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Conan O’Brien departing leaves late-night uninfluential and unfunny

Conan O’Brien departing leaves late-night uninfluential and unfunny

Conan O’Brien departing leaves late-night uninfluential and unfunny
July 08
15:00 2021

Conan O’Brien is arguably the best late-night talk show host of our generation. Seeing him leave his show on TBS closes the door on decades’ worth of amazing television. If nothing else, O’Brien showed the talk show world how to adapt and change over the years, as he was the only late-night host to still be going at it from the ’90s. His presence is going to be dearly missed, and now we are left with a bunch of shows and hosts who are interchangeable in their terrible and unfunny ways.

O’Brien’s way of connecting to the pop culture world will never be forgotten. Way back in 2010, O’Brien left NBC, after rescheduling time slots for his “Tonight Show” left him bamboozled and decided to make TBS the new home for his show. NBC is one of the most well-known networks of our time and making the choice to move on from the network sparked some major criticisms. 

The internet flooded to the aid of O’Brien, creating the “Team Coco” movement and accumulating over 300,000 Twitter followers within 24 hours of O’Brien joining the platform. These gigantic internet movements were not as common in 2010 as they are now, and the way O’Brien used his social media created an authentic connection between him and his fans. Take Jimmy Fallon for example: his Twitter account is flooded with nothing but clips from his show and advertisements for products he endorses. Anyone could be running the account for him, and it just comes off as Fallon trying to stick with the times. A quick scroll through O’Brien’s account shows you he is the exact opposite.

His segments were so creative and unique, truly separating him from the rest. “Clueless Gamer” was a segment where he would have no prior knowledge of a video game, yet he would try his best to make it the most entertaining 10-minute segment you have ever seen. His constant involvement in his skits and sketches showed his audience just how passionate he was about making sure the show was performing at a high quality. Another late-night talk show host is Jimmy Kimmel, whose most well-known segments involve members of his team going out on the streets and interviewing random people with random questions. It seems harmless, but when comparing the two, Kimmel is nowhere near as involved as O’Brien is when considering every aspect of the show. There is just this charismatic blanket of Conan over every segment, and it shows why his show has always been superior.

Most late-night talk show hosts love to pander to their audiences and do what they can to create relatable content for as many people as possible. Once a year O’Brien used to build the format of his show around Comic-Con, showing how he will make his program be about his interests as well. Ratings may take a dip here and there, but O’Brien has remained in the late-night game for so long because he has kept his show intriguing for the audience but also himself. It is what he has always done, and it is why this departure is incredibly sad.

So what is next for Conan O’Brien? He plans on creating some content for HBO Max, along with some other unannounced projects. It is nice to hear he left on good terms with TBS, but it is still sad this talk show titan will no longer be able to carry late-night on his back. While we may not be left with the best of hosts now, it is still pleasant to go back and appreciate all the contributions O’Brien has made. Late-night talk shows can often come off as disingenuous, but the feeling was never hinted at with Conan O’Brien.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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