Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Coco Rocks the House

I'm a tad tardy in offering this review although it's never too late to state emphatically that Conan O'Brien is an American treasure. Reid won a couple of tix to catch his official 'Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour', which stopped in Denver a few weeks ago.

Of all the American job losses that occurred in the last year, Coco's has to be the most public. That nasty tangle with NBC that pushed him out of his dream job on The Tonight Show left a bad taste in my mouth. I've always liked Jay Leno (even met him twice) but I won't watch the show anymore as long as he is hosting. Talk about a dick move, unbelievable.

So, Conan took his comedy to the only place where it is still (temporarily) legal to do so - the stage. He brought his full brass band (sans Max Weinberg), sidekick Andy Richter and a bunch of other characters we've come to know and love.

Not only was the two-hour show incredibly tight and funny but Team Coco bent over backwards to localize the performance, something I'm sure they are doing at each one of the 30 stops. They shot some crappy commercial for Pete's Kitchen, a local diner that serves bad food to grateful drunk people. Conan also complained loudly about the giant blue horse that greeted him at DIA - a source of much local controversy.

Conan's open wound from his loss of the most coveted job in comedy (sorry, kids, it's not the money) makes for ideal comedic fodder. We watched a hilarious video of Conan the days that followed the controvesy with a full beard, on the floor - surrounded by pizza boxes and beer bottles. A child comes up and sniffs him: "Mommy! Daddy smells like pee!" Then, a giant red rotary phone rings and Conan answers: "Go on tour? Sure!" He rips off the beard and the fat suit, gets on the treadmill and begins his tour training. All for us!

The deal that was ultimately struck with NBC literally prohibits (for a time) Conan from performing comedy on television, radio or the Internet. The only thing he had left was Twitter (he follows just one person, a girl named Sarah he chose at random). Anyway, he spent ZERO money on advertising/marketing to announce the tour. Instead, he sent out one tweet that directed people to his site to buy tix and that was it. Here it is:
"Hey Internet: I'm headed to your town on a half-assed comedy and music tour. I repeat: It's half-assed."
The show was fantastic - not a bit of fat on it. Half comedy, half music, some stand-up performances and a lovely unannounced drop in from The Fray! There were even giant beach balls made to look like Conan thrown into the crowd. One of my favorite lines, "You guys are so smug about your altitude here..."Mr. O'Brien, we've got oxygen back here if you need it.' I DON'T NEED THE OXYGEN TANK, THANKS."

It's so true! 

The opening act was Reggie Watts, probably one of the most unusual performers I have ever seen. His afro is MASSIVE. Seriously. The whole show - and for several days after - Reid kept saying, "I want that hair. I want that hair." Reggie does improvisational comedy with hip-hop and when he began, I couldn't even understand him. By the time he left the stage, I was on my feet, cheering him. Reggie was so brilliant, so unique. He is definitely not your run-of-the-mill comedian which makes him the perfect mind-bending opener for Conan's tour.

Best of all, our brains were buzzing for days. I think Conan being released from network television is the best thing that could have happened to him. When he came onstage at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, the audience roared their support. "Wow, Denver! You are LOUD," he said. (Of course, he'd played to Boulder the previous night, where everyone was stoned and subdued.) Denver gave him some big love and he gave it right back.

Best of luck to Conan and Friends. I expect serious comedic success at TBS.

(Top Image Credit: The very brilliant Sir Mike of Mitchell. Not sure about the horse but the bottom is from my iPhone.)


Prof. Dowdy said...

I just found out recently that Conan's roommate at Harvard was Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 and Damon and Naomi fame. In fact, Krukowski apparently used Conan's drum set on Galaxie 500's first album. Cool, huh?

ClizBiz said...

Way cool! I need to get me some more Damon & Naomi, I really enjoy their vibe.

Fang Bastardson said...

I wish we had gone to see him.