I've Got Issues...And Peace


Boulder, Colorado,
October 22
Family, marital, and individual psychotherapist. Mother to four who no longer need my services but still enjoy my love as I do theirs. I specialize in stepfamily dynamics and difficult transitions. I try to write from the heart with a sense of vulnerability, humor and a frank look at myself. Art shown: "Four Pots" by Lindsey Leavell


Editor’s Pick
JUNE 2, 2009 8:34AM

The Tonight Show Recap with...Conan O'Brien!

Rate: 32 Flag

conan obrien

HERE'S............................................................CONAN'S HAIR!

 I had a “moment” with Conan O’Brien.  Really I did.  It may not mean much to you, but it was a moment…a connection.  Several years ago, the former hub and I took our son Nate to NYC for his 16th birthday (okay fine it was 10 years ago…seems like yesterday).  Nate was and still is a huge Conan fan so we got tickets to the show.  We sat in the 4th row from the stage.  During one of the commercial breaks, I was staring at Conan.  I thought Conan was really cool.  I was just soaking him in when all of the sudden he caught my gaze.  CONAN noticed me.  He tilted his head, looked me right in the eyes, smiled and waved at me.  AT ME.  So that’s it…the moment…one of those “I guess you had to be there” moments.

Conan and I are distant relatives I’m sure, both offspring of Irish Catholic parents and both middle children in large dysfunctional families (well, normal dysfunctional…if you were raised Catholic, you know what I mean).

One thing I’ll say about large Catholic families, we have incredible senses of humor, especially when it comes to self-deprecation.  We are the kings and queens of self-deprecation.  Conan is no exception…his hair SCREAMS self-deprecation (and a scene from the movie, “Something About Mary”).

 conan's hair

(Get me a surfboard!) 

ANYWAY, Late Night with Conan O’Brien…my personal friend and the new successor to the dynasty known as The Tonight Show, debuted last night June 1, 2009.

But let’s for a moment take a quick stroll down memory lane…

This will date me, but whatever.  I have the fondest memories as a child of sneaking into my parents’ bedroom late at night to watch The Johnny Carson show.  My father loved Johnny Carson.  His laughter while watching the show is one of my fondest memories of him.

johnny carson 

(The King of Late Night TV, the late Johnny Carson and his sidekick Ed McMahon.  Fun trivia fact:  Johnny Carson once successfully sued a toilet company who was trying to use the logo "Heeeeeeeere's Johnny!") 

Jay Leno replaced Johnny Carson…a move that surprised everyone, especially David Letterman. 

 David and Johnny

(Oh, those were the days!) 

Can you believe that Jay Leno has been doing the show for SEVENTEEN years?  Scary how time flies.  Speaking of scary, that CHIN…

 jay leno's chin

What I will not miss about Jay Leno was the obnoxiously and irritatingly strategically placed bevy of young blond women seated in the first few rows of the audience. Was I the only one bothered by this?    Nothing against young irritatingly strategically placed bevies of young blondes, but it was just so obvious…this pandering to young hormonal males.  And the constant highlighting of stupid Americans who didn’t know basic American History 101.  It was bad enough that George W. Bush (the 43rd President of the United States in case you didn’t know) didn’t know this stuff, but the average Angeleno?  Embarrassing. 

As I said, I will not miss Jay Leno…especially since he’s starting his NEW show in 2 days an hour earlier. 

 Mad recap of Conan’s show:

--NBC Peacock in Living Color from back in the day.

--Conan’s checklist about moving to LA.

--Conan running to Hollywood, literally (with a quick stop in Chicago at squirrel’s restaurant).

--Standing ovation from adoring studio crowd flown in from New York.

--Standing ovation lasts for thirty minutes.

--Good ole sidekick Andy Richter standing at a podium.

--Conan speaking in Spanish (is this an inside joke?…imported New York crowd seemed to get it).

--Brief appearance made by Hillary Clinton.

--Video clip of Joe Biden whispering talk of Chocotacos to Sonia Sotomayor (2 more fellow Catholics).

--Conan as new Laker fan (boo Lakers!).

--Universal studio tour, driving around in circles (I’m suddenly dizzy..could be the Ambien kicking in).

