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Fans rally for Conan outside Universal Studios

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jan 19th 2010 9:00AM
Debris filled the streets after the rally to support Conan O'Brien outside Universal Studios.If you live in Los Angeles, be prepared to run into a lot of Conan O'Brien fans with severe colds over the next week.

Hundreds of dedicated "Cone-heads" braved some of the nastiest weather LA has seen in years to gather outside Universal Studios to show support for O'Brien and opposition over NBC's decision to remove him from The Tonight Show.

As multiple rain storms swept through the area, intersections flooded and cars choked out in waste-deep water. Wind gusts tore palm trees frond from frond, and flood channels threatened to overflow their drainage pipes.

But, throngs of orange-clad O'Brien enthusiasts gathered outside Universal's main gate -- urging the passing motorists to honk if they supported Conan's quest to hang on to the 11:30 PM slot on NBC.

Carrying signs claiming "Conan saved me from Scientology!" and chanting "We support Co-Co! Jay Leno's got to go!" (along with the less creative, but equally expressive "Leno sucks!"), crowds soon swelled enough to block traffic exiting Universal's soaked theme park. That drew the ire of Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies who ordered the protesters to move back to the sidewalk or disperse.

The threat of police intervention sent the crowd onto busy Lankershim Blvd. at a near riot pace before the fans ran en masse to Universal's Gate 2 just outside O'Brien's office. While studio security gathered to reinforce the back lot's entrance gates, the fans chanted for O'Brien, co-host Andy Richter and band leader Max Weinberg.

A few minutes later, after a huge "Save Coco" banner unfurled from his office's penthouse balcony, O'Brien appeared to deafening applause. Like a besieged dictator saluting his loyal followers, O'Brien offered a faux "royal wave" and thanked the crowd via a bullhorn for toughing it out in the rain and showing their support.

As if arranged by some effects house on the studio lot, the rain stopped and the clouds parted to reveal clear blue skies -- leading to a chant of "Conan stopped the rain!"

Following similar appearances and greetings from Richter, Weinberg and trombonist La Bamba, the event had reached its natural climax and not even a run-in with a Masturbating Bear impersonator could keep the crowd's fervor at its former pitch.

Absolutely soaked to the bone, but showing no other ill effects, the crowd slowly broke up under the watchful eye of the now-gathered LAPD. A few stragglers remained -- perhaps hoping to gain entrance into this evening's taping of The Tonight Show. But the increased gate security ensured little chance of any further invasion.

It was a surreal show of public support for a man set to received upwards of a reported $40 million buy-out of his NBC contract when Jay Leno takes over The Tonight Show. Regardless of whether O'Brien ends up at home for a few months or over at Fox with a new show to replace his NBC commitment, it's clear he'll take a dedicated (and sniffly) fan base with him.

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Speaks LOADS about the kinds of morons who like O'Brien.

January 20 2010 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mark's comment

Shutup Mark Coco is the man!

January 20 2010 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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