Jay Leno is out. Well, sort of. Conan O’Brien is in. Now come the questions.
Can Conan hold the late night crown? Will Conan be able to adjust his humor to fit the earlier time slot? How funny can Conan be without Triumph the Insult Dog? (You know you were asking that one.) One show down, was it funny?
The show opens with the old NBC logo and the formerly ubiquitous “Brought to you in living color” slogan. Conan has a new set, a new desk, and a new theme song. The song is a nice update to Conan’s original Late Night theme. The questions continue to roll in.
Will Conan continue the nipple-pulling, puppet-pantomime, spin-jump-point intro? Mostly no. It was definitely strange to watch Conan walk out without antics, jumping, swaggering, or adding bathroom-spackle to the hair. The show in general can really be summed up by what happened next. Conan turned the n-p,p-p,s-j-p (see above) into jump-point. The show in general was definitely toned down from the previous Late Night drunk test humor into a Tonight Show version that contains less slapstick elements.
Conan really got his start in Hollywood as a writer for the Simpsons. To be a successful writer on a show that has been that funny and well-known for so long has got to be a credit to his sense of humor. It showed in his performance last night. He altered his humor — not to make it less funny, but to make it more relevant to an earlier crowd.
The show was grandiose and it was funny. If — for one minute — you’re led to believe that the first night had to be funny because NBC wouldn’t let it not be funny… well, just watch Jimmy Fallon’s first show on Late Night. That was certainly not funny. Not even a little bit. The fact that Conan was able to come out big and have an entertaining and relevant first show is a good sign.
To watch, see Conan’s First Show on Hulu.com.