Yes, the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien is almost over already. What the hell, NBC? really doesn't even begin to cover it. I really didn't think we'd be here already, but here we are. Tonight, I follow last year's liveblog of the Late Night finale with one of the Tonight Show finale!
Stay tuned tonight for the actual liveblog at 11:35 EST!
Let's have fun on television!
(11:33) Alright, Conan's about to start. letting you guys know the liveblog's about to begin here.
(11:35) It begins! Final monologue time.
(11:36) "Ladies and gentlemen, we have exactly one hour to steal every item in this studio.
Andy: "I'm gonna push this podium home!"
(11:37) Conan clarified that the terms of his contract say that he can't host another show for 7 months. (C'mon, Fox in September!) Announcement of a new Animal Planet show hosted by Andy with Conan as his sidekick, Andy putting Conan in charge of Kitten Corner!
(11:38) Conan to HBO: When you make the movie about this, "I would like to be played by Academy Award-winning actress Tilda Swinton."
Andy: "It works! I'm hoping for Val Kilmer."
(11:39) A list of possible uses for the studio including "Waterpark for Max Weinberg's illegitimate children," "Studio preserved as a nice, quiet, peaceful place where the cast of "Chuck" can be alone with their thoughts," "Leave the studio empty and rename it "World's Largest Metaphor for all NBC Programming.""
(11:41) They can do whatever they want and NBC has to pay for it. Wednesday night's intentionally unfunny expensive sketch was a Bougatti Veyron Mouse with an original Rolling Stones recording for $1.5 million, Thursday night's sketch involved the most recent Kentucky Derby winner, "Mine That Bird," wearing a mink Snuggie and watching unlicensed Super Bowl footage.
(11:42) Tonight's expensive sketch? A skeleton of a giant groundsloth on loan from the Smithsonian spraying beluga caviar on an original Picasso for $65 million. Conan then had to point out that these bits weren't real since a lot of people were seriously bothered online by the idea of buying a real mink coat for a horse and their now pretending to ruin an original Picasso.
(11:44) A montage of comedy bits, remotes and segments from the show's entire 7 month run to Cheap Trick's "Surrender." I am really going to miss this show. So much great footage.
(11:46) The montage ended with "To be continued..." Exactly right. We need a new show this year with Andy, the band, the whole staff, and whatever comedy bits and intellectual properties they can keep around. And we need that new show on a network that'll appreciate Conan and won't stifle his creativity and strangeness, where NBC tried to tone him down as much as they could at 11:35.
(11:47) Tonight's guests. Tom Hanks from the second show back in June. Then Will Ferrell, first guest from the very first show, who first commented that it wouldn't last on that show. And the fantastic Neil Young as the musical guest. Flawless final show lineup.
(11:48) First commercial break. Valentine's Day: Not Paris, Je'Taime. Won't be subjecting myself to that. Sorry Fallon, you're trying, but you're no Conan. I think more of you than Jay Leno, at least. Recall that NBC never promoted Conan on Late Night even half as much as they do Jimmy. From second fiddle to Leno to third fiddle after Leno and Fallon. NBC doesn't know comedy greatness when they've got it.
(11:52) Back from commercial! The Tonight Show Band (Max Weinberg 7 plus more!) are indeed the best band on television.
(11:52) HopeforHaitiNow.org - go there and donate, as Conan reminds. This is a big deal, but the late night wars are nothing next to what the Haitians are going through.
(11:53) Steve Carell is out to give Conan an exit interview as another NBC employee! He wasn't on The Office clip show the other night, was he? I don't remember. That episode was sad.
(11:54) "Did anything trigger your decision to leave?" "Yes, kind of, yeah."
(11:55) "Anyone who has ever built an empire or changed the world sat where you are right now. And it's because they sat there that they were able to do it." Carell quoting Up in the Air for apropos comments. And now he's given Conan a packet on continuing education and taken back his NBC ID.
(11:56) Putting Conan's ID through a shredder. (With Andy's help. "I'm sorry, Conan, I just like shredding.") Commercial break again!
(11:58) When in Rome looks like the worst thing Kristen Bell's done in some time. And I liked Veronica Mars, dammit.
(12:00) Back from commercial! Tom Hanks time.
(12:01) "It's been some week, Coco." Conan and Hanks drinking together - cream soda. Only appropriate.
(12:02) Andy has a flask, so he's always set. "You know what they call that? The co-host's little reward." Conan called out that Tom Hanks was the one who coined "Coco" as his nickname on their second show back on June 2nd. Team Coco!
(12:03) "In our house, you will always be host of the Tonight Show. So if you could get there at about 10:45..." "Honestly, Rita and I will try to stay up for the whole hour." "The band had nothing to do with this." "They don't even know what's going on. The saddest part of all this is LaBamba's coming to the empty studio on Monday with his trombone."
(12:04) Commercial break already. Damn how short the hour is. I've been mocking bad movies in the commercials so far - I have to say that Crazy Heart doesn't look terrible, though. See? I'm capable of praising things.
(12:05) One of those "Wrightnows" Netflix ads. But not the one with the fake cat. Surreal. I actually like those ads.
(12:08) Back from commercial with the band playing the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army." Reminiscing about Conan writing on SNL and their meeting when Hanks hosted. "You had the same cone of hair but you still had those Elvis-comes-to-Ireland-" "I had really big sideburns back then."
(12:09) "What I remember about it is that you scared the living daylights out of my kids. "WHO IS THAT TALL PASTY-FACED MAN?!'"
(12:10) Hanks had Conan paste big fake sideburns on to demonstrate how he looked back in '85. "I got real good ideas for ya, Mr. Hanks!" "What're your little funny pieces, kid?" Hanks is getting ready to direct a film with Julia Roberts, about a guy who finds out overnight that he's losing his job. Hrmm!
