“So to all the people watching I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me,” Conan O’Brien said last Friday as emotion overwhelmed him and cracked his usually crystal clear voice. “I will think about it for the rest of my life and all I ask is one thing… please do not be cynical,” he requested, particularly of his younger fans before stating his good fortune. “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
We change our statuses and our profile pictures because we support a comedian we love and respect, but when was the last time any of us watched The Tonight Show at its regularly scheduled time? The change matters to us only insofar as it affects Conan’s allegiance to NBC and the franchise, but a time change probably wouldn’t affect the 18-24 demographic because we usually watch TV elsewhere.
Although the situation is unfair and Jay Leno sucks, and NBC just wants to keep our grandparents watching up until bedtime, this may actually have been a great move, for NBC (maybe) but definitely for Conan.
While The Tonight Show may be an honor, knowing that you have a solid fan base that has your back is even better. His ratings rose by 50%, there were posters in support of him all over the internet, and all sorts of people came up with creative ways to support him. The PR and intrigue this whole saga has stirred up is going to be enough to propel Conan anywhere he might want to go.
Coco may have said that hosting The Tonight Show was his dream, but he clearly has accomplished something even better. Jay Leno hosted the show for 17 years and while he has a solid older fan base, they don’t care as much as Conan’s fans do. No one ever hosted a Jay Leno Day — and if they did, who noticed? Having fans who care about you trumps hosting the greatest show on earth any day, at least in my book.
By handling the situation with tact, charm and humility he truly won over a large enough audience to appreciate him as well as a niche group of ardent campaigners. Tags for his show on Hulu include “best show ever,” “team conan,” “coco>leno,” and “o’brien rules.” Now that’s support.
People who didn’t really care to watch Conan before tuned in to check out the drama. Thanks to all this exposure, he is officially a favorite among white people.
This could have been the worst thing to happen to Coco, and yet it became one of the biggest turn-arounds in TV history. Leaving The Tonight Show might have seemed like the end of his career and must be so hard for someone who worked so hard to sit in the host’s chair. But he took it in stride, made some really great jokes and came out a hero. And after all this, I dare you not to like Conan.