Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dear Internet

I was so surprised how much this story about NBC and the Late Show situation with O'Brien would ever have captured my imagination so much. We were talking about why is this such a big story with so many people, not just tv executives and fans....and our friend Tricia made a great point that Conan O'Brien's situation has touched a lot of people in the States who have lost their job, or their disappointment with the banking corporations rip off of citizens and the troubled economy. People have rooted for Conan to get a great settlement and related to this kind of machination that all of us have felt at one time or another. Conan O'Brien's last show was so good and so outstanding. Steve Corell showed up to do an "exit interview" with Conan....and the routine was brilliant. Neil Young played and affter his performance he thanked Conan for all his work promoting new music. The above clip is incredible. I really recommend you watch it. Conan is not only wise and upstanding, he is a good sport. Way to be inspiring Conan!

This is excellent too...Will Ferrell showed up to sing "Free Bird" with Ben Harper, Billy Gibbons and Beck. Conan straps on a guitar too.


mister anchovy said...

Har! Poor Conan lost his job. Good thing he got a little settlement so he can keep the family fed for a few weeks until he can find another gig.

I don't know what to say about Mr. O'Brien except that he's marginally funnier than the other guy, but they're both trapped in a dead format.

Candy Minx said...

You know Mister Anchovy, a few people believe theres more to life than money. Har. But money was part of the interest I think for lots of people. They wanted him to "take" the establishment, if you will. They wanted him to get that big settlement.

I don't know, it doesn't bug me he got some money.

For me, the interesting part of the story is that Conan has always been a performer who seems to put laughter and fun ahead of style, content, purism, taste or power. Good on him.

I thought his message to young people about avoiding cynicism more than earned him his settlement. His words were profound and long overdue in the mainstream. So many people these days are so fucked up by being cynical...especially old people. I hope he touched a nerve with a younger generation who might not become as jaded and bitter as the mainstream culture is right now.

mister anchovy said...

I found it interesting that people started taking sides, and the other guy Leno was painted as the network guy, the establishment guy. I think that in fact NBC's decisions were driven by business, ratings and ad sales. What was interesting to me was their apparent panic and desperation to make changes for short term gain. It looks to me that network television has a big problem right now. People don't care about networks. Nobody says I like NBC or I like ABC. Lots of people have those PVR devices and never even look at the ads. The business model for television is evaporating, changing before our eyes, much like the business model for selling music did. The networks haven't worked out a strategy to cope with the change. They're still happily working with the old model, but it looks to me that they are also getting impatient. Moving Jay Leno around to find a place where he can sell a few more ads isn't going to help them much. Their world is in spin.

Beej said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beej said...

I was rooting for Conan. He's just the funnier of the two of them. Plus he seems more like the ordinary guy, not like the slick executive type.

I am hoping this bolsters his career. I think he has a great following. I know I've been following him for years.

And to be honest, I don't care for Leno. And I think this move will come back to bite N.B.C. in the A.S.S.

Candy Minx said...

Yes, Mister Anchovy, it's true it was interesting that people were taking sides. I enjoy the late night talk shows. I watch Wanda Sykes and George Lopez recently...and for years and years I've followed Letterman and O'Brien. But I switch around sometimes see Leno's monolgue. I also watch Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon or watch their monologues. For me this was never about taking sides it seemed so obviously a case of NBC screwing up.

I am really really into comedy. I'm not interested so much in taking sides...the idea of taking sides though is related to the general feeling of Conan being "the little guy". Whether or not this is "true" has nothing to do with the general feeling people have of him being such. He is seen as the little guy for a number of reason...he really dreamed of doing the "Late Show", his whole life has been devoted to comedy-not very commercial comedy, and he has a strong belief and practice of checking out and supporting new music and off beat performers. Conan has always appeared and been perceived as not "selling out" and putting his art before being middle of the road or compromising. And his priority to his art and comedy is exactly why people took sides. (and NBC did make mistakes). I can imagine this wouldn't seem as big deal to Canada because we didn't have the same screw over as the States has in the past couple of years. Conan seems to have touched and been relatable to many people down here because they have taken the story as a metaphor for the depression that is going on here.

I'm glad comedians make money. They spend many many years broke-ass, traveling and have high risk of substance abuse, little family building often for ten years. Or more-working strange hours and their practice actually is like the old vision of "struggling artist" because they make a lot of sacrifices in order to perform and they are doing the work of magi...making us laugh...or at least trying to make us laugh.

I'd rather people doing sports, making art, performing comedy and poking fun and taking the piss out of ourselves is, in my opinion, a valuable job...and WAYmore valuable than money.

Sure, Conan got a huge settlement. But it's obvious he spoke from his heart in that video about his passion for his art. And he got a good settlement for all his staff. He is the real deal in my opinion. He was potentially insulted by the actions of a many other people have been and he took a bow and he got a payout.

If only the banks, the food industry and corporate companies would all learn to take care of people is reflected in the metaphor of NBC business mistakes this past month.

