Conan O’Brien, Civic Theatre: 4/29/2010

As soon as the show was announced, I found myself needing to buy a ticket for the historic Conan O’Brien tour, officially known as “The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour.” Roger and I haven’t owned a television in 5 years, but I knew at once I needed tickets to watch this legend on stage. I also knew that we were on a budget, so orchestra, mezzanine and loge seats were out of the question, so the nose bleeds was our destination.

History in the making. Everyone who made it in those doors knew they were about to experience something epic. It wasn’t just Conan’s intro over-exaggerating the fact that this show in San Diego was going to be his best yet; it was the once in a lifetime opportunity to see him perform live and uninhibited.

His background, unlike many late night hosts, did not include stand up comedy. He dabbled in improv in college, but mainly he was a writer… a hilariously funny writer, but a writer nonetheless. My love for comedy and subsequent involuntary analysis of crowds and comedy performances reeled me in.

The opening act, Reggie Watts blew everyone’s minds with his looping. After the crowd got over their amazement of this late 1960’s technology, they were drawn into his barrage of vocal accents. Taking it to the max, Watts performed “Fuck Shit Stack” busting our guts to pieces. I was nearly hyperventilating by the end of his 40 minute performance.

Conan started off by opening up to the audience, sharing his personal struggles coping with his loss of his job. Personable and honest just as everyone expected and hoped. Oh and yes, comedy. He formatted his live performance much like his television show, but without interviews and the addition of lots of music.

I had read that he enjoys playing guitar. Since this was his show and he could do it his way, he ended up performing 3-4 songs (covers with some rewritten lyrics). It was cool to see him happy, doing what he enjoys, but only mildly entertaining.

Comedian, Deon Cole, told a few funnys while Andy Ritcher hung out like old times with Conan adding his two cents every now and then. The surprise guest for San Diego was none other than Jason Mraz. Me, not so excited to see the guy. We got Jason (who I could have seen for earlier that evening free at Java Joes), while LA got Jim Carrey, Seattle got Eddie Vedder and Eugene, Oregon got Spoon. Sorry, I have to say that I think we lost out. I just might need to continue my thoughts on this topic in a later post (i.e. Jason Mraz and San Diego fans) because I realize i might be coming off as a hater.

However, it was great to see Conan recycle and reuse old bits from the show, sharing he needed to reinvent them as they were most likely the intellectual property of NBC.  The Masturbating Bear returned as the Self Pleasuring Panda which I personally feel has a better ring to it. And the Walker Texas Ranger lever now is a Chuck Norris handle of some sort? I never watched this show and after seeing a few clips I wonder how this show was ever taken seriously?

This had to be my favorite moment of the night. Oh, and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s prerecorded praise/slam of _____ city and _____ gay neighborhood and _____ restaurant. Classic Triumph form.

Although the show was not at all what I expected, I still had a great time and grateful for being a part of this historic moment in time. Yeah, I realize that it isn’t like being there for Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but pretty cool in my books.


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