By Eric Ditzian
In February, news reports suggested Conan O’Brien’s first post-”Tonight Show” move would be to launch a live theatrical tour that would mix parts of his TV work with new stage elements. It actually turned out that Coco’s opening act as the funniest unemployed man in America was to open a Twitter account — and thank Heavens for that! — but now it seems that live tour is really going to happen.
A TMZ story called attention to a Ticketmaster page selling tickets to a Conan O’Brien show at the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona on Friday, April 30. Ticketmaster confirmed to TMZ that they are in fact selling tickets to an O’Brien stage show. No other shows were listed, and the Phoenix listing has now been removed.
Conan’s publicist told MTV News that arrangements for any live shows are still in the planning phases and it would be premature to confirm the Phoenix date. An definitive announcement about the tour, however, could come as early as next week.
Before we start jumping for joy at the prospect of Conan coming to a theater near us in the near future, let’s pause to speculate on what the show might entail. Initial reports billed the show as a “revue,” which conjures up images of Prohibition-era dames dancing the Charleston next to bawdy men in tuxedo tails but which is really just a fancy name for what Conan did on TV for nearly two decades: skits, music and send-ups of contemporary events and culture. Add some appearances by special guests, a monologue, pre-taped segments and a healthy dose of audience participation, and you can begin to imagine what the show might deliver.
It’s also worth noting that Conan has taken his “Late Night” show on the road before. In February 2004, he launched a series of televised performances from Toronto’s Elgin Theatre. The format did not stray far from the one familiar to long-time viewers. Yet the shows did generate some controversy, after a segment featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog zinging French speakers forced Conan to issue an apology. “People of Quebec, I’m sorry,” he declared as a French translator said, with English subtitles, “People of Quebec, I’m an albino jackass.”
Two years later, Conan brought “Late Night” to Chicago, followed the next year by a stint in San Francisco. Reports suggest the new theatrical shows would hit large-ish venues in cities across America, with possible international stops as far away as the United Kingdom and Australia. Will the first destination be Arizona? We’ll have to wait for that announcement next week. For now, Coco seems to be pursuing other lines of work.
“This morning I applied for a job at Home Depot, but they couldn’t find an apron big enough to fit over my head,” he tweeted on Thursday. “Tomorrow: Staples.”