has. Help us fill it with dick jokes. This is the Most O'Brien-Friendly Comedy Outlet on The Planet
Just to be on the safe side, I called Wikipedia and asked how many O'Briens worked on Saturday Night Live, and do you know how many I found? Two. Two O'Briens in the show's 35 years. How many O'Briens worked on The Simpsons? Two. How many O'Briens worked for Second City? I forgot to check. My point is, Cracked.com employs one O'Brien writer/Editor-in-Chief, one O'Brien columnist/level 5 sex-mage, and one O'Brien composer for our groundbreaking original web series. We've got a buttload of O'Briens, that's just sort of how things go around here. It's practically our motto.
Join us, and you won't just be the sole O'Brien trying desperately to keep an organization afloat. You will be one in an army of (four) O'Briens, confusing the comedy world with our use of apostrophes right in the middle of our names. Has anyone ever accidentally spelled your name "O'Brian"? Join us, and you can make them pay. Probably.
We Hate Jay Leno Over Here
It's true, we do. We can't argue with his ratings: People loved him as host of The Tonight Show. We can argue with his jokes, though. They suck. (See? Told you we could argue with them.) Leno represents the middle-of-the-road, lowest common denominator type of comedy that we've come to loathe in our many years of dicking around on the Internet. We're not exactly high brow, we're just sort of the Gentleman's Choice for Dick Jokes. Picture a dick with a top hat and maybe a faint mustache. That's us. And Jay Leno's... I don't know. A dick in sweat pants, or a dick... hosting The Tonight Show, I guess, I didn't actually think this through. My point is, your ratings were low because the kind of people who like your comedy are the kind of people who don't watch late night talk shows. Or if they do, they watch The Daily Show and Colbert.
If you're wondering why you didn't make a killing in the ratings, or why the affiliates don't have your back, it's because your audience is on the Internet. We're huge, we just happen to be online, having abandoned television years ago after some perceived nerd slight. The ruining of Heroes, perhaps, or the destruction of the Star Trek franchise by Scott Bakula or something. We're all here, and we're all waiting for you to come out and save us. (Have you seen the Internet lately? It's awful.)
Join us, Conan.