Some might say that The Tonight Show, in its mythical, beloved form, ended years ago, when Jay Leno bashed it down into a formulaic, unfunny pulp. But at the very least, I think we can all agree that going forward The Tonight Show no longer really exists. The brand is sullied. No one cares anymore. And probably because I’m not old, and I never watched Johnny Carson, I don’t really care all that much, either. It never meant anything to me, really. The scene has splintered, and while some bemoan the loss of a cultural institution, all I know is that now I can watch Letterman, Stewart, Colbert, maybe even a bit of Kimmel or Ferguson or Fallon here and there. And in a little more than seven months, I’ll probably be able to watch Conan again. I have a computer. I have a DVR. The more the merrier, guys.
That doesn’t mean that what happened to Conan was fair. Considering that NBC has seemingly done everything possible to undermine his ability to produce a successful show, I think he’s handled himself well throughout this. And so has Leno, in his own way; I mean, I think he’s kind of a scumbag, but I wasn’t going to watch him anyway. He’s portraying himself as a victim, and his is audience is still on his side. I have no doubt he’ll pull ratings that are higher than what Conan was getting prior to all of this mess. But his audience will just keep getting older, and advertisers won’t want to advertise for them, and the death of traditional late night television will be accelerated even more. Oh, NBC.
Anyway, I thought I would do another not-at-all-live live blog with my thoughts during the last night of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. Also known as probably the last night of late night television as we once knew it. I’ll put in some Hulu clips if they get posted; since NBC has continued to somewhat bafflingly put this stuff online, I have to assume they will continue to do so. I’ll also disperse a few photos I took throughout.
Update: Not surprisingly, NBC has taken the videos below off of Hulu. I’m leaving the dead remnants up, though, because it seems appropriate.
11:35 – Our last time hearing this theme song, I would imagine; NBC surely owns it. My favorite Conan opening was the Late Night one where he was running around New York and eventually jumped into the river. He comes out to a standing ovation and Johanna and I both feel very sad.