Modern audiences may be more familiar with the countless comedy actors and writers inspired by Carl Reiner’s impressive body of work than Reiner himself, but that never stopped the 94-year-old entertainer from appearing on Conan. The Your Show of Shows performer and Caesar’s Hour/Dick Van Dyke Show writer frequents Conan O’Brien’s late night program, which he couldn’t stop praising Monday night for an otherwise silly sketch that aired in early March. As Splitsider notes, O’Brien and co-host Andy Richter were taken aback with Reiner’s genuine glee at recalling the premise of “The Conan Crew Demand a Better Nut Spoon.”
“I’m here because I love you,” Reiner told O’Brien. “I taped it. I laughed so hard. You idiots with the nut spoon!”
As the more ardent Conan fans among the audience laughed while recalling Reiner’s reference, O’Brien explained to everyone else what the comedy legend was talking about. “This is really saying something,” he said with self-deprecation. “On the idiocy scale, after 24 years of doing this, it was pretty high by our standards.”
For those of you who didn’t watch the March 2nd episode of Conan, the “Nut Spoon” sketch involved O’Brien and Richter discussing a new “complaint box” the show host had implemented to gauge the crew’s morale. “All of these are from one day?” a surprised co-host asked, pointing at the cardboard box prop atop O’Brien’s desk stuffed with papers. “Not even a full day. I put this out like two hours ago,” the host corrected him.
The nearly seven-minute sketch picked up once O’Brien began reading the anonymous complaints aloud and discovered they were all about the crew’s need for a “better nut spoon.” While the host and co-host feigned confusion, Tony the Cameraman (played by staff writer Andres du Bouchet) stepped aside from his station to explain the problem. “I might be able to clear this up,” he said. “To put it simply, the nut spoon is the bane of the entire crew’s existence.”
Throughout the rest of the skit, Tony repeatedly explodes at Richter and O’Brien’s misinterpretations of his explanations — forcing several other camera operators to subdue him. And Reiner loved every minute of it. “It was the best sketch I’ve seen in a long time,” he told a surprised O’Brien. “I laughed hysterically. I saved it, I taped it and I play it for friends. You buy the premise that you need a spoon to pick up a nut! I was saying, ‘I’m an expert! I can go in there and straighten them out. You pick up a nut with a finger.'”
“I can’t believe A) you saw it, B) you liked it, and C) you’re showing it to other people,” an excited O’Brien exclaimed. “Makes my life.”