The Paley Center for Media, which has locations in both New York and LA, dedicates itself to the preservation of television and radio history. Inside their vast archives of more than 120,000 television shows, commercials, and radio programs, there are thousands of important and funny programs waiting to be rediscovered by comedy nerds like you and me. Each week, this column will highlight a new gem waiting for you at the Paley Library to quietly laugh at. (Seriously, it’s a library, so keep it down.)
The nice thing about the subject of today’s article is that I don’t have to start off with a bunch of context or explain [...]
Conan writer Todd Levin's "Just Like That But Funny" essay for Good magazine explains point-by-point what can and will go wrong when you're working in the "volume-driven business" of a daily comedy show. There are so many fail factors at play when you're cranking out sketches at such a rapid rate, he writes, like for example, poor acting, unforeseen bloopers like botched dialogue or "subpar" puppetry, the inability to perceive the crappiness of one's own work and, of course, the propensity for comedy writers to go too dark. "If there were a late-night comedy show completely run by comedy writers, without any interference from a host, producer, or [...]
Watching Conan's Chinese knock-off work the crowd last night really makes you notice the power of Coco's physical comedy. Give me 40 minutes of hip string work and I probably wouldn't have noticed that the entire show was in Cantonese. The main difference seemed to be that Chinese Andy was way, way more into his job. Also, on something of a side note: what is Jet Li up to these days?
Big government hand jobs. Awkward interracial foot rubs. The combination of Conan's snow-white Yeti feet and his painful laugh-gasm face. There is no element of Jason Sudeikis' Conan interview that doesn't have me mirroring Andy's increasingly distressed smile. Even when Sudeikis checks under the seat cushion is strange. For what? What's under there? The Horrible Bosses clip was the least dark part of this whole segment.
Since it debuted in November, Conan O’Brien’s TBS show has been gradually loosening up and it’s starting to feel like the old Late Night show. Personally, I couldn’t be happier. But as I’ve noticed this transformation happening, I've found myself pining for some of the classic, random characters that helped define Late Night.
When Conan made the switch to the Tonight Show, everyone wondered if he'd use any of his old characters or bits from Late Night. Similarly, after the separation from NBC, everyone asked the same question, secretly hoping that somehow old friends like the Masturbating Bear would make the transition with him to TBS. I don't know [...]