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272/365 – CONON O’BRIEN
© 2012 Timmy Tamisiea. All rights reserved. A flag I can follow.

272/365 – CONON O’BRIEN

When I was a kid, I could not wait for summer vacation.  “Oh, Tim, thanks for the enlightening intro to your dumb blog.  I don;t have time for you’re  lame stories, I have to ride my fixie to get some mustache cream  I’ll read about your boring midwest childhood at www.noshitsherlock.com.”  Whoa, hold up there imaginary hipster reader who’s all sarcastic and stuff.  Give me a few more lines here . . . deal?  “Fine.  Make it quick.  I have a latte waiting.”  Okay, okay.

Sorry, Captain Hipster, Lord Of Childhood Stories.

See, summers, for me, meant that I could stay up on a weeknight and watch David Lettermen.  I LOVED David Lettermen.  Lettermen, to me, in the 80s, brought this unique style of wackiness to his shows.  They were almost vaudevillian . . . circus even.  The Top 10 Lists, Stupid Pet Tricks, Stupid Human Tricks, Overhead Camera Vision, weird stunts, throwing things off the top of New York buildings . . . for a 10 year old, that was magic.  I used to draw pictures of the guy, for Christ’s sake.  I was obsessed.  I had all the Top 10 books.  I even begged my mom for David Letterman’s mom’s cookbook.  His show was just stupid enough for a 10 year old like me:

At that age, I wanted nothing more than to be a late night talk show host.  You got to interview actors, musicians, crazy people, write and perform sketches and create an environment of insanity that no prime time spot could ever fill.   Then the whole late night debacle between Leno and Letterman happened.  It seemed as if the late 80s/early 90’s had kind of killed late night and this wasn’t helping.  Were we going to lose Letterman too?  No one new could start up a show without tanking —

Isn’t that right, Mr. Chase?

See, in 1993, Lettermen left NBC for CBS after he was passed up for replacing Carson on the Tonight Show.  Leno took that resposibility and has held onto it with a kung-fu grip.  This tall, weird looking red haired guy was supposed to take over Late Night.  No one had heard of Conan O’Brien.  No one.  He was a writer and editor for The National Lampoon and also wrote for The Simpsons.  That was about all I knew.  He was such a mystery.  I remember the papers throwing out article after article with speculation on the life span of Late Night.

Why couldn’t you have just stuck around, Johnny. Everyone would have been happy.

It was Conan’s stint on Late Night that brought me back to the fold of late night talk show viewers.  He was the most genuine funny man I had seen in ages.  He reminded me so much of one of my own best friends, Joel Frenzer.  On top of that, he was, and still is, one of the best interviewers on TV.  See, Leno makes interviewing look like paint by numbers.  It’s clear he’s on a script of questions and it feels stiff and rehearsed.  Conan feels inspired, spontaneous and, as I said, genuine.  His interactions with his guests are like watching your two best friends have a mesmerizing, in-depth conversation.

He’s looking for his cue cards . . . in is hair.

All this late night talk show hub-a-baloo has a point.  A few months back, the internship coordinator at Columbia recommended me for an internship with Conan.  Unfortunately, the Conan contact left for a job in DC.  So, I thought I was out.  Then the new lady in charge contacted Columbia and I got another recommendation.  Today I had my interview.  Before I went in, they sent me a list of the Conan internships . . . all of which I would be more than happy to participate in.   The two I chose to talk about were the Comedy and the Script Internships.

The Comedy internship hs the participant researching and going out to look for music and comedy acts for teh show.  the Script internship has the two partcipants running show changes and scripts to the department heads.  I would be happy with either of these.  However, when I get to my interview, I’m asked, “You want to be a writer, right?”  Yeah I do.  “Good.  I’m going to recommend you for the Monologue Internship.”

What?  That wasn’t on the list.  “No, it’s an unlisted internship.  We reccomend people for it.  I find that Grad students usually do better in specific departments as opposed to general internships . . . and they work harder.  they know what they want.  With all your writing background, yo’d be perfect for the internship.”

A flag I can follow.

So, I have one more interview and a test before I’m accepted.  EXCITED!  Somehow, I’ve managed to position myself in a role that has been a dormant lifetime dream — to write on a late night talk show . . . and Conan’s show of all the shows.  Cross your fingers, this is about to get REAL.  I want to be on Team Coco!  So, I’m writing jokes to help orient myself with that kind of writing — seeing that I’m more of a long form guy.  Hopefully I’ll get some good ones.

One Comment

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