Conan: Playing out the string (dance)

January 22, 2010

Some thoughts on Conan’s exit from “The Tonight Show.”

  • NBC reportedly keeps ownership of the characters and bits Conan and his staff created while at the network. Does that include The String Dance?  Or will Conan claim that’s just an extremely nervous tick?
  • Wherever and whenever Conan returns to TV, I’d expect he’ll have appearances by a dog puppet named something like Victory the Even More Insulting Comic Dog. Smoking a pipe, perhaps.
  • My hope is that Conan returns to the looser, edgier comic stylings that marked “Late Night With Conan O’Brien.” I thought Conan’s “Tonight Show” was a much watered-down version of “Late Night,” which is why I’m not at all sad to see it go. Even worse, Conan’s “Tonight Show” rarely featured the cool indie bands that were a staple of his “Late Night” (thank goodness Spoon appeared this past week). Just look at the musical guest on Thursday night’s show, during the supposedly “we can do anything” home stretch: Barry Manilow. Come on, Conan. Get back to where you once belonged.

TV Twists and Turns: Jay, Conan, Simon, Sarah and more

January 13, 2010

Silly walk

October 5, 2009

It was 40 years ago today …

Monty Python’s Flying Circus first hit the British airwaves on Oct. 5, 1969. Suddenly, I feel like doing the Silly Walk.

Well, most of the time I feel like doing the Silly Walk. But today I have a good excuse.


Slap Chop!

July 3, 2009

I just saw a commercial for the Slap Chop. Just $19.95 (plus S&H)! And you get a free Graty! The Shamwow guy says I’ll have an exciting life if I buy the Slap Chop!

Great. Now I’m not gonna be able to sleep.

Wait. Did he say, “You’re gonna love my nuts”?

Hoping Conan’s “Tonight” is better tomorrow

June 2, 2009
© 2009 Chuck Ingwersen

© 2009 Chuck Ingwersen

Quickie observations on Conan’s “Tonight Show” debut:

  • I enjoyed the opening bit that saw Conan running from New York to his new studio in Hollywood, all the more because it went on longer than it should have. Heck, it’s just funny to watch Conan run.
  • The other two “remote” bits — the Universal tour bus and Conan’s trusty Taurus — didn’t measure up to Conan’s typically stellar remotes.
  • String dance … check.
  • Andy Richter might go looking for another sitcom if he’s going to be so underused. But I suspect Andy’s role will increase quite a bit … and sooner than later. I’m betting on “In the Year 2000” in this first week, and perhaps a staring contest. No, wait: Conan and Andy “drive the desk” through Hollywood!
  • The newly built studio/set was too big and high-gloss for my taste. I already miss the intimacy of Conan’s cozy digs in 30 Rock (the building, not the Tina Fey show).
  • The Will Ferrell interview segment was pretty bland as far as Will Ferrell appearances usually go. 
  • Was it just my TV, or did Pearl Jam sound like they were playing underwater?
  • All in all, I found it disappointing. Conan seemed uptight — make that more uptight than usual — for much of the night, and the show felt overproduced. No surprises there, considering it was show No. 1. Here’s hoping Conan and Co. can regain the charm and looseness of “Late Night” within the more constricting confines of “The Tonight Show.”

Heeeeeeeere’s Conan!

May 29, 2009
 © 2009 Chuck Ingwersen 


© 2009 Chuck Ingwersen

Here’s a quickie animation I did in honor of Conan O’Brien’s return to TV. I’m glad Conan’s debut as host of The Tonight Show is just days away. I’ve missed the big, red-headed goofball. What are the odds he’ll do “The String Dance” at the outset of his monologue Monday night? Pretty good, I’d say. I just hope he does it better than he’s doing it over there to the left.

Conan will be a guest tonight on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show farewell show. Should be interesting. Well, it will be for a late-night talk show geek like me, anyway.

Tina Fey as Palin again, and a legitimately funny SNL

October 6, 2008
© 2008 Chuck Ingwersen 


© 2008 Chuck Ingwersen


So, I recorded Saturday Night Live just to see if Tina Fey would reprise her Sarah Palin skewering in the wake of the VP debate. And despite the fact that many pundits claimed Palin had delivered a Fey-proof performance last Thursday night (ha!), there was Tina as Sarah, and Jason Sudeikis as Joe Biden, in a fairly predictable but still funny send-up of the debate. 

The sketch couldn’t have started much better:

FEY as PALIN: “Can I call you ‘Joe’?”


FEY as PALIN: “OK, ’cause I practiced a couple of zingers where I call you Joe.”

And later, another favorite moment:

FEY as PALIN: “We’re gonna take every aspect of the (financial) crisis and look at it and then we’re gonna ask ourselves, ‘What would a maverick do in this situation?”’ And then, you know, we’ll do that.” (wink)

No surprise that Tina came back and had me laughing from the outset. What was surprising was that my wife and I kept watching — and kept laughing — after that opening segment. We’ve dropped in on SNL sporadically in recent years and have found it painfully unfunny with a few exceptions. But Saturday’s show was one of the funniest I’ve seen in ages. Guest host Anne Hathaway was excellent. Sketches were sharply written and performed — and didn’t overstay their welcome. Weekend Update was a hoot.

My feeling is that the heat Fey is bringing in the now-weekly Palin sketches has raised the game of the show’s writers and performers. I realize that Fey not long ago was a regular cast member, but the Fey-as-Palin sketches have become a phenomenon. It’s the new must-see TV (and hard to miss on the Web).

Anyone else see Saturday’s show and think it was much better than SNLs of recent vintage?