--The letter D (this was dumb with a capital D).

--Conan’s 1992 Ford Taurus…uh oh, bevies of blond women, women spraying themselves with hoses…and Fabio…FABIO?

--Will Ferrell brought out by ancient Egyptians (okay now the Ambien is making me hallucinate).

Uh, the fast pace of this show is a bit much.  Is this an age thing?  Where are my bifocals?

Ferrell starts to read his LA Tips to Conan.  Seriously, they were so bad, so corny, he should have kept them confidential.

There is a God…Will Ferrell was interrupted by a commercial.  He needs to get sent back to Land of the Lost…ironically a good name for the soon to be bankrupt state of California. 

ZZZZZZZ….ooops, nodded off there just a bit.  Missed the rest of Willie’s list…did I miss anything good?  I did wake up in time to hear Pearl Jam.  They were perfect!  They sounded just as frenetic and frazzled as the rest of the show.

Is it me or are late night audiences suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder?  This show just felt like one gimmick after another in rapid succession…I just wanted to say SLOW DOWN!  Or at least bring on Triumph the Insult Comic Dog or the Masturbating Bear.


The Masturbating Bear

Masturbating BearPhoto credit to Sirgabe 

 Sorry guys but I’m switching back over to David Letterman, my go to late night guy. 

 David Letterman

Dave keeps it basic and simple.  Nothing fancy.  Just Dave and the audience.  And nothing comes close to Letterman’s Top Ten List, stupid pet and human tricks.  And call me old…fashioned, but I just love listening to Dave’s down home stories about his 5-year-old son.

So what did YOU think of Conan’s debut? 

OH YEAH, AND JUST ONE MORE THING: No recap post of mine would be complete without a picture of….

True American Idol 



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I really loved the running from NYC to L.A. opening. I thought it was fresh, original and very Forrest Gump. Conan and I are the same age and he is in tremendous shape. The hair is his trademark, so I forgive him.
I thought Ferrell was very unfunny and I'm a Ferrell fan. He can be unfunny at times in interviews. He's no Robin Williams. Obviously, I loved Pearl Jam and thought they sounded phenomenal and I'm pumped for the new album.

I won't miss Jay and I will most likely stick with Letterman as always, but I'm more likely to channel switch now.

Mary - you should be anointed 'resident' TV blogger. You always give wonderful facts and insider info with a spirited twist of sassy humor. Glad to know I can stick with my old friend Dave ‘knobby kneed’ Letterman!

- rated

(that comment about knobby knees is a story for another day)

Dang Mary ... I'd almost gone a whole day without being pissed that he lost! Thanks a lot, pal!

Great post! But you should have REMINDED us yesterday!!! I MISSED IT!!! Conan is my favorite too. Did you see him on The Actor's Studio? He is incredible!!!
I did the same thing. I watched the opening and loved it! I thought, ok, this is going to be good, but 5 minutes into the show is screaming into a microphone and I immediately switched back to Letterman.
We both did Zzzzzzzs in our re-cap! How funny is that?! Thanks so much for once again showing a picture of my Adam Lambchop - if you haven't seen it you need to search YouTube for him making fun of the gay brouhaha on VH1's "Best Week Ever." So funny, and it got Perez Hilton's knickers in a twist, which is always an added bonus.
Hey, MT: I missed the show but heard the joke on the radio . . . Conan is asked if anything will be different now that he's in LA. And then he starts speaking Spanish: "Nunca cambiar a mi programa(nothing will change) . . ." Apologies for best guess from HS Spanish. Now please get over to the Bustop and write about it.
Oh, thank goodness! From the opening, I thought you were going to praise this show. I thought the opening was cute. I watched the monologue and wasn't impressed. I had no feelings regarding Conan before last night and still don't. But I can't stand Will Ferrell and so turned over to "Property Virgins" before I had to catch even a glimpse of him.
Conan reminds me so much of this guy I was involved with. He looks like him, was very funny, was something of a local celebrity and had that special ability to create that "special connection" with women across a crowded room. After I met the 10th woman who'd had the special connection, I realized it was just a sense of entitlement that allowed him to blatantly stare at women.

