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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