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There’s been a lot of talk recently about the popular brand of humor dominating late night television right now. A few weeks ago, a writer on Conan went on a Twitter rant about the Fallonization of late night, complaining that it’s become all about celebrity games and lip sync battles. Conan shut him down, but Andrés du Bouchet opened up a can of kvetchery that may ultimately lead to a Jimmy Fallon/James Corden backlash, especially as Letterman — the anti-Fallon — retires in two weeks. Hell, even Daniel Tosh got in on the backlash, skewering Fallon/Corden and the celebrity games that are now popular on late night.
With Letterman leaving, it’s more important than ever — I think — to appreciate and support a guy like Conan O’Brien. While he may occasionally dabble in celebrity gags, Conan largely depends on his writing staff and himself to provide his audience with entertainment. At times, it may feel like a throwback to another era, but it also feels immensely refreshing.
Take, for instance, the clip above. It’s an outtake (or a Scrap, as Team Coco calls it). There was an audio glitch during the introduction of Jennifer Garner, and though she wasn’t around anymore, Conan had to re-tape it while Silicon Valley‘s T.J. Miller was still in the guest chair.
It may not seem like much — he riffs, he makes fun of T.J. Miller, and he mugs for the camera — but it’s entirely unscripted. It’s just Conan messing around in front of the camera, and in a late night environment dominated by beer pong games, celebrity charades, Box of Lies, and viral videos, this three minutes feels like a breath of fresh air in a late night landscape gasping for originality.
(Via Team Coco)