Not soon after I lamented the blandness with which Conan O’Brien set out to paint his TBS quasi-relic, he has settled into a renovation project of the sublime and extreme. Ask and you shall receive! He has refurbished and bedazzled and has taken “it” so far up, it is shooting out like herb sprouts on a second-hand, display-case, special-edition Chia Pet.
The “it” I am referring to is Conan O’Brien’s creative zeal as it pertains to his latest late-night talk show.
Conan is on fire, figuratively, and perhaps soon, knowing his penchant for skirting the edge, literally.
Here is a list of bits that Conan has added to make his new show much more representative of his wild imagination and hence more useful to the late night (and pop culture) landscape:
- Tyler Perry’s show-within-a-show entitled “Row 11”
- Minty, the broken candy cane that keeps falling in the street
- A children’s chorus singing ridiculous, knock-off holiday songs
- A twenty-day giveaway of car air-fresheners – inside cars
- The Absurdist Christmas set, replete with robotic Rabbi, Cyclops snowman and inflatable chicken sandwich designed by Palm Springs artist Kenny Irwin, Jr
- Live and not-so-live Tweets, such as “Ricky Gervais has asked me to tweet this essay on his Atheism. I pray to almighty Zeus nobody reads this trash: http://on.wsj.com/gFmcm0”
- Videos of Sarah Palin shooting cartoon animals
- Frequent visits from – and jovial jams with – guitarist Slash
- Profanity, which before, when it happened by accident, always seemed to make Conan blush
- And much, much more, some of which has yet to be explored
I hope that Conan is enjoying this new-found freedom to venture beyond the norm. Such freedom is usually ephemeral, and very few of us are afforded such a rich, budget-busting playground.
I am envious!
And I am more than willing to give Conan the benefit of my moral support. Rather than urge Conan to dial down again toward some ideal of my own personal aesthetic, I will opt to live vicariously through his fearless risk-taking. Because it is only through risk and trial and error that we arrive at what amounts to, in the end, brilliant, visionary design.