So I'm really glad you're back to Adam Lambert.

P.S. yesterday I listened to a entire Canadian radio show yesterday that was about homophobia in American Idol and SYTYCD. There seem to be plenty of people up here grieving the injustice Mary. So you're not alone.
Mary, Mary, Mary, your history does not go back far enough. You forgot Jack Paar AND Steve Allen. Paar was a bit of a hot head, but some of Steve Allen's stuff was utterly timeless. His "Man on the street" stuff is the basis for Leno's asking the blonde bevies basic questions so they can fuck'em up, and it also has something to do with the way Letterman prowels Manhattan for basic everyday stuff on which to goof.

Long live Steve Allen.

I know this, and I have it on good authority that you are older than me...
I haven't watched the Tonight Show since Jay Leno took it over (watch Letterman sometimes). I stayed up to watch Conan's first night because when I do see him I've liked him.

I thought the opening was great. I even liked the Universal Tour thing though I'm sure I would have enjoyed it more if I'd been on the bus. Will Ferrell being carried in was funny but the rest was just meh. Though I liked Conan's reactions to him. I went to bed right after Pearl Jam so not sure if I missed anything.

It was opening night so I'm going to assume it's not the template for the show going forward (which he seemed to reference a few times). I think this whole week will be "special shows".

I'll watch again next Monday to see if he settles down.
Maybe you should do Conan's show, I'd rather watch you writing your hysterically funny blogs!

Thanks for the morning giggles.
Conan, another Boston dude doing good. But I agree, Dave's the one I watch.
Nothing like starting the day with a good laugh!
Like you, I grew up watching Johnny Carson with my parents. He was one of the funniest men ever to grace a television set. When Leno took over, I wasn't so impressed, but over time, he grew on me. I was charmed by the fact that he seemed to be having so much fun himself.

Now we have Conan's Late Night shtick imported to an earlier time period. Maybe younger people will like it but so far it isn't working for me. It was particularly inauspicious that he had Will Ferrell on his first show. I'm another one of his "NON-fans." His brand of humor is way too juvenile for me... Oh, I get it. This really is the brush off for older viewers. We just are not a "desirable demographic" anymore.
I remember lying in bed, my bedroom door cracked and from the wood-paneled TV room I could where my mom and dad sat at night I could hear the Tonight Show theme music and Ed McMahon saying heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny!
My only complaint about Conan is that he pulled a Woody Allen and managed to excise any and all Black people from LA. Even in the audience.

But what else can we expect from the "Nothing But Caucasians" network.
While I thought Johnny Carson was brilliant, my father didn't like him, or so he said, because of his "dirty" jokes. He despised -- no, DESPISED -- the cackling Ed McMahon. My father lay in the hospital dying the night of Johnny's last show, which I watched in the waiting room/temporary bedroom, and I felt a certain pleasure about being able to inform him of McMahon's loss of a job.
Missed it! Stayed up to watch Conan's first monologue and didn't know it came on at 11:35. By 11:33 I thought it wasn't on or on a different time, as I, too, am a Letterman gal. So, poop! I missed Conan's debut!
But your recap and Knightwriter's were great, really great, and probably more fun than staying up to watch the real thing.
However, bottom line for me, I miss Johnny Carson. Really miss him. No one has ever or could replace or top him in my book.
So, on to other things. And by the way...get over Adam! ;)
Love your recaps of these shows, Mary. I not only laugh, I trust your take. And thanks for Adam.
Here's a scary thought...for 17 years I've been saying to myself, "I really need to check out Jay Leno on the Tonight Show!" Guess I missed his whole career there except for the occasional replay bits that George Stephanopolus does on the Sunday Funnies.

I think Jay seems like a pretty decent guy, but he doesn't do it for me. And I don't think Conan will either though I think he has some very hilarious moments.

It's more about timing for me. Late night is late. If I'm up late, I'm more likely out dancing and getting a little crazy.

