Monday (April 12) may have been Cosmonautics Day in Russia and the Feast of Blessed Angelo Carletti di Chivasso to Christians, but it might as well have been re-named Conan O'Brien day. The comedian not only announced the first details regarding his return to television (he'll be doing a late night talk show on TBS starting in November), but he also kicked off his hotly-anticipated Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene, Oregon.
Nobody knew what to expect from the show, but it played out a lot like the old "Late Night" show used to. There was some stand-up (Conan opened the show with a monologue), music (Spoon stopped by to play a song before their set across town, and Conan jammed with the Labamba-led backing band), sketches and a handful of drop-ins from friends and characters (including Andy Richter, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and the Masturbating Bear). He'll continue hitting cities across North America into June, so if you happen to catch him in your town, here are the five best bits from opening night that he has to live up to moving forward.
"You may have heard I got a new gig. I'll be the assistant manager at the Eugene Banana Republic."
O'Brien was quick to address the big news in his career, opening up his monologue with a self-deprecating jab. It set the tone for the whole evening: Dry, slightly unruly and bitingly funny.
"Usually you have to go to a Dave Matthews concert to see this many white people."
There are still questions as to who owns the rights to Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, but he made an appearance regardless. In a pre-taped bit, he took a shot at the audience and followed with a great bit of business that saw him riff on local people and places with the help of awkward dubbing. It's amazing how "localized" the show was, which bodes well for the variations down the line.
"That's the least threatening bat I've ever seen!"
O'Brien claimed he needed a "wow" moment, so he brought out an inflatable bat that supposedly came from Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell tour. When it was revealed, O'Brien enjoyed the disappointment. "It's like a used car lot!" he shouted.
The Self-Pleasuring Panda
Like Triumph, it's uncertain whether O'Brien can still use the Masturbating Bear. But he wouldn't deny the crowd one of his most beloved characters, so he brought out the Self-Pleasuring Panda. In fact, the idea that he was doing something that would upset lawyers cropped up regularly during the show (which made sense, considering the tour's title).
The Eight Stages of Grief After Losing Your Talk Show
During the monologue, O'Brien explained the process he went through to get back on stage. "Denial, blame myself, blame everyone else around me, anger, paranoia, 36 hours of Red Bull and 'Halo,' buy everything Amazon says I would also like — I bought a Team Edward thong! — and get your ass to Eugene, Oregon!"
What are you most looking forward to in Conan's stage show? Let us know in the comments!