A little over nine months after leaving The Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien gave birth to Conan on Monday night, and the baby arrived looking both familiar and a little tired.
Conan commenced with a taped bit about O’Brien’s departure from NBC, complete with a lamely repeated-three-times Godfather joke about the host getting gunned down. When he bounded out to greet the studio audience, he said the applause “lasted longer than my last job.” Sheesh. It was great, however, to see Andy Richter’s joyously deadpan reactions, and my colleague Mandi Bierly was correct in ascertaining that Conan’s first guest would be Arlene Wagner, of the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum. O’Brien showed off the perhaps intentionally cheap-looking set, with the redeeming feature of a glowing moon that bounced like a beach ball.
After that, Conan settled into talk-show-as-usual mode. Seth Rogen, affable as always, came out and told some “weed” jokes. Glee‘s Lea Michele came out and burbled, “I’m so happy for you! This is so awesome!” O’Brien brought up the controversial GQ photo spread and Michele’s explanation was show-biz perfect: The photographer was “such an icon” that the Glee folks just went with the flow, and “we were having a good time.” Conan provided a sight-gag: A picture of himself in high school, placed in one of the magazine shots of Michele.
Really, the funniest moment was the use of one of O’Brien’s old stand-bys, the Masturbating Bear, who was wedged into a taped bit in which lottery balls were pulled from his, um, sack.
The hour ended with Conan and Jack White doing a fun rockabilly number, and engaging in what was easily the evening’s most spontaneous, amusing interview.
All in all, pleasant, if a bit underwhelming. Agree? Disagree?