Today is the day: Conan O'Brien at Radio City Music Hall.
Here's a quick overview in today's paper.
(I expect a different show, or somewhat different show from the one that's almost fully available on Youtube, albeit in bits and pieces...The show is now in New York, home turf, across the street from where it all started some 20 years ago. How could he not do something different, more energized, more New York centric...?)
"The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour," today and tomorrow, Radio City Music Hall.
What it's about: Conan O'Brien, the Guy Who Used to Host "Tonight," returns to the city where it all started, and (specifically) right across the street from where it all started. The "Tour" runs for a couple nights here before heading up to Boston, and ending in Atlanta on the 14th.
What's the critical reaction been like? Reasonably good, to very good. "Thank you, NBC, for canning Conan O'Brien," ominously began the review in the Edmonton Journal...because that allowed Coco to come to Edmonton! (Not everyone has been so kind - the Toronto Star called the material "dated and self-serving...")
What's the biggest surprise? The music - as in, there's almost more of that than the comedy. (Yes, I'm starting to get visions of a red-haired Garrison Keillor and a seriously bent “Prairie Home Companion” at this very moment.) The show and band kick off with Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up," while Conan sings/performs Tony Joe White’s "Polk Salad Annie" (with the aid of backup singers, the Coquettes) among other chestnuts.
Does NBC come in for a good, solid drubbing? By legal agreement, the answer would be "no' - and that's a good thing because we really are SO over that, Co, and would hope you are too. Still, there are jibes here and there. With the network right across the street, this should form a key part of tonight’s show. For now, the question is – how…?
Any of his/our favorite characters or bits? Yes indeed? Triumph...the-self-pleasuring bear, now a panda...while a key part of the show are the comically photo-shopped "Walker Texas Ranger" clips, summoned by use of a lever. (On the West Coast leg, he got Seth Green, Aziz Ansari, Jonah Hill, Sarah Silverman and others to pull the lever...)
His style? Antic and self-deprecating. "People say I look like Paul Bunyan with an eating disorder, or the Brawny paper towel guy before a transplant," and so on. A popular, and genuinely funny bit - the eight stages of mourning the loss of your TV show. One of them: "Buying everything that Amazon says I would also like..."