I caught a few minutes of the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday night; this award show usually takes place the night before the Academy Awards. To present the award for Best Documentary were two actors playing Joaquin Phoenix and Christian Bale (as Batman). If you saw the real Joaquin Phoenix’s strange appearance on the “Late Show With David Letterman” and know about Christian Bale’s meltdown while filming a movie and yelling at a crew member, then you may find this to be amusing.
While growing up, one of my favorite television shows was “Late Night With David Letterman.” I remember Johnny Carson taking many vacations and not working on Mondays, but someone like Gary Shandling or Jay Leno would fill in on “The Tonight Show” as a guest host; one of my “dream jobs” was to be a regular guest host for David Letterman.
In 1993, Johnny Carson retired and Jay Leno was announced as the new host of “The Tonight Show” on NBC. David Letterman then left “Late Night” and moved to CBS, where he would be on television an hour eariler to compete against “The Tonight Show.” An unknown writer was soon named as the new host of “Late Night.” It was Conan O’Brien who was replacing David Letterman.
Since I was a huge fan of “Late Night With David Letterman,” I had videotaped the first few shows for both David Letterman and Conan O’Brien in 1993 (the VHS tapes are still in a box stored away somewhere). I thought “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” was terrible; the show was not funny and the monologue did not seem to include jokes about current events. After a few weeks, I stopped watching. Eventually, the show was televised three hours after “The Tonight Show” in Houston and I soon forgot about it for the most part.
Many years later, I noticed Comedy Central was replaying the previous night’s “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” show each afternoon. I watched a few episodes while I was on vacation one week and noticed a huge difference from the first season: Conan was funny; the writing was funny; the monologue had jokes about current events; the show was great. From what I remember, the show still had a bad timeslot in Houston, but I did watch it if I was awake. The show was eventually moved back to the correct timeslot following “The Tonight Show.”
“The Tonight Show” has always been known to have an older audience, and “Late Night” caters to a younger generation; my main concern (which seemed to be the same for many other people) about Conan O’Brien becoming the new host of “The Tonight Show” was that he would be told to tone down his sense of humor. Conan’s fans were relieved to hear Conan state that he will not grow up and change his sense of humor.
Watch the final minutes of “Late Night” as Conan says goodbye:
As some of my readers know, I live in Houston, TX. For quite some time, “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” aired in Houston after 2:30am CST (three hours after “The Tonight Show” was over); in every other city, “Late Night” was televised directly after “The Tonight Show.”
When Conan O’Brien replaced David Letterman in 1993, “Late Night” was still shown in Houston at the normal time following “The Tonight Show.” I’m not sure of the reason why, but the show eventually moved timeslots. Since I was usually asleep, I did not watch many episodes during the 1990′s.
For some reason, I was awake and watched the show one night (or morning); during the show, I saw a segment in which Conan O’Brien visited Houston to find out what was happening while his show aired. I thought it was hilarious to see Conan spend time in Houston, knowing that America’s fourth largest city was airing his show at the wrong time.
This segment was always special to me, and others must have enjoyed it too since Conan showed it again as a favorite moment of the show:
One day at work, I received an email with a video attachment from a friend. It was a segment being passed around from “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” starring a puppet named Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Triumph was at the opening of “Star Wars: Attack Of the Clones” in 2002, and he met the die-hard fans waiting in line for the movie.
I can not recall laughing so hard, and I remember watching the video multiple times. From then on, I was always excited to receive emails of additional videos starring Triumph.
In my opinion, this is the funniest Triumph video that has been made and it was selected as a favorite moment of the show: