The Shuffle: a farewell to “Conan” | The mixture
Tonight America will say goodbye to talk show host Conan O’Brien for the third time in 12 years.
After more than a decade on the air, O’Brien’s TBS show “Conan” will be giving its fans another temporary farewell, as it finally switches to a looser format on HBO Max, and manages its podcast empire at Team Coco.
Of O’Brien’s farewells, this is the least noteworthy for all of the reasons mentioned above, as well as the signs that the show is ending, with O’Brien cutting it down from an hour to 30 minutes in 2019 because ‘he was disillusioned. with the traditional talk show format.
On a larger scale, it feels like the last nail in the coffin of the talk show for hosts inspired by David Letterman’s early wild antics and Johnny Carson’s quick wit. The current crop of mainstream hosts is more like public relations cogs, with Stephen Colbert having his brilliant political satire sanded down and Jimmy Fallon and James Corden wanting to be every celebrity’s best friend.
Growing up in the writing rooms of “SNL” and “The Simpsons,” O’Brien built his brand on absurd humor and his ability to get his guests to act, regardless of size. He could cover Tom Hanks in fake snow, sing with Kanye West, and make a living with the late Abe Vigoda and James Lipton.
That kind of playfulness worked well on his first gig, at “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” but, as we all know, but it didn’t go so well during his short stint on “The Tonight Show “.
In the wake of O’Brien’s controversy with NBC, who took his dream host job on “The Tonight Show” and flipped it over to Jay Leno, it seemed like a blessing in disguise. Over the past decade, with the rise of social media apps allowing celebrities to connect with fans like Instagram and TikTok, late-night talk shows are less important than ever.
O’Brien seemed to have found fame in the fall of the format, switching to TBS and doing whatever he wanted from visiting an American Girl Doll store to creating his own international exploration series, “Conan Without Borders “.
As any Conan fan will tell you, these distant segments showcase O’Brien at his best: riffs, laughs, and unscripted fun with unsuspecting civilians. If you want to see good examples of this, look for its old-fashioned baseball segment or its tour through the Irish-American Heritage Center. They are classics.
While there are still signs of hope in the talk show format with shows like Showtime’s “Desus and Mero” and “Ziwe” and Peacock’s “The Amber Ruffin Show”, there is also the sentiment. that when the final curtain closes on “Conan”, it is the end of an era for the genre. With O’Brien’s self-deprecating charm and unpredictable humor, we can at least be thankful that this is done in style.