But also, it was never the same after Johnny. Funny you mentioned those nights with your Dad. My memory is - my Brother and I spending the night at my Grandparent's house, camped out in the den with the lights out and the tv down low so we wouldn't get caught. We'd drink big plastic tumblers of 7 up with ice and sneak ice cream bars and laugh our asses off to Johnny. I'm sure we didn't get most of the jokes, but it didn't matter. It was incredible!

Great review by the way!
It was a cute show. Conan will settle in over time and should do well, although his task is easier than Jay's was. Jay had to fill Johnny Carson's shoes... a very tall order back in the 1990s. Jay did well; having a lot of stand-up experience helped him. (In fact, I'd like to see Jay host the Oscars one of these days, if Hugh Jackman decides to pass on it.) I liked the newer trend of not having a sidekick, instead involving the bandleader. Dave and Paul pioneered that, and Jay and Kevin were just as fun to watch. Hope Conan can get Max to loosen up a little; banter with the bandleader makes the band part of the show to the TV audience. Never got the sidekick thing; much as I liked Johnny, I just didn't like Ed. I thought Johnny didn't need him. Hopefully Conan will not be making Andy his sidekick on Tonight, although it was nice of him to have Andy there for the first night. But much as I like Dave, Jay, Conan, Jimmy K and Jimmy F, the funniest guys on late night are Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They are the only guys on the planet who have half a chance of getting my attention away from City of Heroes (my MMORPG). Love Jon's take on the news, and Stephen's "Word" segment is hilarious.

p.s. Many of us know that scene in "The Shining" where Jack Nicholson appears in the splintered door, saying "Heeeere's Johnny!" But I wonder if younger people watching today even know who Johnny was. That's kind of sad.
Leno has always been a hack comic, and I'm shocked he lasted as long as he did. I tuned in "The Tonight Show" awhile back and was shocked by how awful it really was - limp interviews, unfunny taped bits, and Leno walking all over his own punchlines. I like Conan and will tune in, but for me, it's Dave first & foremost (I am also becoming a big fan of Craig Ferguson - look for him to take over Letterman's spot when he decides to hang it up). Good recap, as always.
and Mary ... never forget that Wooly is older than Jesus ... I'm surprised he didn't tell us that John The Baptist came before Steve Allen ...

Who is Steve Allen anyway???
I haven't watched Late Night TV since I was in Grade School in the '80s staying up way past my bed time to catch Letterman. When you have to get up at 5am every morning for work, you have to make certain sacrifices at night!

I'll have to give Conan a try one of these nights. Worth reading for the Adam Lambert photo at the bottom! :)
Greg, loved your correlation with Forrest Gump...perfect! And that was my favorite part of the show. I was hopeful at that point when he was running like that. It was short lived. Thanks for coming by...Letterman seems to be the preferred favorite in this group.

gmgaston/George: Good to see you! Ah thanks. And yup, another Letterman fan. People have good sense around here.

irritated: I'll have to check him out on the Actor's Studio--didn't see it. Sorry about the Adam reminder, but hey, misery loves company!

MiddleAgedWoman: Yes, I was hopeful the first 5 minutes then it all went down the drain.

knightwriter: Oh I am definitely going to look that up that perfect Adam video. Can't wait to look that up. No surprise that we were both catching our Zzzzzzzzzzzz's last night. But back to Adam...oohhh la la, I found some pictures of him last night...he was having fun kissing the boys...and Rolling Stones doing a feature article on him. Fun sharing the recap with you!

Hells Bells: The bustop? Hell no! Pretty sure you already covered that one :)

Julie: Great minds think alike.

Julie: My daughter just crossed the Canadian border (with her now required passport of course). Say hi if you see her. Thanks for your compassion and letting me know that there are Canadians that commiserate. It must be creepy seeing Conan and having him remind you of the charismatic boyfriend. Thanks for reading...look forward to your So You Can Dance recap on Friday.

Geoff: Jack Paar who? Steve Allen who? Don't have a clue as to what you're talking about. BTW, you have really poor sources.

Kaysong: It was pretty much over after Pearl Jam (thank God!). Yes, perhaps its just the first night jitters, but it will be hard to pry me away from David Letterman after that frenetic debut.

Buffyw: Glad I could help with a smile.

Mr. Mustard: You continue to be wise in all ways.