(12:11) "I could play the guy!" And then giving up the role to Hanks - "It'll be much cheaper if we do it that way." As Hanks points out, "the internet is completely wrong about almost everything."
(12:12) Now discussing Hanks leaving immediately to make the end of the Hope for Haiti Now telethon that just aired on everything tonight. The importance of the cause cannot be emphasized enough. And the interview wrapped up - Hanks got the crowd chanting "Coco!" again like before. There's even a Coco gang sign now. Only appropriate.
(12:15) Watch free episodes at NBC.com! "More colorful," less intelligent. (I'm done with NBC late night now - I still like Chuck, Heroes, Community, Parks and Rec, and The Office, though, so I can't be one of those respectable individuals who're dropping watching the network entirely.)
(12:17) Back from commercial. Neil Young! The first to call and offer to appear when he learned what was happening. Great guy, amazing, legendary musician. Sorry, Fallon, popular as your impression is, there's still no touching the real guy. "Long May You Run" is the perfect sendoff song for the brilliant Conan. He's on to better, greener pastures from here on. NBC's never appreciated him. They'll end up regretting this.
(12:21) Performance finished. Another commercial break. Up next is Will Ferrell! The very first guest - who called the show not lasting as a joke on the first night at the very beginning of his interview - as the very last guest. Very appropriate - like Hanks and Young, Ferrell's a great guy himself.
(12:25) Back again. A massive photo of the show's amazing staff and crew. Nothing but respect to all you gentlemen and ladies - you've done a wonderful job. Conan went over what he could and couldn't say, and he can say whatever he wants on the final show.
(12:26) Conan thanked NBC, looking back at his 20+ years of work there across SNL, Late Night, and the Tonight Show. "Walking away from the Tonight Show is the hardest thing I have ever had to do." "This is the best job in the world, and I have the best staff and crew in the history of the media and I will FIGHT anyone who says I don't."
(12:27) "But despite this sense of loss, I feel this should be a happy moment. Every comedian deserves a chance to host the Tonight Show, and for 7 months I got to do it." "I do not regret one second of what I've done here."
(12:28) "If our next gig is a show in a 7/11 parking lot, we will find a way to make it fun." Addressing the fans: "The fact that people have traveled long distances and camped out all night in the pouring rain - it's pouring! It's been pouring for days and they're camping out to be in our audience!" "You have made a sat situation joyous and inspirational."
(12:29) "All I ask is one thing: please do not be cynical. For the record, it's my least favorite quality." "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they would get. If you work hard, and are kind, amazing things will happen - I'm telling you, amazing things will happen. Its true. It's true! Ladies and gentlemen, let's make something amazing now."
(12:30) To close the show, a few good friends led by Will Ferrell. Ferrell dressed up to perform as a musical guest. Time for Ferrell and his group of musicians to rock out with Conan. The Tonight Show Bands there, and I'm seeing at least one member of ZZ Top. Ben Harper, Beck, and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons - they're all performing Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" together. Beautiful, perfect way to wrap the final show.
(12:34) We've all got a fever. The only cure? MORE COWBELL. (For those who don't know the source, go look up the classic Christopher Walken hosted SNL sketch with Ferrell, Chris Parnell, and Chris Kattan (Possibly Fallon too, I don't remember) playing Blue Oyster Cult.)
(12:35) The end credits began. This topped even the "End of the Show Song" Conan sang last night.
(12:36) It ends once and for all.
(12:37) And cut to Jimmy Fallon. NBC is, from now on back to their old late night schedule, except without Conan to redeem it. From now on, for me, it'll be back to watching Stephen Colbert's original airings in their entirely, then possibly some Letterman and more Craig Ferguson over on CBS.
Well, that's it. No Conan for 7 months or more. Everyone's hoping we'll see him back in as early in September as possible over on Fox, seeing as they'd offered him a new show years ago - NBC having given him the Tonight Show to keep him from leaving, only to continue not to treat him well. It's unfortunate, and in retrospect, Conan probably should have taken the Fox show, where he would have been treated better - one hopes - by a network that realizes his brilliance as a comedian instead of treating him like so much of a castoff second fiddle or third wheel as NBC so often did. But we can't be cynical - Conan wouldn't want it that way, and he doesn't regret the choices he's made or the seven months he got to host the Tonight Show for. NBC and Leno took his dream from him, but for those months, he got to live it - that's more than most of us can ever say about our dreams.
It's impossible to say what lies in the future, but I'll be keeping my eyes glued to the entertainment scene with everyone else on Team Conan, looking forward to news of a triumphant return this fall with as many returning characters and comedy sketches from his previous shows as at all feasible. (We never did see any staring contests on the Tonight Show, for that matter - those were Conan and Andy classics.) If they return to New York, we could even possibly see Abe Vigoda again, who sadly never made an appearance on the Tonight Show. And one hopes Triumph the Insult Comic Dog belongs to Robert Smigel so we might see him yet in the future too.
Its' a weird feeling, not having any Conan to watch after Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert now, with nothing else set in stone for late night's greatest and most downtrodden. But we've got to keep our chins up and our eyes on the horizon, like Conan. He's moving on to new and better things - we haven't seen the last of him by a long shot. So let's try not to be cynical, and just look forward to what lies ahead. Best wishes to every single person involved with the show, both in front of and behind the camera. Here's hoping you guys get to stick together on the next show - it was a loss when Joel was gone, and we don't want to lose Andy, Max, the band, or any of you working so hard behind the scenes to make the show as great as it was. You all did an amazing job. Wherever you go, Conan, come back to us soon. We all miss you already.