Saturday, January 9, 2010

Norm MacDonald's prescient warning to Conan O'Brien

Note: the above video seems to be fading in and out. You can see it at its source here.

Conan should've listened to Norm MacDonald when he appeared as a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien less than a year ago.

In the famous appearance, MacDonald tells Conan he's been "outfoxed again" by Jay Leno:
"Your agent's like...remember that discussion we had where you said "I'll never have to fucking follow Leno again?"
Uh, yeah, Conan remembers:

The recent announcement by NBC - that Leno will move to O'Brien's starting time to do a 30-minute show and Conan will be moved back half an hour to 11 - is hugely humiliating to Conan.

I don't think there's any way in hell that he'll stick around NBC, for these reasons:

1. FOX has already said the network would give O'Brien a show. O'Brien has already worked at FOX on the Simpson's.

2. ABC has no late night entertainment show at that hour and, in the past, has proved willing to move Nightline.

3. Conan idolizes David Letterman. When NBC screwed Letterman over, he went to CBS, where he's been successful for years. Inspiration for Conan!

Dear Bill Carter: please write a sequel to the Late Shift.

Update: I just noticed that Dave Shorr scooped me on this. Curse you, Dave Shorr!


  1. I remember that Norm MacDonald appearance well--he's a very funny man. Unfortunately, ABC is apparently not interested in Conan, according to this article:

    So if he does end up deciding to move, it would probably have to be to FOX, but at least then he'd be more likely to get the respect he deserves. NBC needs to stop being so hung up on Jay.

  2. Kenton: Do you think Conan's been talking to Dave about this? Methinks with all that happened to Dave he'd be thrilled to give a piece of his mind. The ultimate scenario that plays out in my head is that Conan goes to FOX, and in yet another eff-you to NBC/Leno, Letterman give Conan a guest spot to plug his new show and shit on NBC. Could you see that happening?

    PS, thanks for the plug.

  3. Just like Dave talked to Johnny, I wouldn't be surprised. If Conan doesn't leave NBC, he'll be stuck following Leno for the rest of his life.

    I thought Leno's joke about going to FOX was self-serving: positioning himself as a victim, when Conan is the one getting screwed over.

  4. What also pissed me off was Leno made a crack about "...I didn't even sleep with any of my staffers!" Why the hell is he bringing Letterman into this? He has nothing to do with this situation.

    It's like if I got fired from my job and made a crack about Jon Gosselin.

  5. I thought the same thing: lame jokes, as usual.

  6. Doesn't Conan have a contract that he locked into to do the Tonight Show? As long as he keeps the show, even at an half hour later can't NBC hold him to it for the next 5 years?

    Or not let him work in late night for that period?

  7. "...Conan will be moved back half an hour to 11 - is hugely humiliating to Conan"

    I just re-read that and thought to myself that the only folks here who deserve to be humiliated is the brass at NBC. If there's ever been such a horrible public display of poor management I've yet to see it.

    Surely if Conan was the first program of the "late night line-up" and had his chance to grow into the tonight show shoes, surely it would have worked out after a while. But Conan got screwed because NBC is still whipped by Leno for some odd reason and took the wind out of the sails of Conan's opportunity.

    Before Letterman split to CBS, NBC owned late night. After that, another beast was born which is the Late Show which in my mind has all the strength the Tonight Show franchise ever did. Now if Conan goes to Conan, NBC has in essence created a second late night behemoth that they'll have to compete with, splitting the audience three ways.

    In retrospect, looking back, if NBC had stuck with Letterman in the first place it's not impossible that NBC would be the only dog on the block with real late night credibility. Now, it looks like there will be a third.

  8. The Simpsons has no possessive apostrophe.

    Failing grade for you.



  9. You can fail me under your real name, just like I do!


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