Today is the 1 week Anniversary of Conan O'Brien signing off from Late Nite with Conan O'Brien for good. Conan isn't done with entertainment, late night television, or NBC. As a matter of fact, Conan is actually being promoted, in a sense, to the 11:30 slot to host the hallowed Tonight Show.
But for some reason, it really feels like Conan is gone. He tearfully thanked everyone who helped him, said his goodbyes and has remained absent from the public eye for seven days.
So now, since the timing feels right and I may not get the chance later, I would like to say a little about Conan O'Brien and how he has impacted my life.
I remember the first time I watched Late Nite very clearly.
It was Christmas night....not Christmas Eve's night, but Christmas night, 2002 (I guess the timing technically makes it December 26, 2002). Anyway, it was Christmas and I was laying down on the family room couch puking my guts out. I had overindulged quite a bit on chocolates and sweets that Holy Day and was now dearly paying the price for it. My new sleeping bag was covered in vomit, the four clementines I had just consumed were no longer in my body, I was miserable and my mother just happened to have the TV tuned to a peculiar late night program with a tall, pallid Irishman. As I recovered and rehydrated from my regurgitory episode I watched and laughed as Conan O'Brien toured the suburbs of upstate New York looking for awful Christmas decorations. From that day on I developed an intense taste aversion toward clementines.....but I also had an equally intense love for Conan O'Brien.
Most kids probably look forward to summer for the sunshine, activities and freedom of school, but I always looked forward to summer because it meant I would be able to stay up late enough to watch Late Nite. Indeed, every summer from 8th Grade through Junior year of High School, I would stay up until 1:30 in the morning to watch Conan, then wake up around noon the next day. I actually loathed the weekends because it meant there was nothing for me to do during late nights , other than, you know: sleep.
Much of my humor has undoubtedly been shamelessly stolen from Conan O'Brien. I know for a fact that Conan taught me how to be self-deprecating, almost to the point of being self-flagellating. Conan taught me that cheesy could be funny...as long as you acknowledged that it was cheesy. And Conan taught me that writing was a legitimate career and one worth pursuing. And above all: Conan's Late Nite years were just damn hilarious. When NBC merged with Universal and Conan O'Brien met Walker, Texas Ranger it was the easily the best pairing since Harry met Sally or Peanut Butter met Jelly.
I applaud Conan O'Brien for his accomplishments and thank him for his unique role in my generation's lives. I also pray that he upholds his promise not to "grow up."
Because if he doesn't, there's hope for us too.
Now how's this for a blast from the past?