Friday, January 15, 2010

Now I'm with Coco, although until recently I had almost completely stopped watching him

I'm with Coco. I started out a fan when his late night show originally started. He was smart, wacky and sometimes incredibly funny. Over the years, though, I grew disenchanted with his schtick. When NBC made its incredible blunder of moving Jay to prime time and Conan to the Tonight Show, I thought both men were miscast for their new demographics. I was upset with NBC, but also with Jay and Conan. Why did they acquiesce? Why didn't they at least try something new with their new shows? I wasn't surprised by their plummeting ratings. I couldn't stand to watch the train wreck. And besides, Letterman was on a roll.

And then everything changed. Jeff Zucker doubled down on his original mistake and created another nightmare at NBC (is this really impressing his new bosses at Comcast?) Soon Jay was being portrayed as the bad guy, and Conan as the victim -- partly because Jay played his cards ineptly and came off as a whiner and schemer, while Conan just had a field day. So, suddenly I was with Coco.

With a feeling of deja vu all over again. When had this happened to me before? Of course. Bill Clinton. I had high hopes for Clinton even though he wasn't my original choice. But from the euphoria of his election, it was one steady stream of disappointments -- the failure healthcare reform, the whole messy business of triangulation and his Oval Office escapades with Monica. Then the Republicans attacked and tried to impeach Clinton, turning his private moral failings into a constitutional crisis. Suddenly I was for Bill.

Just a sucker for underdogs, I guess.

Update: Just came across this terrific essay by Nathan Rabin of the Onion AV Club about why most professional comics despise Leno and quickly climbed aboard the "I'm with Coco" bandwagon. It wasn't always that way, and Rabin links to a video clip from a very different time back in the eighties when Leno was really funny, tight with David Letterman and a frequent guest on his show. The problems go back to Leno's taking over the Tonight Show and the compromises he made as a result.


JamJam said...

I too was a longtime Conan watcher/lover. IMO, his show started to lose its edge when the announcement that he was taking over for Leno occurred back in 2004. On his Tonight Show, he was a shell of his former off-the-wall self. You're right, he was totally miscast for the new demographic and not even dumbing down his show could fix that. I'm a dedicated Fallon watcher now. He's the new old Conan, if that makes any sense.

Anonymous said...

Lady Gaga should have a talk show