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Late-night guilt: I say I love Conan O'Brien but rarely watch 'The Tonight Show'

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Shame spiral! I’m about to get all confessional and whiny for a minute, so please move on if you don’t want to read my freaking diary. Don’t look at me! I’m a monster! I have Barry Manilow-clearly-wishes-he-were-Clay Aiken face! It’s not him; it’s me. I am the problem. I have guilt issues re: Conan O’Brien.

For the past few years or so, but especially in 2009, I’ve been suffering severe late-night fatigue. I love TV, but there is just too much of it on and frankly I can barely keep up with prime time. My DVR might say that it is 12:15 a.m. but whatever I’m playing on-screen is probably from like 9:07 p.m. I can never catch up, and when I do “make it” to late-night, usually around 1 or 2 a.m., I typically end up choosing The Daily Show or The Colbert Report because they’re only 22 minutes long without commercials, and because if I miraculously end up watching both, it’ll feel like a bigger personal accomplishment. Hey, look at me. I watched two shows. What a Triumph!

The thing is, I’m a fan of Conan. I’ve had good times with his show(s) and did watch him much more when he was on later at night. I worshipped his strike beard and named it the prettiest strike beard in all the land. I even got to go to his EW cover shoot and nervously interview him on-camera and play with a chimp. Every time I see him in action, I appreciate his incoherent mumbling more and wonder what the hell is wrong with me for not watching more often. I love Conan in theory, but boy am I crappy at loving him in practice.

And it’s not just Conan — it’s Ferguson and Letterman and Kimmel and yes even Fallon sometimes. (This = genius.) They are all funny and their staffs all somehow produce an hour — an hour! — of new programming every night. And I don’t watch it. And then it’s the next night, and they’re all on again, and what do I do? I press play on Project Runway at 11:30 because I got home at 8:30 and spent the rest of prime time on 30 Rock and catching up on the week in Idol while halfheartedly staring at my laptop instead and literally eating my life away. Madness! But at that moment, I’d tell you it was totally reasonable to not watch late-night at night because if anything truly ridiculous were to happen, I could easily watch it on the stupid internet the next day. That’s the problem. So here we are. Hi.

Anyway, I’m sorry I took you for granted, My Pretty Conan. Your mane is so beautiful.

Anyone else love Conan but feel like you let him down? Let’s console each other, because it’s really all about us, in the comments.

Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

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