There was a beard, a backstage goof, and a host shredding the guitar; at the end of the hour, it was good television. Conan O'Brien made his return to television tonight after several months in limbo due to Jay Leno stealing his show a few months ago and NBC behaving like cowards. In retaliation, Conan stayed in the public consciousness with a funny twitter account, a nightclub and small arena act, and humorous commercials promoting Conan's new late night talk show at 11pm eastern time on TBS.
It began with an opening skit lampooning Conan's soap opera like departure from NBC and arrival at TBS. Then the new set was revealed and Andy Richter was welcomed as the new, old co-host. The new band is appropropriately called The Basic Cable Band. They sounded tight. One of Conan's old character's made his return as well. Let;s just say it's a Bear and he;s frisky. The first real guest was actor Seth Rogen who will be starring in The Green Hornet. Rogen riffed about medical pot in California and how he proposed to his wife in an embarrassing and slightly profane way. Lea Michelle was the next guest and her visit was just ok until something fell backstage and interrupted her tain of thought. Conan handled it with aplumb and saved a boring interview and made the while segment work. The end of the show was the best. I am a fan of The White Stripes and their lead singer/songwriter, guitarist Jack White. White and Conan have been moonlighting with a musical side project and Conan played guitar and both men sang a new song with gusto. The entire performance was fun.
Conan wore a beard for the show, showed his trademark self deprecation, kept the pace loose despite a stilted monologue. The Conan show is aiming for the 18-45 demographic. Tomorrow night's show had Soundgarden as the musical guest. It;s not Jay leno or Dave Letterman. It's not even old Conan. It's new. It's unique. Mostly, it's Conan. He should be on television as much as possible.
Beard - A, opening/monologue - C, Rogen - B, Michelle - B, Jack White - A, pace - B, Overall - B+
Can't wait to be back into Conan fulltime. Welcome back Team Coco.