SpiritManSF: Hey, it makes my day if I helped someone start their day with a laugh. What would we do without humor? That's a scary thought. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Susan: I think you're right...a lot of us just aren't in the demographic. Waiting for my 26 year old son's opinion on this.

Sandra: Aren't the memories great? So many of us have these memories of watching Johnny Carson with our parents. Years later, I will never forget his final week. I still miss him.

zumalicious: Now that I think of it, you're spot on. Welcome to Hollywood!

tomtraubert: Again, the memories many of us watching the show...your story is poignant and painful. Thank you for sharing this. Makes me think a book could be written about the childhood memories of watching Johnny Carson.

Lea: Thank you and so glad you appreciate Adam!

Just Cathy: Ah, missed only by 2 minutes! I miss Johnny Carson too...remember that howling laugh of Dad's? As for getting over Adam...NEVER. Don't even get me started on AT&T's rigging of that vote!

Beth: See what I mean? I was shocked to hear that Jay Leno had been on for 17 did that much time go by? And the childhood memories...I love them. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

ZaZaCat: I think you are right about John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Hands down. Jay Leno did have some big shoes to fill and he filled them in his own right...probably why he's starting a new show this week at an earlier time! Thanks for your great comments and memories.

Sheldon: I love Craig Ferguson...think he's a hoot. And I have a fondness for his drinking/sober stories. He's a natural.

irritated: HYSTERICAL! And...John the Baptist who?
Travis: Getting up at 5 is good reason to not watch late night TV. And yes, could I ever do a recap without him? Thanks for reading and commenting.
Great post and synopsis!

I’m not a big Late night talk show fan. I used to be, years ago, but I think Conan, like Leno, ran out of even half-way funny material a decade ago (if Conan ever had any). To me, Jay Leno’s humor puts the V in vanilla. He is like a Labrador retriever, nice to everyone but not very unique or smart...apologies to all Labradors. To this day, he still can’t conduct an intelligent, cogent interview and appears never to know how to respond to what a guest says – he is painful and embarrassing for me to watch.

Letterman’s interviews are always more than just banter or letting the guest say what they came on to say, because he is intelligent, witty, clever and opinionated – things that Leno is afraid to be if he is any of them in the first place. He’s more in the vein of Steve Allen; silly but intelligent

In my opinion, Conan just does Junior High school retread humor to me. He’s good in an interview, but he’s not a comedian, he’s a writer. I watched Conan by accident last night and really liked the cross-country run and thought the show might go somewhere, but it immediately and completely fell apart and I was embarrassed for him especially when he force-fed that lame Universal Studios Tram ride sketch down the audience’s throats. And it only got worse.

Late night talk show writers and hosts have a formula where they force lame “stupid humor” sketches, bits and characters on the audience over and over hoping that they’ll eventually catch on and create a predictable laugh when reintroduced on a regular basis. I had to switch to Letterman, but there was that retard, Paul Schaffer who should be gagged and do the show from inside a closet – apologies to all retards. Speaking of lame side-kicks, Andy Richter must being thanking his lucky stars his pal can give him work again. These shows are all identical to me, Jimmy Falon included. I don’t know what they can do to improve them but...

I miss the days of Tom Snyder, good old Tom, funny, quirky, intelligent and gave great interview.
Always adored Johnny Carson. Used to literally creep, over the crumb-scattered lino tile floor of the kitchen, to the entrance of my parents' bedroom, where I'd huddle and listen to Johnny's monologue. I'd stay till I was about to drop over, then creep back to my bedroom.

I was appalled when they put Leno in instead of Letterman, and have held a passive boycott ever since (which means that I had to watch Leno whenever at the folks', or when they were visiting).

I really truly like Conan O'B - he's smart, a good writer, self-deprecating, etc. But I won't switch. Sorry. I'll check it out if Letterman has a rerun, but I already switch to Jimmy Kimmel, who is a hit more than a miss for me, when bored or in commercials - and then I get sucked in.

I agree: Craig Fergusen is simply wonderful, new, and very funny.

And there's nothing like the one-two punch of Stewart/Colbert.

