Conan Returns Home… For a Couple Nights

Matt Kiebus :: Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010 1:45 pm

America’s funniest ginger not named Carrot Top returned home last night. Conan O’Brien’s Legally Prohibited from Being on Television Tour reached New York City last night, performing the first of two nights at Radio City Music Hall. A mere 200 feet away from NBC headquarters the lanky redhead delighted the crowd with his wacky variety show. Being back in the city that made him famous O’Brien invited some of his famous friends to join in on the fun and Vampire Weekend to play a tune.

Conan O’Brien spent 16 years as the much-loved host of Late Night with Conan O’Brien before moving on to the coveted Tonight Show job. We all know how that ended. Some jealous man-child got tired with his cars and wanted his toy back or something? Since his unceremonious departure from the Tonight Show, which ended up being the best two weeks of late night television in years, O’Brien has hit the road spreading joy, Radiohead covers, and NBC digs from Eugene, OR to Upper Darby, PA. But New York City is a different animal; it’s his adopted hometown. So he did what he does best, make ‘em laugh.

During his opening monologue he addressed one of the media’s favorite topics: his unemployment beard. O’Brien gauged the crowd’s opinion on his facial hair, while pointing out another fan’s opinion – “he looks like Paul Bunyan with an eating disorder.” He also reminded audiences that this is the first time in his life where people are paying to see him perform and that it had always been a dream of his to take the stage at Radio City Music Hall.

There has been a lot of fuss about the competition O’Brien will face in his new 11 p.m. spot on TBS. Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report will overlap the same timeslot and share the same demographic. Well, Stewart and Colbert visited to make light of the matter. They laughed, danced/raved and Stewart was eventually shot by Andy Richter. But it was all in good fun.

O’Brien’s tour has also been marked by plenty of great musical guests and last night was no different with Vampire Weekend performing “Walcott” off their first album. Conan joined in playing rhythm guitar.

Old crowd favorites also returned to the stage such as the Masturbating Bear reinvented as the Self-Pleasuring Panda, and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Also John Kransinski, Bill Hader, and Paul Rudd all showed up to pull the Walker, Texas Ranger lever.

It’s nice to see O’Brien back in New York; he fits as perfectly as aggressive pigeons and asshole cabbies. His first attempt at a stand-up tour has been extremely successful, selling out every date on the tour. Hopefully after the tour is over he’ll cleanse himself from the NBC situation and focus on the future. If the “Legally Prohibited from Being on Funny on Television Tour” has shown the industry anything it’s that Mr. O’Brien isn’t going anywhere and he doesn’t need conventional means to continue to make us laugh. Although a late night show would be pretty nice.