Wednesday night I'm up late watching Conan during his final week in the late, late slot. He's been removing something from his set each night, giving it away to someone in the audience. A strange, funny, sentimental move that is very watchable.
I couldn't turn away as he attacked one of the formerly permanent music stands. He chose the sledge hammer and pounded it, then rocked it back and forth, and pulled it off its mooring on the stage, music sheet, mic, wires and all. He returned the music sheet to the trombone player. (Trombone player looks at Conan as if to say, "what do you want me to do with that?" As if the music sheet was itself damaged - and when they went to music, he had to share mic and music stand with the sax player.)
Then he grabbed an axe and chopped the mic cables right on the stage. I'm shocked at this point, knowing that he's leaving permanent damage on the NBC stage. He finally hefts the battered fixture up the steps and lays it across two audience members at the top of the seats.
Huffing and puffing, he returns to his mark on the stage, throws back his shock of red hair and says, "Wow. That was totally not planned. Ooh. That can't be good. (shot of the permanent damage on the floor) Look. The producer is not happy. OK, we'll be right back with (guest)." (go to music. shot again of damaged floor, instant replay of Conan removing bandstand).
Brilliant. Insane. Great TV. Too bad for the NBC carpenter who has to fix this mess.
Slate columnist Ben Mathis-Lilley says Conan will make the transition and hold the late night slot against Letterman and ABC's Nightline.
I'm just talking about entertainment. If there's any value in it at all, we must get a handle on the "inspiration of the moment."