"No, that isn't Rotwang. But I wish."
"Conan Obrien at Radio City Music Hall"
Last week, I attended the June 1st, 2010 Conan Obrien Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour live show at Radio City. Along with me was my old college roomate, who is even more of a huge nerd than I. (Smarter than me, but less sexy.) He flew in from California on vacation, and this was the main event of his trip.
If they ever put these shows on DVD after Conan's contractual limitations end, then you may end up seeing the recording of it someday. As such, my description of it here may have spoilers. So, before I spoil anything, here's the stuff that doesn't spoil anything. (The "preserves"?)
If you've been asleep for months and you're not following this whole drama- NBC decided to move Jay Leno back to 11:35, Jay said "sounds good to me!", and Conan said "um no, I'm walking, you assholes". The result of that was the I'm With Coco movement. Including several protests and rallies nationwide. I tried to attend one at Rockafeller Center in March, (with plans to record it and make a FOD video out of it), but it got broken up by police before I got there. As if 500 nerdy white people are really ever going to get out of hand.
Conan was legally prohibited from being on television, film, or the internet. So he went on tour, doing a show along with the usuals from his show- the band, Andy Richter, and his writers. And my favorite- Triumph, The Insult Comic Dog.
I bought the mid-priced, $65 seats. We were around the middle of the floor level, over on the left, in the middle of our row.
I will say this- you know how Conan jokes about being physically inferior and out of shape? He's lying. He was running around doing crazy stuff the entire show. Playing songs, singing, running up into the mezzanine seats. I was out of breath watching him, and I'm in my 30's. He's in his mid-40's.
Now for the spoilers:
The opening guy, Reggie Watts, was *amazing*. He did 1/2 hour of... abstract music-supported awesome artistic stuff. Just amazing! He was so abstract that when Conan came on to do his monologue, his humor felt so left brained and mainstream. They actually did an intermission after him, which I thought was kind of weird. I mean it was only 45 mins in to a 3 hour show.
So then after Reggie and the intermission, they show a video. The video starts with a closeup of Conan. Like VERY closeup, on his eyes and nose and beard. And it zooms back slowly and reveals that he is lying on the floor surrounded by beer bottles and open pizza boxes, and wearing a fat suit. It's a very funny video and later it involved his daughter, who is very cute.
Conan comes on after video and does his monologue. My favorite joke was "I was so depressed I was hearing voices. Voices saying things like 'Daddy, we need food'. Bah, you kids get out of my way." Also of note was Conan randomly trying to get the crowd to chant "USA! USA! USA!", and then pointing out that patriotism totally doesn't logically follow what he just said. He did that two or three times.
When Andy was introduced, he came on singing the trololo song.
I don't remember the order of operations here, but, at some point, they play a video of Triumph. I didn't know whether or not he had the legal rights to still have Triumph. But here he is, doing a "Mad-Lib" comedy bit. The crowd was upset about the Brooklyn Lager line. And rightfully so. (Myself, I like Brooklyn IPA, from the same brewery.) My favorite line is "The state flower is... Anderson Cooper."
There were a couple more routines and videos. Conan brought out the masturbating bear, and said "I can't legally have you here, so ladies and gentlemen, I want to introduce you to... the Self Pleasuring Panda." And he puts a panda mask over the masturbating bear, who then self-pleasures himself.
The musical guest was Vampire Weekend, who did a more punk-rockish version of their song Walcott, with Conan playing rhythm guitar on their request.
Finally, we get to the big event. The surprise guests. Steven Colbert (my single favorite man in show business), comes out and gets in a "fight" with Conan and they agree to a dance-off to settle it. I don't need to narrate since there's video (again, not my video):this video too, which includes the "Self Pleasuring Panda" bit.
Finally, Conan does the Walker Texas Ranger Lever. He plays one clip, and then has celebrity guests come out and pull the lever: Bill Hader from SNL, John Krasinski from the Office (who used to be a page for Conan's old 12:35 show, btw), and finally Paul Rudd. The big finale clip was this one.
Conan sings one last song, a variation of that "at first I was afraid, I was petrified..." song, whatever it's called. Then he leaves, but the stage lights are still on. And we all know he's going to encore. And this goes on and on. The crowd started chanting "USA! USA! USA!" to get him back on. But then that died down. Finally he comes back on and sings that "Take a load off, Manny" song, and then runs down the aisle in the middle of it, and then runs up onto the mezzanine, and then runs down the stepped aisle balcony (if you've ever been to Radio City you know what I mean), to get back to the stage and finish the song.
All in all, a 3 hour show. Easily worth the $65 I spent.
I don't have a clever/snide Rotwang take on any of this. (For once.) That's alls I gots, peoples's. There it is.