P.S. - Adam Lambert is saying he probably won't tour with Queen....
I watched the show and I loved it.

Conan's show utilizes a lot more sketch-based comedy and on location shorts which if you haven't noticed is more in line with where the internet has taken comedy in the past view years. I would be surprised if in ten years an audience would even sit through a thirty minute sitcom as the most talked about and viewed comedy online seems to be 1 to 5 min shorts i.e. Andy Sandbergs digital shorts which have salvaged SNL from being completely irrelevant to it's target demos.
I don't even think it will be a competition between Dave and Conan because they are so different, at the same time they are both very talented and I'm happy to watch either one.

Jay Leno was LAME. White bread, flyover, P.C. and worst of all a phony. To me he represents everything wrong with mainstream comedy. He did safe and cute comedy like "Jaywalking" which requires absolutely no creativity just point, shoot, and edit and we all get to laugh at the stupid people- which, was it just me or did that segment just make you embarrassed, ashamed and depressed?

I am biased for the Cone Zone but I think most people in their twenties probably are, his humor may come off as juvenile to some but that may be more of a reflection on the viewer than the host.
I like Letterman better too...

Yes, he can be an asshole at times but Conan is a twerp... can't stand him. Like Tucker Carlson... ICK!
Not one of these late night guys can hold a candle to the Great One, Johnny Carson. The best ever. Although Steve Allen was a genius because most everything he did was ad lib.
Graham: Thanks for such a great comment! I do love some of the interviews that Letterman does...he's prepared and not afraid to press. One of my favorites was the one he did with McCain after McCain lied to him and backed out of an interview. Letterman was relentless. Not sure I could see Conan doing that.

Connie: Thanks for another wonderful Johnny Carson story. Like I said...a book could be written with these stories. I like Conan too...but all the fast paced got tiresome for me...could be the time of night. As for Adam and Queen...he's basically controlled by American Idol for the next couple of years so I wonder if that's the reason. Rolling Stones is doing a story on him, supposedly a "coming out" story.

worldssmartestman: Well, I guess you are! The world's smartest man that is. YOUR MOTHER MUST BE BRILLIANT. Thanks for chiming in from the perspective of a 20 something year old. It helps verify that this could simply be a generational difference. I know not of these Adam Sandberg's digital shorts...attention spans seem to be diminishing. Glad you still have some good sense and love David Letterman as well. There's hope for you. Thanks for doing your mother proud.

gonzoid: Tucker Carlson right before lunch? I'm nauseous. Thanks for your comment!
thank you for this. my freaking DVR did not record this and i'm so upset. maybe because it knows how loyal i am to Dave. so i'm delighted to know that you are also a Dave gal. i just adore him.

this is a great piece. love lvoe lvoe and gratitude for your fabulous details and conclusion.
Mary - remember when Carson would do Art Fern, the movie guy? "Drive to the Slauson cutoff, get out of the car, cut off your slauson, get back in the car..." KILLED me everytime.
I always found Leno quite generic.In the 80's ( pre-Tonight Show), I was voted the "funniest person in Austin" by my comic peers. As part of my prize, I got to open for Leno at a club called the Comedy Workshop on a 2 night stint. He and his wife were 2 of the nicest people of their stature I had ever met (and I've met ,alot) .They sayed in the "green room" after the shows ,and mentored all the young comics.They were truly genuine. Met Letterman once ,briefly...kinda an ass ( I do think he's the funnier of the two by far ,though).He refused to book a guy I traveled with that was a ventriliquist.He told him,"We will never have a ventriliquist on my show". That was Jeff Dunham , and he's doing fine.
Rosie O'Donnel - bitch
Elayne Boosler - major bitch
Bill Hicks - cool
Sam Kinnison - major ass
Amazing Jonathan - moderate ass
Ron White - cool
Judy Tenuda - cool
that "sniglet" guy - ass
Bill Engvall - cool
Kevin Nealon -cool
Dane Cook - doofus

So you never know how these guys are till you "really" hang out with'em. I think Conan will get comfy ,and do fine...Leno's show will fail, and Letterman will keep on truckin'
I am so glad that the cover title really wasnt stopped my from reading this for a while. It just didnt seem to be the tone you usually take...but, thank goodness the post was your usual cool style of writing. And the part of the show of asking history lessons on the did that always make me's always hard for me to laugh at train wrecks.

