Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan The Destroyer would have more appeal stepping in for Johnny Carson, as would a resurrected Dick Cavett, Arsenio Hall, Joan Rivers – any of the above, all masters of late night talk. If you didn’t live through the Carson era when Johnny and Dick ruled late night, way before Dave and Jay, you would understand why the sophomoric Conan is hardly “cerebral”, as his press reads, leaning more towards insincere.
Why should we apologize if we don’t like the “New Coke” talk show host that is Conan at 11:30 PM? Leno was already getting tired with his overdone “The economy is bad” routine, but here’s a little advice to them all, all the Jimmy Fallon and Craig Ferguson and Jimmy Kimmel types, (what a wasteland of boring individuals!) – go back to the beginning and study the DVDs of the greats!
CONAN, YOU ARE NO JOHNNY CARSON
So we gave this “new coke” TV host at 11:30 PM a spin last night. It was difficult, it was tough to endure. The Jay Leno formula was already beaten into the ground…5 minute songs to wind-up the broadcast. Wouldn’t an interview with Pearl Jam have been more interesting than the group going through homogenized sounds and stock riffs? Why do the musicians get tossed to the end of the show? Why does the host have to do lame stand-up comedy on channel after channel? Bill Cosby, certainly a giant, was droning on and on on David Letterman – so unless you are a die-hard Letterman fan, chances are Leno’s crowd isn’t going to defect to DL and CBS. Chances are they are just going to go away.
SPEAKING OF GOING PLACES…
NBC has no place to go. Conan O’Brien even derided the network as his predecessor did. Conan and Jay are less expensive than more editions of Law & Order: Criminal Victims Unit Special Damaged People Disorders, but are they compelling programming? And if you think the “competition” on broadcast television is going to benefit totally from Conan’s niche audience and Leno’s sorry need of reinvention, well, methinks people are going to go to cable, movie channels or the internet. You get what you pay for and NBC is playing to people who are comfortable in the cheap seats.
Conan O’Brien doesn’t have the talent to be a pioneer like Steve Allen, Jack Paar or Johnny Carson, so if he can’t open the door, how presumptuous of NBC to think he can carry on in the same tradition?
What the format needs is Conan the destroyer: Arnold Schwarzenegger A superstar like Arnold or even Jennifer Aniston …someone who can talk to us (despite the thick accent), talk TO people and communicate. O’Brien will talk at us like the tenth grade nerd who keeps trying the same routine long after his fellow students have become more exasperated than the teachers.
Give Joan Rivers a chance. She may be fossilized, but she’s still funny. Same with Phyllis Diller. There’s talent out there, the networks just don’t seem to want to pay for it.