I saw the other Conan last night. The missus and I went to a taping of Conan O’Brien’s “Late Night” show. She’d bid on (free) VIP tickets at our daughter’s school auction and won. It was worth doing — once. The NBC ushers treat you like five-year-olds. You have to wait in line, sweating, for a long time. When you get in, the warm-up comic even makes jokes about how crappily you get treated. Still, it was interesting to see how they do the show. And some of it was actually entertaining. That Jeff Corwin guy brought some cool animals and the Max Weinberg 7 (the house band) was really just awesome. The lowlight, other than feeling like Cool Hand Luke around the ushers-with-no-eyes (“take a leak boss?”), was the main “star” guest: Mario Lopez. My wife to her eternal credit had no idea who he was until he actually came out and then she vaguely recognized him. Unfortunately, I would know AC Slater anywhere, and I’ve never, ever, liked the guy. I know he’s supposed to be quite the ladies man, but I’ve always found him sexually indeterminate in a particularly annoying way. Also who can forgive him for his two-dimensional portrayal of Greg Louganis in Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story?
Anyway, Conan O’Brien’s a legitimately talented and weird dude. Disturbingly skinny, particularly for someone so tall, he looks especially odd because there’s something about his face that just doesn’t seem right. It’s both expressive and sort of dead — like he’s wearing an ill-fitting Conan O’Brien mask. He worked the audience very well, and came across as a very decent guy, which I’d always assumed. I thought it was interesting that O’Brien’s opening monologue is delivered more or less to a wall, rather than the audience. When you watch it on TV you’d think he was talking to the audience, despite the obvious cue cards. But the audience is really about fifteen feet over his head when he’s doing his opening bit.
Anyway, it was a fun thing to do. If you’re in New York sometime you might look into getting tickets. As I said, they’re free. Or you can pay through the nose at my daughter’s school auction next year.