I'm looking forward to seeing that Conan does with the show, but I guess I'm always going to be a letterman fan. But Carson still was the king.

T-Bucket: Except for Dane, your list of comics were the people I use to hang out with all the time. Hell, Jay and I got a personal tour of the white house by a secret service agent named Ron. I still remember Jay walking up to a guard gate and asking for Ron (Reagon was the president at the time). "Yeah...Ron's expecting us.” It wasn’t long before we were surrounded by agents, guards…and thank goodness, Ron, the secret service agent came running across to help save our day. I miss Hicks, cool doesn't even come close to how great a guy he was. Jonathan's still a friend...but I think even he would get a kick out of being called a "moderate ass". He does have his moments. But Bill Engvall (and Gail) are still very close friends of mine and I would say he rates pretty high on the cool people scale as well. But I was dismayed to see you thought that Sam was a major ass. Sam was a friend, but even through all the things I heard he would do (when really under the influence). He never acted that way around or with me. I remember when we first met. Another comic Joe Vega and myself got into a long conversation one night at the Comic Strip in nyc and was there to closing. Outside, Sam Kinneson is walking over not knowing the club had just shut for the night. Joey knew him and introduced us. I said, "I heard of you, you're the preacher that has half your audience walking out of your gigs on the road...what the hell you are doing in your act?"

So he proceeded to do his FULL act for me. At one point he stopped a cab in the middle of second ave., grabbed the hood and used it as a prop to make a point...I never laughed so hard. We became long friends after that. But over the years, I heard some of the horror stories that made me shake my head. I was with him a few weeks before he died, he really had started making huge grounds in trying to make up for all the crap he was into/did...a real shame. I wish you had seen the side I knew.

Oops sorry Mary, got off topic. One day I’m going to have to post about Leno and me at the white would dig that story.
(looking up) and my apologies for spelling Sam's last name wrong.
Watched the first show and it was great. It was good to see Andy make an appearance along with the rest of the usual O Brien madness. The running across America only to find he left his keys was genius.

Leno's does a great monologue. Stand Up is his strength.

Headlines and J walking are funny and only reminds me why we never sent our kids to public school. Leno's sketch comedy reminded me of 50s TV and just a little low brow for my taste.

Conan is sort of a hybrid of Letterman's self loathing humor, Carson's quick wit, and Leno's stand up ability. I can see why he was an editor for the Harvard Lampoon.

I also hope Fallon makes it. He is so nervous right now it is painful to watch him do his monologue
I don't watch late-night TV much anymore, after Carson they're all Johnny-Come-Lately's
Hehehehe. I liked Leno and never noticed all the blondes in the front row. I usually don't miss things like that.
Letterman's first contract was WAY more than Leno's first for the tonight show. I actually like all three of them very well. So who is this Adam Lambert? Did he get a late night talk show, too?
Letterman is now the classiest late-night talk show host. (That sounds kind of weird, doesn't it? I've never really thought of Letterman as classy. But now he is. Hmmmmm.)
I have to admit I didn't watch the whole thing, and it may not have been as good as you were hoping, but I am so with you on that Leno thing. And no I don't believe Leno has been doing that show for 17 years because he absolutely stinks! Conan is no David Letterman, but he is so much better than Leno that now I'll have somewhat of a choice. Leno was no choice.
Won't argue with your praise of Conan, but . . .

Jaywalking was one of my favorite segments. More than anything I learned in grad school, it prepared me for teaching -- because, unlike what I learned in grad school, it informed me of what ordinary Americans actually know, and of their noticeable lack of embarrassment at same. What will I do without Jaywalking?

Oh yeah, listen to students and read their essays.
I forgot about Craig Ferguson who I find far superior to all other late night hosts mentioned...far
Nobody can replace Johnny. He was an original.
My son and I got the last 2 seats last Tuesday to Leno's show, the one with the Governator. I found Jay to be strangely distant to the audience, as if we were there to make noise and applaud obediently but little else. It was fun but somehow surreal. I've always hated the shaking hands thing at the start of the show, and I wondered about the cute blondes sitting in the front row.

