Is Conan O’Brien like Zach Galifianakis, Dr. Luke, Tila Tequila, Bob Dylan, or Derek Jeter. Can’t he be all of them? Only one man and his primate know for sure.

Few remember Zach Galifianakis had a late night show on VH1. I’d like to tell you it was good, that not only did it live up to the hype, but it’s a buried treasure, something you must seek out, like “Freaks and Geeks”. But it was forgettable.

I have a monkey that punctuates my columns for me. His name is Irving.

Then he did “The Hangover”. Talent meets opportunity. Zach didn’t have to carry the whole show. And he triumphed, Zach’s a star, lovable now as opposed to hated as he was back then.

Zach makes up his own rules, just like Irving.

Zach’s making it on his talent, he’s not lost his outsider identity…

Fat stoners with beards have yet to become mainstream, except in Williamsburg, where they’re everywhere.

…and we love him for it.

Then he did The Hangover Part II and now it’s like, “Is this guy still getting work?”

Whereas Conan O’Brien always wanted to be accepted. Kind of like going to Harvard, you jump through the hoops while winking, saying you don’t really take it seriously, but you do.

That’s what the late night wars are all about. An establishment game played by ancient men generating so much money that ancient newspapers write about it.

I’ve been staring at these four sentences (well, it’s more than four, but Bob uses a punctuation monkey instead of an actual proofreader) for 30 minutes and I can’t figure out how they connect to each other. Or reality.

But late night ratings have been nosediving, ever since Jay Leno came back.

I completely agree with him here. Jay Leno ruins everything. Stupid Jay Leno.

So if Conan had been Zach, he would have found his own level.

Conan did find his own level. Unfortunately, it was at 12:30 after Leno.

You don’t succeed by entering a dying arena and playing Poughkeepsie instead of NYC. This is like Dr. Luke taking his productions to Active Rock.

Every time Bob makes an awkward analogy, a little piece of me dies inside. My left pinky toe just went numb.

Better yet, it’s like Tila Tequila playing the Gathering of the Juggalos.

Nobody has sprayed Conan with Faygo or thrown feces at him. Yet.

Everybody thinks they transcend boundaries, that if they’ve gotten mainstream press they’ve made it.

The boundary Conan was trying to transcend was a similar show in a time slot an hour earlier than where he made his name. That’s why your analogies are stupid.

If you play solo acoustic guitar, you probably shouldn’t be playing arenas.

If you mix cough syrup and Red Bull, you probably shouldn’t be allowed near a computer

Maybe a Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog movie, that was the funniest bit ever on Conan’s show. Albeit created by someone else. It was dangerous.

This is what Bob is saying: Conan flopped on TV, so he should build a feature-length movie around a (very funny) one-joke sketch that he didn’t create. It could be the next A Night At The Roxbury!

And Bob obviously doesn’t remember Come Poop With Me.

Conan needed to remain in the wilderness, he needed to let us find him, he needed to fine-tune his act, focus only on that which is truly him, like Dylan after his motorcycle accident.

I’m trying to imagine Lefsetz giving Dylan career advice in the summer of 1966. “Bob, why are you hanging around a barn upstate with these Canadian Civil War re-enactors?* Get back on the road with just your acoustic guitar and give them the real you, as long as you don’t play arenas.”**

If you make Top Forty music, your only venue is Top Forty radio stations. Without airplay there, you’re nowhere.

And if you make cupcakes, open a cupcake shop. Don’t try to sell it a jewelry store like everybody says. Listen to me instead.

Conan off network is like Derek Jeter playing in the minor leagues, then again, Conan never had the triumphs of the Yankee superstar.

Bob, you just spent an entire column saying Conan isn’t a star, and then you compare him to Derek Jeter?

But yeah, he’s just like Derek Jeter, except he failed when given the big spotlight, doesn’t bang A-list Hollywood talent, and publicly feuded with his boss. That sounds more like Ed Whitson than Jeter.

The mainstream is dying. The niches are triumphing.

But there’s no nexus. You’re either in one land or the other.

Unless you signed a sweetheart of a contract before you even had time to piss away your severance package. Then it doesn’t matter what land you’re in.

Conan’s a smart guy, I’m surprised he didn’t know this.

But he’s not a star! I’ll bet he doesn’t even have a punctuation monkey!


* Stolen from the great Tom Scharpling, and does not reflect my own opinions on The Band.

** Yes, I know there was no such thing as an arena tour in 1966. That’s not the point I’m trying to make, and you know it.

About the Author

Dave Lifton

The perpetually cranky Dave Lifton produces and co-hosts the Popdose Podcast and contributes an occasional column when he darn well feels like it. But mostly he eats Cheetos and yells at kids to get off his lawn, which is strange because he lives in an apartment. The guiding force behind LifStrong, he can be found on Twitter at @dslifton.

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