I'm Selling My Tonight Show Ticket!

Out of the blue, Andrew called me last week to ask if I would like to attend the taping of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien later in the afternoon. He claimed he didn’t quite remember when he signed up for the tickets (booze and pills will do that), but now, a couple of months later, his turn had arrived. Just moments earlier, I had read the news that Conan O’Brien had officially rejected NBC’s offer to bump his show back to 12:05 am, meaning he would be leaving the network. With all of this drama occurring, how could I turn down an opportunity like that?

I’ve always liked Conan, but truthfully, I rarely watched his show. When it comes to late-night, I’m firmly in Camp David (of the Letterman variety) and have been since childhood. Sure, Letterman is a sourpuss, but I reckon he’s had a large influence on how my sense of humor developed, so it’s hard to just abandon that. Nevertheless, even if I don’t watch Conan with any regularity, I do admire him greatly. In a way, I see him as a kindred spirit. We both have messy hair and bizarre yet ultimately charming personalities. However, the real similarity that I have noticed is that whenever we aren’t sure how to fill time, we both resort to doing funny dances in the hopes of being entertainment. I’m not sure why I do that (or Conan for that matter), but I do.

What I do know is Jay Leno. I cannot stand how unfunny Leno is. The man will tell Monica Lewinski jokes until he dies. One time in college, someone approached me with a video camera and asked whether I preferred Leno or Letterman. I went on an extended rant about how Letterman was far superior and more intelligent while Leno was comedy for bumpkins and people who prefer knock-knock jokes. I forgot about the interview until a few months later when I found myself on screen at a student screening. Whoever made the video cleverly inter-cut my cries of Leno fans’ idiocy with another guy who said he just liked Leno better but couldn’t articulate why. This wasn’t just any random guy, it was coincidentally a classmate of mine who, yes, I did believe to be stupid, but I never realized that this particular guy was also involved and that my comments would be used to make him look like a real dolt. That led to an awkward interaction in our next class, so I felt a little bad, but I don’t take back anything I said. I meant it and I still mean it. Leno sucks.

That said, I do think Leno has been vilified. The NBC executives are the real assholes in this situation, so I’d be tempted to cut Leno some slack if it weren’t for this video from 2004 where he claims he will be gracious about the passing of the torch, even though as things transpired, he has been anything but:

After a lengthy wait in a holding pen, we were allowed to file into the studio and take seats. It was a really entertaining show. Sure, 90% of the jokes related to Conan’s situation with NBC, but they were hysterical and topical, and not to mention biting. Though there was a great deal of slagging off NBC, Conan more so remained self-deprecating, a trait I appreciate. The guests were Tom Brokaw (who was surprisingly funny), the guy who plays Chuck on Chuck (who Allison accurately labeled a tool), and Rosanne Cash. Cash wasn’t someone I had heard of, but Allison had coincidentally received her album for Christmas (ah, Texans and their country music) and explained that she is Johnny Cash’s daughter. Moreover, her latest CD consists of a list of songs that her dad said were essential country songs that everyone must know. “So she is really cashing in on her dad’s fame, then?” I asked. And I didn’t even mean the pun.

On our way out, a news crew tried to stop us to share our opinions on the late-night controversy, and even though I paused for a second trying to think of something relevant or witty to share, I ultimately decided to keep walking because it seemed more appropriate to have a more ardent Conan fan share his feelings instead.

Still, I came away with warm feelings about Conan that day and how he kept his chin (not a Leno reference) up despite the impending setbacks. Arriving home, I read through his press release announcing that he would not continue on with Tonight Show from earlier in the day, and was especially struck by this:

In the last few days, I've been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I've been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I've been absurdly lucky. That said, I've been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

I am impressed that Conan is able to keep things in perspective and I appreciate him not asking for sympathy. Most people would give anything for a fraction of the success Conan has found, so he overall he is a very fortunate person indeed. While this ordeal with the network makes it compelling entertainment news and gossip, it isn’t nearly as bad as the situation in Haiti, for example, though the news coverage might not indicate that distinction.

With that in mind, I decided it might be nice to put my Tonight Show ticket and wristband on EBay for purchase with all of the money going toward the Red Cross/Haiti. If anything, I almost feel guilty as a casual fan for taking a seat at one of the last shows knowing how many serious fans would have killed for that ticket, so I figure it might be nice to give someone the memorabilia who would fully appreciate and also help out some people who have had it far worse than Conan.

So bid and bid generously and pass the following link on to other Conan fans!
Tonight Show Conan O'Brien Ticket: day he quit $toHaiti


Anonymous said...

You couldn't be more mistaken in assuming that Rosanne Cash is "cashing in" on her father's fame. Since you're not familiar with her work, it's worth noting that she's had a 30+ year career writing and producing her own songs, and has earned gold records and Grammys for those tunes. She's been fiercely avoiding trading in on her father's fame for years, FYI. This album was the first time she openly embraced that connection and made it a primary focus of the work.

Anonymous said...

She couldn't cash in on him any more if dug him up and picked his pockets.
How dare you accuse Kevin of being mistaken, you goon.