Conan O’Brien brought his 32-city “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On TV Tour” to Universal City last night in Los Angeles – and the irony wasn’t lost on the 46-year-old funny man. “This is my first time back to Universal Studios since I lost my job,” he quipped to the sold-out house at the Gibson Amphitheatre, which O’Brien said was less than 400 yards away from his old Tonight Show soundstage. “Sit back and enjoy an incredibly awkward show.
“Listen very carefully,” he added as he pointed in the direction of the NBC-Universal lot. “Bad ideas are being greenlit.” As for why he decided to come back to his old stomping grounds, O’Brien joked “my Cobra insurance was about to run out.”
Like his previous shows, old friends like sidekick-turned-announcer Andy Richter helped anchor the festivities, while a new collection of celebrity guests like Jonah Hill (Superbad), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), and Aziz Ansari (Parks & Recreation) helped to faciliate an old O’Brien show staple involving outrageous clips from Walker, Texas Ranger (though the bit is now named the Chuck Norris Rural Policeman Handle). But the biggest surprise of the night involved Jim Carrey, who came on stage dressed in a Superman costume to join O’Brien in a duet of “It’s Not Easy to be Me.” The crowd roared and gave them a standing ovation.
“I want you to leave here thinking `that was sort of worth it,'” O’Brien joked about the show.
The day O’Brien began his tour in Oregon, TBS announced that O’Brien will host an 11 p.m. talk show for the cabler beginning in November. The question that now lingers is where O’Brien will tape the much-anticipated show in Los Angeles. Though O’Brien had fun with the idea of returning to Universal Studios last night, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he would consider using his old Tonight Show set. After all, NBC spent a reported $50 million to overhaul the former sound stage of the Jack Benny show and the original Knight Rider TV series into a lavish home especially for O’Brien. Now that O’Brien’s left NBC and Jay Leno is back at 11:30 p.m., the fancy set remains vacant.
Meanwhile, business continues to look up for O’Brien – who remains contractually obligated to stay off of TV and radio until September. The comedian’s production company, Conaco, is reportedly close to signing a development deal with TBS’ sister company, Warner Bros. TV to create new series.
O’Brien is set to perform again tonight at the Gibson Amphitheatre before moving on to cities like Phoenix, Dallas and Boston.