Conan O'Brien

Conan VIII: "What Am I Doing Here?"

Maybe Conan O'Brien is starting to realize where he ended up.

After being courted by NBC, ABC and Fox, he ended up at TBS. That's not TNT, the home of terrific original dramas; it's a sister channel known for sitcom reruns and "Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns."

Wrapping up his second week tonight, O'Brien had a so-so monolog, with a couple good lines. In the next generation, he said, whites will be in the minority in Great Britain. "As a precaution, people have changed the name to 'Tyler Perry's Great Britain.'"

Conan VII has some Brand-name entertainment

Tonight's "Conan" was what late-night shows should be. It started with 42 minutes (less the time for commercials) of non-stop comedy.

David Letterman and others used to be like that. After the monolog and an offbeat sketch, a stand-up comedian would sit down with the host and keep the laughs rolling.

Then someone decided viewers wanted starpower. The first guest would be a big-name actor or actress; the laughs would stop. This became so ingrained that Jimmy Fallon's very first guest was Robert DeNiro; he is not, Fallon admitted later, a verbal man.

Conan VI: What? Harrison Ford is funny?

You know that life is odd when Harrison Ford is the funniest guy on a show.

It turned out that way on tonight's "Conan." Ford worked that dry-and-dour image to perfection, drawing some huge laughs. By comparison, host Conan O'Brien had a mixed night and comedian Reggie Watts drew no crowd reaction during his first couple minutes, before finally catching on.

Here are a few of my thoughts on the sixth night of "Conan"; please add yours:

Conan V: Settling for sorta-good

Maybe this is all we can expect from Conan O'Brien's new show -- something light and sorta-fun, easy to watch and easy to forget.

The second week began tonight and O'Brien seemed to be settled into his zone of OK-ness.

The problem is that O'Brien isn't a stand-up comedian and often does only a brief stand-up bit. His mind leans toward odd little bits and pieces, often visual.

Conan's week: An overview

Now it's pause-and-reload time for Conan O'Brien.


If you've read my previous blogs, you know I thought it was an up-and-down first week for "Conan." Now here's an overall commentary that I sent to papers; it repeats some of the points (and some of O'Brien's jokes) from the blogs, but also ties things together.

Conan III: A good list, anyway

Sometimes, a top-10 list doesn't have to be billed as a top-10 list.

Conan O'Brien had a dandy one tonight, on the third round of "Conan" on TBS. Viewers knew the basics -- the towering redhead, sometimes called "Coco," had moved to cable (leading into the George Lopez show) after his NBC plans fell through. Now he offered some of show titles that were rejected, before "Conan" was chosen:

-- "Plan B With Conan O'Brien"

-- "One Hour to Lopez"

-- "TheBig 'C'"

Conan II: Hanks, yes; rest, no

"You have taken the chat-show format and blown it out of the water," Tom Hanks told Conan O'Brien tonight.

He said it with that Hanks-style tone of sarcasm. In truth, tonight's episode -- the second night of "Conan" on TBS -- was standard, old-school talk. Hanks was great; the rest was so-so.

O'Brien did venture into topical humor: Apple was selling its computer in China, he said; that offers "an exciting opportunity to sell i-pods to the very kids who make them."

Conan's first night: Mostly terrific

So there was Conan O'Brien, explaining his jump to the semi-obscure TBS. "It's not easy being on a channel without a lot of money, that the viewers have trouble finding," he said. "So that's why I left NBC."

It was the kind of joke that perfectly fit his jump. Overall, the debut of his show (11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays) was 80-percent terrific.

I'm back; also, Conan is wrong

For a couple weeks, you may have noticed, nothing was happening on this Web site. There were no new blogs, no new TV columns, no signs of life.

That was due to a quirky hotel system, which may or may not have been biased against the island of Tuvelo. Now, however, things are back to normal. I've updated the TV columns through tonight and will soon add more, through the weekend.

Also, I have a lot to blog about. First, I should explain:

A better Conan


OK, Conan O'Brien's third "Tonight Show" was much better than the first two.  That's because:

-- He finally had two people on the couch, the way Johnny Carson used to do it. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bradley Cooper were able to have some exchanges; that sort of thing happened a lot, back when these were called "talk shows."

-- Instead of having a complex and semi-funny filmed bit, he did a variation on "The Year 2000." That is, simply, joke after joke after joke; it's fun.