With Conan O’Brien moving in a new direction, I would like to share some thoughts.
In 2008, the Writers Union went on strike around the holidays. As a sophomore in high school, I would stay up way too late watching The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Something occurred to me during one of these late night sessions. It was interesting, but not usually funny.
Shortly after the show ended, Conan O’Brien’s Late Night aired and I instantly loved everything about it. It seemed to have a much lower budget and tendency for the edgy, but it was also funnier than anything Leno had attempted.
I vividly remember Conan picking up a guitar and playing with his band. At one point, Conan was sitting at his desk and said something along the lines of “since we don’t have writers and have an hour to fill, let’s spin my wedding ring” and for a week after this, O’Brien would try to beat his record on rind spinning on his desk. His audience would cheer him on as he failed most times to beat his record.
Fast forward to 2009 and O’Brien
would make a flat-tired attempt at taking over the legendary program that is The Tonight Show. The run was short lived, and O’Brien signed off his final Tonight Show by saying words that still ring loud in my memory: Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought were going to get, but if you work hard, and are kind, amazing things will happen.
For the last 8 years, I have kept those words in my heart and mind; I’ve written them on notebooks, and have tried my best to work hard and be kind. And over those last 8 years, Conan has done some incredible things on TBS.
While the show in it’s current format is ending, I am happy that Conan will continue to make television the way he sees fit. I don’t think there is anyway for him or anyone to do TV, except the way they way they feel right doing it.
Conan O’Brien, for 11 years, has been a huge part of my life and has been an important part of many people’s lives for over twice as long. So Conan, thank you for what you have done and what I’m sure you will find a way to continue doing.