Conan's Tour Kicks Off in Eugene, Oregon
by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 13th 2010 7:05PM
Conan O'Brien's 'Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television' Tour might be a once-in-a-lifetime event, but that doesn't mean it isn't bound by the laws of concert tours.
Those are the unspoken laws of live entertainment physics that affect every staged entertainment venue across the globe. And just like actual physics, they are cruel mistresses with no pity for people who dare to challenge them or go outside their boundaries of motion, inertia and box office receipts.
The most important and perhaps universal law deals with the opening show: "a show will stay at rest until an unbalanced force acts upon it." Judging from the reviews and videos that appeared on the web, Eugene, Oregon acted as that unbalanced force that propelled the nationwide tour into motion with the speed and torque of a Bugatti Veyron.
We've gathered snippets of the reviews and videos taken by fans from Conan's first show. So if you managed to score tickets (first of all, I hate you because I couldn't unless you're willing to share them, in which case I love you), be wary about reading the rest of this post for potential spoilers.
Clearly, both Conan and company and Conan's fans have been itching to reunite, so the room was already filled with a megaton of pent-up energy just waiting to escape.
"The crowd at the Hult was on its feet, clapping, and yelling, 'CONAN! CONAN! CONAN!' as O'Brien came out on stage," Kristi Turnquist of the Oregonian said in her review. "He looked slim and healthy, beard neatly trimmed, in an open-necked blue shirt and darker blue-gray jacket and slacks. The cheers got so loud, they seemed to be rattling the walls. He shouldn't admit it, O'Brien said, 'But I really missed the applause ... You have no idea how shallow I am.'"
The show is a celebration of everything that's made Conan such a television icon, and that includes being booted from the most coveted chair in television history. For instance, he brought back old favorites like the Masturbating Bear and even the Walker Texas Ranger Level, but with less legally offensive names, such as the "Self-Pleasuring Panda" and the "Chuck Norris Rural Policeman Handle."
The comedy, as a whole, seemed to be a mix of old favorites and new concepts. Of course, it's the first show of the tour where new bits and sketches are being tested on audiences for the first time, so some of the stuff that appeared in the Oregon show may not make it all the way through the tour's final stop in Atlanta.
"All told, though, the comedy was hit and miss, with significantly fewer laughs during the second hour," The Hollywood Reporter's Erik Pedersen said. "Long, oh-so-deliberate setups rarely generated the hoped-for guffaws -- a deadly sin. One promising bit about 'the eight stages of grieving for the loss of your talk show' earned some deserved hearty laughs. Of the 'paranoia stage,' O'Brien said, 'I started hearing strange voices saying, Daddy, we're hungry.' But it meandered far too long, ending with a lazy name-check of the tour stop that generated the inevitable huge but unearned response."
The show also had a few surprises in store for that lucky first audience, including celebrity cameos by '30 Rock's' Jack McBrayer and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. It also had a large amount of musical numbers with Coco on guitar and vocals doing parodies of "I Will Survive" and "On the Road Again" to mirror his current situation.
And even though the show was live and unencumbered by the restrictions of niggling censors, it also had very few blue moments except for a stray curse word or a bit of man-on-man between Conan and his longtime trumpeter Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg. Don't watch this if you're eating, especially if you're eating Funyuns.
So basically, if you've always been a fan of Coco, you'll enjoy yourself all the way to the end. If you've been dragged along by someone who is a huge fan, you'll still have fun. Thankfully, I'm in the first group, so I know I'll have a good time -- that is, if I can scare up a ticket in time.
Seriously, people, I'm this close to selling an organ, even a major one. If God didn't want me to sell my body parts for Conan O'Brien tickets, he wouldn't have given me "two" lungs.