Conan Hits the Road
On tour, the comedian disses NBC—again and again.
Conan O’Brien is headed for TBS, but first the former Tonight Show host is going on a 32-city tour, and you can tell even from the title that he’s still not over his bruising battle with NBC.
The program is called The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour. It’s a reference to NBC contractually banning O’Brien for a time from appearing on another network; in November, he’s scheduled to begin his new show on TBS. Conan left NBC just three months ago following a struggle over who would host the Tonight Show. (In case you didn’t know, Jay Leno won that skirmish.)
Conan, sporting a short red beard, told an audience in San Francisco that because NBC probably owned his name, he was changing it to Jett Blaze. He brought out a classic character from his 17-year show, The Masturbating Bear, and after worrying that NBC might own that too, changed the bear’s name to The Self-Pleasuring Panda.
The enthusiastic audience roared at a movie that demonstrated how far he’d fallen since NBC let him go: In the film, Conan sat amid pizza boxes and empty beer bottles and put peanut butter on his toes so his dog could lick it off. (Let’s hope the peanut-butter thing is only a joke.)
But it wasn’t all about NBC. Accompanied by hottie singer Chris Isaak, Coco sang a gritty Louisiana number, Polk Salad Annie, substituting the details of the narrator’s hard-knock life with references to his own comfortable background. “My daddy had a good job,” he sang. “We shopped at Whole Foods.”
Sing the blues, Conan. (USA Today)