By JAMES GREENE, JR.
It may not have lasted as long as Britney and Justin or the Ford presidency, but the seven-month stretch Conan O'Brien had at The Tonight Show was still long enough to produce some excellent material. Here now, a fond remembrance of the show's finest moments.
A known guitar freak, Conan made a bit out of his Craigslist search for a new instrument in June of 2009. Accompanying him was Guns N' Roses legend Slash. The two stars went from house to house in California looking at various secondhand axes, eventually landing at the sketchy home of a shirtless junk collector who had actually sold his guitar right before Conan and Slash showed up. The visit was not a failure, though, as much humor was mined from this homeowner's general serial-killer vibe. Conan also managed to purchase a fancy bicycle for a less-than-enthused Slash.
Snoop Dogg always acts like he's too cool for school, but a visit to The Tonight Show last summer proved the O.G. is actually a huge L.A. Lakers nerd. How huge? The man owns a yellow Pontiac with an airbrushed hood mural featuring himself and numerous famed Lakers. As if that weren't dorky enough, the car''s trunk boasts an image of Snoop dunking over more basketball greats in a custom yellow-and-purple Superman jersey. Anyone else silly enough to own this stuff would probably be laughed off the Internet. Snoop just barely squeaks by on this one because, well, he's Snoop Doggy Dogg. Without Conan, we might never have discovered this goldmine of comedy.
When Conan dispatches Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to cover pop-culture events, the results are usually hilarious. The mean little puppet's report on the 2009 Bonnaroo festival was no different. Triumph mercilessly ridiculed the "pungent hippies" he encountered ("It's expensive to come [here]…did you have to sell your entire meth lab?"); cracked up the Beastie Boys by comparing them to a Pep Boys logo; discovered Tonight Show drummer Max Weinberg naked in some poor girl's tent; and managed to work in jabs at New Jersey, the Black Eyed Peas, Flavor Flav, and even his boss ("Conan O'Donnell").
Early in his Tonight Show run, Conan visited a warehouse full of less-than-stellar wax figures of celebrities. The two most disturbing were Tom Cruise and Henry Winkler in his "Fonzie" attire. Of course, Conan adopted these two wax rejects as his new mascots and sent them on a series of adventures (including a spooky appearance in a Universal Studios bathroom). Finally, Wax Tom & Wax Fonz were stuffed into Ringling Brothers Circus cannons and blasted across the studio parking lot. Both figures broke apart upon impact, but Fonzie had it the worst; the greaser hit the pavement face first, forever scarring his hunky wax visage.
Norm Macdonald visited The Tonight Show on August 31st and repeated a joke about a moth his limo driver told him. This was no ordinary moth joke, though; Norm spent over three minutes detailing the trials and tribulations of this depressed bug, a listless soul unhappy in all aspects of his life. This moth hated his job, felt no passion for his marriage or surviving children (one of this moth's children was already dead), wrestled constantly with suicidal thoughts, and even dealt with confusing spider-related identity issues. The audience and Conan grew restless as Norm plowed forward, before eventually sticking the awesome punchline. Another genius moment from one of Conan's most reliable foils.
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