Thursday, October 20, 2005

oh those late nights ...

Just when you are about to call it a night, you stumble upon a tall, lanky,geeky dorky looking funny redhead on cable tellie…

You ask yourself: what’s this about? What’s he about? Why’s he jumping on the stage? Trying to be funny and all?  

And then you find out for yourself:  this is pretty good…next to another red-head named Archie Andrews, this guy really rocks!  He’s funny and even funnier is how he puts himself down. But make no mistake-- the dude is actually a low-profile overachiever…having graduated with high honors (read: magna cum laude) from no less than Harvard University.  And you say to yourself, geez-he’s a geek in disguise…well he certainly is…

But there’s more to this guy who was once described by a dude from the Washington Post as a “living collage of annoying nervous habits. He giggles and titters, jiggles about and fiddles with his cuffs. He has dark, beady little eyes like a rabbit. He's one of the whitest white men ever." –( Tom Shales, The Washington Post)

I caught this beady eyed Irish lad  from 2 years ago right when I was still into David Letterman…I hated Jay Leno for unknown reasons and it almost rubbed off on him but he was able to redeem himself.  How could he not…

Well, this is how he gets to you…

Mr. O’brien simply:
  1. Clasps his hands during his monologue, between setup and punchline

  2. Often knocks over his desk microphone (on purpose)

  3. His sketches sometimes have a surreal tone

  4. Makes extensive use of chromakey, puppetry, and cheap-looking models pulled by threads

  5. Sometimes switches into a silly voice or affectation and back again, similarly to Robin Williams but not so manic

  6. Often jokes that his show is underfunded and unpopular due to its late time slot when it is, in fact, highly successful

  7. Often moves outside the camera frame or very close to the camera during his monologue

  8. Often hops around like a bunny

  9. Often manipulates his pompadour

  10. Often makes fun of his red hair and large head

  11. Always does a hop and gesture with the band at the beginning of his show

  12. Almost always comments on the audiences' applause before his monologue

  13. Often makes fun of Kirstie Alley and Ruben Studdard for being overweight. Paris Hilton and Michael Jackson also make easy targets for him

  14. Performs the string dance at the request of guests on his show, and sometimes on his own
Can you tell that I really look up to this guy?

Wait til you read about his scholastic endeavors…
After graduating as the valedictorian from Brookline High School (Brookline, Massachusetts), O’Brien entered Harvard University. Throughout his college career, he was a writer for the Harvard Lampoon humor magazine. During his junior and senior years, O’Brien served as the Lampoon's president, making him only the second person ever to serve as president twice, and the first person to have done it in 85 years. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1985 with a concentration in American History and Literature.

His credits?
Writer - filmography Late Night with Conan O'Brien: 10th Anniversary Special (2003) (TV)
  1. 50 Years of NBC Late Night (2001) (TV)

  2. Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary (1999) (TV)

  3. Saturday Night Live: The Best of Phil Hartman (1998) (TV)

  4. "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (1993) TV Series (writer)

  5. Lookwell (1991) (TV)

  6. "The Simpsons" (1989) TV Series (writer) (episode 4.08 "New Kid on the Block") (writer) (episode 4.12 "Marge vs. the Monorail") (writer) (episode 5.03 "Homer Goes to College") (writer) (episode 5.05 "Treehouse of Horror IV") (as Watch Conan O'Brien)

  7. "Saturday Night Live" (1975) TV Series (writer) (1987-1991) ... aka NBC's Saturday Night (USA: original title) ... aka SNL ... aka SNL 25 (USA: new title) ... aka Saturday Night Live '80 (USA: new title)

  8. "Not Necessarily the News" (1983) TV Series (writer)
Producer - filmography
  1. "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (1993) TV Series (producer)

  2. "The Simpsons" (1989) TV Series (producer) (1991-1993)

  3. Lookwell (1991) (TV) (producer)
Truly a rarity on late night tv…never thought that my insomnia would give me something good…didn’t know that it’d come out as a 6 foot 4” red head…

Lemme end this  by sharing with you a part of his commencement speech at harvard back in 2000…

I've dwelled on my failures today because, as graduates of Harvard, your biggest liability is your need to succeed. Your need to always find yourself on the sweet side of the bell curve. Because success is a lot like a bright, white tuxedo. You feel terrific when you get it, but then you're desperately afraid of getting it dirty, of spoiling it in any way. I left the cocoon of Harvard, I left the cocoon of Saturday Night Live, I left the cocoon of The Simpsons. And each time it was bruising and tumultuous. And yet, every failure was freeing, and today I'm as nostalgic for the bad as I am for the good. So, that's what I wish for all of you: the bad as well as the good. Fall down, make a mess, break something occasionally. And remember that the story is never over. If it's all right, I'd like to read a little something from just this year: "Somehow, Conan O'Brien has transformed himself into the brightest star in the Late Night firmament. His comedy is the gold standard and Conan himself is not only the quickest and most inventive wit of his generation, but quite possible the greatest host ever." Ladies and Gentlemen, Class of 2000, I wrote that this morning, as proof that, when all else fails, there's always delusion. I'll go now, to make bigger mistakes and to embarrass this fine institution even more. But let me leave you with one last thought: If you can laugh at yourself loud and hard every time you fall, people will think you're drunk. Thank you.

Only  a few people can come up with something hillarious as that but still sensible…  Only Conan the O’brien can do that… well, I hope someday I could too…

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