Last night Conan O'Brien arrived at his new basic cable home with Andy Richter, Jimmy Vivino and even the Masturbating Bear (surprise!) in tow, and the show felt... a little like both of his old shows! It was stiff and cautious at times, like The Tonight Show was, and then there'd be a five minute video sketch about Conan getting assassinated at a toll-booth, Godfather-style (I remember reading years ago that he'd begged Entertainment Weekly to let him do that on their cover and they refused, so glad TBS is really making his dreams come true here) and it felt like the relaxed silliness of Late Night all over again. The premiere as a whole wasn't exceptional, or even exceptionally funny throughout, but there is probably wisdom in starting out cautiously. Either way, I really wouldn't say it was a bad episode, so that certainly is something.
Sadly, former Tonight Show fixture Ed McMahon, who played second fiddle to Johnny Carson for 30 years, passed away earlier this week. We weren't sure we could pay tribute to such an icon of television, but luckily, Conan O'Brien did it for us, with a selection of his funniest Tonight Show moments, which you can see below.
What constitutes news, you might ask? An awesome celeb hosting an awards show we've never watched? That's news. Two fallen 1980s movie stars being cast in TV shows? That's news. A TV show set in the 1970s getting dropped like a bad habit? That's news. A 1990s TV star being cast in a remake of a 1980s TV show, due to appear on TV in 2010? That's a math problem, but it's also news. All those decades and more on today's... TwoP News! (Cue American Idol theme music.)
In what's shaping up to be the biggest talk-show shake-up since David Letterman left NBC, Saturday Night Live alum Jimmy Fallon is taking over Late Night from Conan O'Brien, as Conan goes to The Tonight Show and Leno goes to prime time. The movie star's first night is Monday, March 2, with guests Robert De Niro and Van Morrison, and he's filled out the week with old friends like Drew Barrymore and Tina Fey. TWoP sat in on a conference call with Fallon as he opened up about the show's interactivity, his acclaimed house band The Roots and why Shirtless Joe Jackson and Awkward Silence Bear are going to be the next big characters of Late Night.
It's Thursday! Otherwise known as the new Friday, which is now the new Sunday, which, in turn has become the new Saturday. I know, it's confusing. What it boils down to is, you're getting drunk tonight. So before you kill your brain cells with that delicious Zima cocktail, edify yourself with a few of these juicy news bits.
Because today is officially the slowest entertainment news day in the history of entertainment (I'm including original productions of Medea here), I've decided to report some Jimmy Fallon news. I'd really appreciate it if you could pretend to care. As we all know, the SNL alum is poised to take Conan's Late Night job when he leaves to take over The Tonight Show next year. What you don't know is that, at the urging of executive producer Lorne Michaels, Jimmy will be testing out his shtick online first, with five to ten minute online minisodes that will start rolling out six months before he officially takes over the job. I know, please take breaks in between forwarding this riveting information to everyone on the planet. You could injure yourself.
So here's a tough one, if you're a late-night talk-show host: do you keep your show dark, out of solidarity with your writers, or do you just try to improvise, out of solidarity with your production staffers? As Lisa de Moraes points out in the Washington Post, series support staffers don't get paid if the show's not in production, so it's hard for a star in this situation to choose who's more worthy -- particularly if the strike, as Variety conjectures, drags on until mid-next year.