After nine months away from the medium that made him famous, Conan is back. Back doing an opening monologue, back interviewing celebrities with something to promote, back introducing musical guests that hopefully fall more in line with those on his old Late Night show and not from his short stint on the Tonight Show. Yes, Conan is back. Doing the normal things late night talk show hosts do. Were you expecting more?
I wasn't, but I'd bet there were more than a few Conanites who were expecting a glorious return to television whereby he would use his new platform on basic cable to revolutionize the stale genre, or at the very least, spruce it up a bit. Two shows in, and it's pretty much business as usual. And that's just fine by me. The genre of late night TV may be old and stale, but as of now, it still sorta works. People want to hear jokes about the news of the day, and watch celebrities get interviewed, and watch bands play their newest singles. Like any show, it's not always gonna be good. Monologue jokes will miss, celebrities will phone in their interviews and Kings of Leon will occasionally be booked. It happens. But having Conan back to laugh it all off while laughing at himself, and in turn, giving us something to laugh at, is a good thing.
Monday's show was a bit predictable. Cold open. Jokes about NBC. More jokes about NBC. Jack White. It was good, familiar. Last night was better. Conan's visit to the TBS Standards and Practices guy was hilarious and I don't remember a single joke about NBC or Jay Leno. Which is good. He's really beaten that horse to death already, no? He had an entire comedy tour with jokes and songs based solely on that, and he joined Twitter (thankfully) and he's done some bits for the web. It should be out of his system. And he doesn't need it. He's too smart and too funny to keep going to that well (which, let's be honest, dried up before the summer). Now I'm sure guests will bring it up now and then and a stray monologue shot may be fired, but as I said above, hopefully those are few and far between.
So, welcome back Conan! It's good to have you back, goofing around on TV. Just don't book Kings of Leon all that often, huh?
Here's last night's bit with the TBS censor. Classic Conan.