Monday, May 10, 2010


This week's perspective from Orli Giroux Namian

Even those of us who can’t manage to stay up to watch late night TV are familiar with the sharp-elbowed exchanges around NBC’s reshuffling of its late night show line up last January. It isn’t as though Conan O’Brien left the struggling network with only the clothes on his back – in exchange for a non-disparagement clause, CoCo got a $32 million buy out. The newly jobless and greatly enriched O’Brien bided his time, grew a beard, embarked on a 40 city comedy tour and inked a deal with TBS in the few months before he could legally take to the airwaves. In the meantime, a bruised Jay Leno went back to hosting the Tonight Show. Last Sunday, with the non-disparage clause barely expired, Conan appeared on 60 Minutes for his first post-NBC departure interview. Surprisingly, in his first TV appearance in months, Conan lacked the comedic touch that has marked his career. He likened the events at NBC to “a marriage breaking up suddenly, violently, quickly.” He said he “got very depressed at times” and that he was “laughing because crying would be sad.” Instead of wallowing in self-pity, why not turn the page, take the opportunity to talk about things to come and set the stage for the next step in what has been a pretty stellar and lucrative career thus far? The “woe is me” route, when there is not much woe to speak of, is not exactly the best way to expand your fan base and endear yourself to an audience save for your die-hard supporters. So for coming off all wet in his first prime time interview, the dry humour guy gets a Fumble.

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