Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Conan O'Brien: Inside the Actors Studio

I was so excited when I saw that one of my favorite shows, Inside the Actors Studio, was hosting one of my favorite comedians, Conan O'Brien. As James Lipton and Conan have such a close relationship on air, it seemed only fitting that he was invited as a guest, especially with Conan's big Tonight Show debut soon.

I learned so much about Conan that I hadn't known before. You can only get to know so much about the guy from watching his show, but he is extremely talented. He has this unusual, raw sense of humor that is unmatched by other comedians. He is ALWAYS on and ALWAYS hilarious--now that's a gift.

Honestly, I am a bit nervous for his transition to the Tonight Show soon. I hope that the same elements and writing that I love about Late Night continues on in his new show. I don't want them to lose a lot of that flame, hilarity, and excitement when they move venues and time slots. The cheapness, the stupidness, the silliness is everything that makes the show. When you change some of those elements, you lose some of the genius and the show.

On Inside the Actors Studio, Conan was so revved up. He was making jokes left and right which made me wonder if he felt a bit uncomfortable and under pressure. HE is normally the one conducting the interviews, not the other way around. At one point, he chugged two glasses of water straight. He danced on stage. He continuously made jokes with Lipton on his stack of cards, even asking to hold some after a period of time. He must feel in control when he makes jokes like that. Either that or he craves the audience, their laughter, and being the center.

I found out a lot of very cool information about Conan's life through watching this episode (which I must admit was one of my favorites). Here is some information I learned:

His career:

-Conan has received an Emmy for writing on Saturday Night Live and 1 for Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

-He has received 13 Emmy nominations for Late Night.

-He has won 6 Writers Guild Awards.

-He was a writer and producer on The Simpsons.

-He has spent 16 years on Late Night before he will go to the Tonight Show.

His background:

-Conan is the middle of six siblings, as he said, even though it's impossible to be in the middle of an odd number.

-Conan is 100% Irish and grew up in Massachusetts.

-He was the valedictorian of his high school and learned quickly that he was not meant for sports.

-He knew from a young age that he wanted to be in show business despite his appearance. So, his parents sent him immediately to tap dancing lessons.

Conan's younger life:

-Conan attended Harvard where his father also teaches.

-At Harvard, he discovered his love for comedy, calling his parents and telling him that he wanted to be in this business even if it didn't make him that much money. It was his passion.

-After college, Conan goes out to LA with a friend to make it big. He takes acting lessons and was taught not to think too much. He loved improv and being funny with others.

-While in LA, Conan is called to NYC to audition as a writer for SNL in 1986/87. He was given a 3 week tryout and eventually made it.

-Conan left SNL because he was burnt out and needed a change. Shortly after, he was called by The Simpsons and soon started working on that television show.

-Conan is shortly called in to audition for Late Night, a suggestion by Lorne Michaels. When Conan got the call that he received the job, he was not ecstatic and did not celebrate. He was so nervous, the same feeling as his upcoming job.

-Conan compares going to Late Night like going up to space in an expiremental rocket. Glory, girls, and potential death.

Conan ideas:

-Comedy is a job. He loves his job and wouldn't do anything else, but it's always on his mind and is never perfected until the last minute. You always have to work for comedy.

-Whatever works on Late Night works for 2 year old children. Take his jumping off of camera sequence for instance.

And lastly, here is Conan's answer to the end questionairre:

Favorite word: chambers
Least favorite word: bowel
What turns him on? enthusiasm
What turns him off? snobbery
What sound does he love? egg dropping in milk
What sound does he hate? ringing phone in 70s TV
Favorite curse word: mother fucker
A profession other than his that he would like to attempt: rockabilly singer with a band for a year
A profession he would not like to attempt: pornography
What would God say to him at the pearly gates: Conan, how DID you do it? then a high five would cause a tsunami.

At the end of the show, James Lipton wrote a song for Conan and had his students sing it to him on stage (with Lipton singing to him of course). This also might have been tribute to the fact that Conan's show surged Lipton's acting career back in action. It was really touching and nice.

So, what do you think of Conan O'Brien?

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