Beej, I wonder too if NBC is going to have a backlash, especially when the schedule is turned around. Leno has a pretty big following so maybe it will work out. It's likely that O'Brien and Leno will be on competing time slots in the future...and I suspect O'Brien's show will blast with audience ratings for the first year at least when he gets a new job.

Conan O'Brien's last show was brilliant tv. Really one of the best shows on tv I've seen and it just was really wonderful. I get high when I see good art played out and I'm really glad to have been able to see the last few shows he put on, they were awesome!

* (asterisk) said...

I wish Conan hadn't said that last bit, though. Because the word "will" is not appropriate. If you work really hard and are kind, great stuff might happen for you. It could. It's not a fact that it will. And if that makes me a cynic, then I guess Conan likes me less than I hoped :(

Candy Minx said...

Ah, fascinating point, Asterisk. For me, I feel in my own life to aspire to those things regardless of outcome. Outcome is not the focus. So yes, I guess the idea of "will happen" might be something not important to me. Now...whether or not it is "true" is actually a different mindset and philosophical enquiry.

Is it true that if a person works really hard, is kind, great stuff will happen to them?

Doubting that doesn't make one a cynic. It indicates to me someone that feels life isn't cause and effect, or perhaps has observed that people who have worked hard, are kind do not always have great things happen to them. Or that we see so many people suffering in our cities, on the news that how can these seemingly innocent good people land up living on the street or in hurricanes, plane crashes or earthquakes?

I think what we might be able to observe as a "truth" or a "fact" is...that despite circumstances...the people who believe that if you work hard, are kind will be more openminded to seeing the great things in their lives. Does that make sense? The philosophy itself if believed is a format for counting ones blessings and taking appreciation of good things.

Actual cynicism prevents it's practitioners from seeing good things in their life or in the life of people they consider less fortunate or suffering. Cynicism is a mindset and worldview with a tunnel vision. Cynicism is actually so powerful it can stop the processing of the brain from seeing good things and appreciating life.

Unfortunately, cynicism is so widely practiced by so many people from older generations (even those who lived entitled lives) to hipsters and purists and "alternative" folks that it is now an international philosophically respected religion. It used to be that seriously cool people might have had a little healthy paranoia. Now people just write each other off and don't feel very much joy in human activity or past-times. Anyone successful is an asshole or sell out. Anything sweet is just out to be sentimental and make money. Acting happy and silly and enjoying anything outside a narrow definition of "purism" is scoffed. The old sense of entitlement that the powerful establishment used to wear is now replaced by a human lack of interest and cynicism. It's the same old shit with new clothes.

I think that the equation that Conan O'Brien is suggesting is true because the energy and philosophy of working hard at what you love and being kind is it's own reward..and it's a lesson learned only by taking that leap of faith and suspending disbelief. It's an art thing. It's an imagination thing. Being kind and working hard will bring good things to the people who believe in that adage or koan.

Because the definition of "good things" doesn't mean material results or one path. It is an open-ended koan or path. It is an experiential concept rather than a reward based action.

Candy Minx said...


And Conan didn't originate his has a precedence...

Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.

Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence or learning.

Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.

Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.

In this world, there is nothing softer or thinner than water. But to compel the hard and unyielding, it has no equal. That the weak overcomes the strong, that the hard gives way to the gentle -- this everyone knows. Yet no one asks accordingly.

Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profundity.
Kindness in giving creates love.

One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.

Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.

These may not be proven scientifically as fact...but science has a long way to go before it can articulate human interaction and the benefits of such proverbs and koans. So far poets are the main experts on the facts that describe human interaction.

Oh an is the hilarious website "stuff whte people like"s take on the situation...oh they are so smart! And funny!

S.M. Elliott said...

I miss him already. As a depressive who relies on regular infusions of comedy to keep myself alive (and as an occasional insomniac), Conan was like an old pal to me. I Tivo'd his show every night just to watch his monologue and goofy skits. I have a lot of respect for his refusal to continue being manipulated by a corporate entity that views him only as a string of ratings numbers, and I admire his grace under fire. Class act, 100%, masturbating bear and all.

Candy Minx said...

SME, I'm sure he'll be back on late night tv in a few months. I watched one of his repeats last night and thought how funny he's on repeat and yet they had to cancel the show! Quite ridiculous.

Malcolm said...

I think that Conan is going to come out the winner in the end. His ratings went up ever since the controversy started and there will be lots of buzz for the next show he does.

I hope that HBO or somebody makes a movie of this story. I don't know if you saw it, but HBO made a really good movie about the battle between Leno and Letterman to replace Johnny Carson. It was called "The Late Shift".

Candy Minx said...

Malcolm, wow I forgot about that HBO movie, thanks man! Today Oprah had Leno on her show and it was a really interesting episode. I didn't see Leno as "the bad guy" but rather the profit mongering coprporate tv company. Meanwhile...the ratings on Conan's show were so low, it wasn't Leno's fault.

This story just seems to keep on giving!