Entertainment behind the scenes
Conan O’Brien is famous for his geeky pompadour hair style and weird sketches, but on his Monday night debut as host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” the comedian looked as if he meant to tone down the more risky elements of his former show (“Late Night”) to win over audiences grown accustomed to watching the affable Jay Leno for 17 years.
The Masturbating Bear and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog were absent from the show, after becoming burned into the memories of anyone who stayed up until 12:30 a.m. to watch O’Brien’s former show “Late Night” on NBC. Those two staples of the old show were true to its style of using cheap costumes and props to play up a double joke, the surface humor of one-liners and the underlying comedy of a major network show relying on cheesy production values.
Instead, in his “Tonight Show” debut O’Brien relied on an endless stream of humor showing him as a fish-out-of-water transplant from New York landed in Los Angeles. There were jokes involving the Clippers and the Lakers basketball teams, the famed Hollywood sign and a tour of Universal Studios, a theme park attraction. Making fun of L.A. was a staple of Leno’s show, with his “Jaywalking” sketch that involved testing city residents’ often abysmally low knowledge of topical news and history, such as who was the first U.S. president.
In his “Tonight Show” debut, O’Brien made fun of L.A. too, but most of his jokes spun back at himself. In a segment showing O’Brien at a Lakers game, instead of sitting up front with celebrity royalty Jack Nicholson, O’Brien was shown stuffing himself with popcorn in the arena’s last row.
It’s the end of an era in “beautiful downtown Burbank” this week as Jay Leno takes leave of “The Tonight Show” after 17 years as host — only to return to the same TV studio lot a few months later with another show that sounds a lot like the old one but at 10 pm instead of 11.35 pm.
So the question is not so much how much Leno will be missed, as how many of his fans will follow him to the earlier time slot, and how many new fans who couldn’t manage to keep their eyes open until midnight will now tune in for “The Jay Leno Show” before going to bed in the fall.
NBC wouldn’t save it, but could Twitter rescue the axed TV comedy “My Name is Earl”?
Actor Ethan Suplee, who plays Earl’s buffoonish brother Randy Hickey on the four year-old American comedy show, has a Twitter campaign aimed at trying to persuade another U.S. television network to pick up the series, which NBC said this week it was dropping from its fall schedule.
Farrah Fawcett’s farewell message to the American public drew 8.9 million TV viewers on Friday, according to NBC, and a flood of comments on this site, many of them from well-wishers asking where they could send messages of support to the actress.
For all those who asked and any others, we came up with an email address where such messages can be sent and hopefully passed onto Fawcett.
George Clooney finally did put his scrubs on again for ”ER” — but only faithful viewers of the hospital drama would have known because of a curious lack of promotion over what had been a long-hoped for return by the show’s biggest star.
Clooney’s turn as (Dr Doug Ross) — still happily married to Nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Marguiles) — brought struggling NBC a welcome ratings boost.