This past Monday night, my wife and I went to the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pa., for Conan O’Brien’s “Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television” tour. I love Conan O’Brien and never got the chance to see a taping of his show when he was based in New York and figured if there was any bright side to the whole “Tonight Show” debacle of 2010, it was that this tour would give me the chance to see him live.
But I didn’t really know what to expect. YouTube videos and stories about the tour seemed promising, but I still wasn’t sure how Conan would be outside the context of a television show format. I just knew I wanted to support him during this time of transition.
At the start of the show, Conan told the audience that it was the first time people ever paid to watch him perform (while referencing the fact that people have paid him to go away) and he had set a goal of making the prices we paid for tickets “sort of worth it.” Well, after the show was over, I determined that I may have underpaid for my tickets. Conan and Company were absolutely freakin’ amazing…and it was the best live entertainment event I have ever attended…by far!
Here are just a few notes from the evening:
- I always knew his band was awesome…but they could pretty much blow any band out of the water.
- Conan came out wearing a Flyers jersey and soon did a quick impersonation that seemed to be of a certain, unfunny, backstabbing late-night talk show host. But apparently we were mistaken, as Conan explained: “Now, that is not who you think it is…that’s actually my impression of the rapper Ludacris…I hope you all have my back on that one in court.”
- Andy Richter did a live commercial for a 5-pound Tony Luke’s cheese steak that ended with: “And don’t forget, we also sell 2- and 3-pound cheese steaks…for pussies!”
- TRIUMPH! It was via video, but the Insult Comic Dog did a bit that included the classic “insert audio of city name, famous restaurant/landmark here” joke, which was hysterical. For instance, “I know everything about the state of [PENNSYLVANIA]…the state animal is [ALLEN IVERSON].”
- TINA FEY! I kept telling Alison that I thought she would show up since the show was in her hometown, and I was so happy to be right. As soon as he brought out what is now called the Chuck Norris Rural Policeman Handle for legal reasons (on “Late Night,” Conan used to pull this lever and a random clip from the old TV series “Walker, Texas Ranger” would play…with hysterical results) — and said they would need some help, I knew he was going to bring out Tina. And then when he said “the funniest woman on the planet,” Alison and I just looked at each other and started going nuts.
- OK, and for the finale…during Conan’s final song of the encore, we see him go out into the crowd and I thought to myself, “Damn! I wish I had splurged for orchestra seats” since we were in the first row of the lower balcony. About 20 seconds later, CONAN O’BRIEN WAS STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO US! He ran up to the freakin’ balcony, high-fiving people…I just missed being able to pat him on the back (I came up about 5 inches short). The seats across the aisle from us were empty and there was short wall in front of the first row so he climbed up and stood on top of that, prompting cheers from the crowd. I was too stunned to get my phone’s camera going in time so I lost my chance at an awesome picture.
It was just an amazing night of comedy and music…and Conan proved once again that he has more talent in his floppy red hair than in all of that hack who is still doing Bill Clinton jokes at 11:35. In fact, I will say that Conan O’Brien may be the best entertainer of his generation.
Anyway, here are some videos that members of Monday night’s audience have uploaded to YouTube (and, yes, there is some adult language in these clips)…enjoy:
P.S. The song Conan walks out on stage to is “Army” by Ben Folds Five…another element of the sheer awesomeness of the night.