I LOVED Steve Allen, Jack Paar and, of course, Johnny. But I've always thought Jay, while likable on the surface, was oddly distant.

Didn't care for Conan's debut. The screaming thing sucked and the show seemed forced. You're right about Will Ferrel - he sucked and added nothing to the show but some uncomfortable pauses and unfunny crap. I'm sure he'll find his pace and will be very very good in time.
Blackflon: I agree wholeheartedly. I will always miss the late night antics of Johnny Carson (who also reminds me so much of my late father).

Theodora: I love Dave Letterman...I think Conan will be fine and as my wise son pointed out, the comedy may be a generational thing. Thanks so much for your comment.

Sheldon: Art Fern was absolute comic brilliance!

T-Bucket: I didn't know this about you! You've done stand up comedy. Now that's impressive. Wonderful to hear how nice the Lenos are. I would think it would be challenging to have a healthy ego and be so famous. Your list made me laugh. But please do explain? Dane Cook a doofus? Is that good or bad. Dane Cook is one of my favorites. Thanks for the great and close up look at comedy.

Glenn: Yes, sometimes I cringe when I see how the title posts are rewritten, so I'm glad you pushed back that to read. And what a great comment. You should write a post about Leno and you at the White House...I would love to hear that! And I would not only dig it, I would digg it :) The story about Sam Kinneson giving us an inside look at a man who obviously was fighting many demons. Again, thanks for such an insider view with such a different perspective than T-Buckets. This is one of the reasons I like this community so much.

M Todd: I like the way you looked at Leno's history lessons...does give you an inside look at the minds of some teenagers and the lack of knowledge that surely exists. And further confirmation of your decision to not send your kids to public schools. Conan is one bright guy and I'll tune in during Letterman reruns. Thanks for the comment.

Tom: Really, you don' t like David Letterman? Seems to me you and David Letterman would get along just fine.

Michael: Ignoring your comment until you give Adam his due credit.

Maria: I thought he was beforehand but this confirms it to me. I do enjoy Craig Ferguson if I'm still awake.

latethink: Yes, 17 years...hard to believe. I like Conan and am glad he got this spot.

Diotima: You bring up a great point in that the jaywalking segment could be helpful for a teacher to get a pulse on what kids know and don't know. Your solution sounds like it will work to. Thanks for the comment.

T-Bucket: I love Craig Ferguson.

mr e: Agreed.

Bill E: Another great perspective!!! You should have written the recap. How fun to be there for the last night with your son...and the Governator...did he have a ton of security with him? I think the connection thing with the audience is so important. At the time we went to the Conan show in NYC, we also went one night to Letterman's show. He made NO connection with the audience. Almost to the point of disdain, but that's my obvious projection. I don't know the man, but as part of the audience, I felt like a prop. Thanks so much for telling us about your time.
Great! Your posts tell me everything I need to know about pop culture without my having to immerse myself in it. Now I can be a semi-dweeb instead of a full-fledged one. Thanks!
Steve, I'm so glad I could be of help!
What I’ve always found so cool about Conan is his ability to track w/his target audience, which skews young – as worldssmartest, um, dude, points out (rather smartly). That ain’t easy for a guy Conan’s age. I’m also glad he’s got the Tonight Show, though I wish I could stay conscious after 11 PM. (Yikes, look at the time. Gotta’ hit the hay).
I haven't watched those kind of shows since the mid 90s. Semi-retarded actors and actresses plugging bad movies. Late night talk shows are horrific.
Funny, I had a "moment" with Jay Leno where something very similar happened. Coincidence? I think not.

Never liked Leno much. I find that man distinctly unfunny. He's like lukewarm, oatmeal funny...though a super nice man in person (during that moment of mine.)

Conan? I know nothing about since I owneth not a television for many years. But his hair is whacked, man. Damn.
Add another vote for Craig Ferguson. His is the only late night show worth watching.
Please give me credit or a link to the original photo on flickr ( the photo you are using of the Masturbating Bear. Thanks.