Conan’s Spectacular Finish

Dear Internet,

I always gauge the quality of an event by how heavily it affects you after it’s over.  The finale of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien is still swirling around in my brain almost a day after the historical episode aired.

Conan’s friends came out to show their support and see him off with glory.  It says a lot when Tom Hanks, the nicest man in Hollywood, says he’ll always consider Conan the host of The Tonight Show.  In addition, Steve Carell dropped by to give him a corporate NBC exit interview.  Neil Young, who called Conan as soon as he found out things were finished, delivered a sombre acoustic rendition of ‘Long May You Run.’  I’m sure Conan was balling off stage at this point. 

Conan stuck to his guns once again saying: “Every comedian dreams of hosting the Tonight Show and, for seven months, I got to.  I did it my way, with people I love, and I do not regret a second. I’ve had more good fortune than anyone I know, and if our next gig is doing a show in a 7-Eleven parking lot, we’ll find a way to make it fun.”

The show ended with an awesome rendition of the Skynyrd classic, ‘Freebird.’  In true Conan style, they played the entire song with Will Ferrell (disguised as Ronnie Van Zant) pulling double duty on both vocals and cowbell – that’s right, cowbell.  Conan confirmed his awesomeness by jamming through the whole song, backed my Max and the band, Ben Harper, Beck and Billy Gibbons. If that weren’t cool enough, he crushed out some killer solos during the last half of the song.

Watching it was a bizarre thing, especially for someone like myself who remembers staying up late when I was a kid in the mid-nineties, with the TV just loud enough so I could just barely hear it and avoid getting in shit from my parents.  How is this man; so funny, positive, talented, and charismatic now without a show?

You really have to give Conan credit.  He had the opportunity to hand everyone their asses last night and instead took the noble high road, thanking everyone, including NBC.  He explained that while they have their differences now, they’ve worked together on great terms for 20 years.  You are a better man than I, Mr. O’Brien.

I am still a bit upset, since I won’t have my daily Coco anymore, but happy at the same time since I just got to watch one of the best television episodes that I will ever experience.  You can tell Conan is upset as well, but he has put on a brave face and delivered encouraging and motivational words to his fans and colleagues.  He taught me a lesson too.  Stay positive and good things will come to you.  Hard to believe sometimes, but it’s better than living your life bitching and moaning.

Regardless of what Conan O’Brien does next, he has cemented his place as the hero of the underdogs.  I dare you to watch his final speech again without crying like a baby.

Matt Williams

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2 Responses to Conan’s Spectacular Finish

  1. Dennis says:

    My wife and I were fortunate to be at the taping of COCO’s last show. We camped in the cold rain for 14 hours just to get a standby ticket, which per Conan’s website gave us a “50/50 shot” at being in the audience. Well, after 14 hours of waiting, we were given pass numbers 33 and 34. To make a long story short, they let in 60 out of the 100 standby tickets given out. The reason I’m telling you this is to emphasize how much class Conan and his team have – 60 standby tickets were admitted because the VIPs were NOT admitted. VIPs such as Conan’s wife,Jeff Ross’ family, and other family/friends of the cast and crew who would normally have a seat, were made to stand in the aisles so that us soaking-wet faithful could watch the taping. During “Long May You Run” Conan was not visibly sobbing, but was sitting at his desk with his head in his hands, so one can infer. Before the end of the commercial break preceding his monolouge about NBC, he made the sign of the cross on his chest.
    Being an audience member for Conan’s last show was the most amazing experience that I have had, and I’ve done some pretty fantastic stuff. I’ve always loved Conan, and as a teenager in the mid-90’s I loved staying up late to watch Conan and can’t wait to see what’s in store for him next.
    God Bless Conan O’Brien.

    Dennis Laughlin

  2. matt says:

    Wow, that is quite an awesome story to be able to tell. Being up here in Canada, I didn’t exactly have the opportunity to see a live taping, but you’ve confirmed everything I’ve always hoped for about the heart and soul of Conan and his crew. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Matt Williams

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