The first episode of the new Tonight Show was funnier than all of Leno’s last week of shows combined. The elegance and polish of Conan’s skits showed off some of the production values and the opening skit with Conan running from New York to LA was vintage Conan and laugh out loud funny several times. One of the nice things is that O’Brien hasn’t changed his tune one bit. The jokes were still punchy and even though his monologue obviously wasn’t his best, it wasn’t Leno groan worthy either.

The set was a thing of beauty, but I preferred the Max Weinberg 7 over at the left instead of the right. I’ll get used to it eventually I’m sure. Andy Richter is nice to have back, but I’d rather him just be a be a sidekick than the announce sidekick deal. Is Joel Godard done with the show? I’ll miss his announcing.

Will Ferrall made for a bumpy first guest, but the show chugged along fine with him. Conan just barely lost a little of his edge, which should be enough for the NBC execs and the old farts who enjoyed Leno with their nightly milk of magnesia. Still some of the segments were a bit overproduced and there were some iffy camera shots from the production staff.

However as good as the first show was, the second Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien was as entertaining of a program as it’s been since Carson hosted. Tom Hanks made a great guest and their interaction was classic. Conan was totally back into the groove, the camera crew finally figured out how to shoot O’Brien as well as the band and Richter and the whole show rolled smooth.

Plus Green Day > Pearl Jam.

Right now Conan seems to be going with a bit of a Letterman vibe where he has one guest and a musical act and that’s fine. Many people don’t remember this but much of the Carson version of the Tonight Show was skits, because Carson was funny. Leno didn’t do skits because he’s garbage.

Needless to say Conan hosting the Tonight Show fits like a glove and somewhere Johnny Carson is smiling. Conan channels Carson so much it’s amazing. It’s truly a treat to have a good Tonight Show again. Awesomeness all around. It’s nice for the Tonight show to be funny and have a talented comedian on it. After 17 years of Leno I almost forgot what that was like.

But not all is great in late night land… I also tuned in to give Jimmy Fallon another shot because he had Steve Martin and Paul Simon on. Ugh. Fallon just doesn’t have it. He finally got a trademark thing the “bowling” dance, but his interview skills are still terrible. Just watch the interaction between him, Martin and Simon. He basically insults Paul Simon over and over and Simon starts ignoring him to chat with Steve Martin.

Fallon’s show remains a mess. I’ll try again in a few months, but his first few months have been absolutely BRUTAL. As it is, Conan is the late night king and I suspect he will be for a long, long time to come.

One Response to The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien Review

  • Anonymous says:

    I concur. However, I will never give Jimmy Fallon another chance, as the first couple shows, I found myself covering my face to hide my own embarassment from watching it in the first place. I had high hopes, and was let down. As far as I am concerned, he can suck it. Deuce.

    – Beth

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