Friday, January 22, 2010


It was Conan's final Tonight Show.  I found it very sad.  I laughed a few times, but mostly I just nodded my head in empathy.  

I've been avoiding weighing in on the ever-increasing late night cat fight, mainly because I stopped watching it.  I found it wholly unenjoyable.  I'm not sure why, but witnessing these grown men air their vendettas through brutally personal attacks, disguised as jokes, makes me very uncomfortable.  

Look, I know I should be the last guy yelling foul for name-calling, but I gotta tell ya, it all makes me cringe.  I'm aware that late night monologues are aimed at mocking pop culture.  And yes, the current state of talk shows are part of that pop culture.  But somehow when the mockers are the subject of the mocking it all gets weird and incestuous.  I just wanna slap them and say, "Stop fucking your mother!"  Boy if I had a nickel for every time I had that yelled at me... See, that just made you feel weird and uncomfortable, right?

Truth is, I'm a Letterman fan.  Always have been.  I appreciate and understand why more people watch Jay, but to me, Dave was always the smarter, classier act.  Clearly Dave had some deep animosity towards Jay after the Tonight Show landed in Leno's lap, but that dirt was never aired on their shows.  The facts became lore and eventually a book and a TV movie, but neither host debased themselves with inflammatory direct attacks.  So watching Dave suddenly vent his historical frustration with Jay seems somehow beneath him.  

I don't know these men.  I clearly have no insight into the history between Jay and the comedians who are lashing out at him.  Obviously Leno is a competitive guy.  And I guess that effort has crossed the line into some nefarious machinations.  But somehow launching monologue bombs at each other seems like a cheap, ineffective way to address the larger issue -- NBC fucked up.  I think Conan's first instinct, the letter to the "people of earth" was the right move.  It was a humorous and poignant summary of the situation and communicated his pained point of view about the dilemma.  I'm not sure who threw the first one-liner snowball, but not unlike a political campaign, once the first shot is fired, it's kill or be killed.  So now Jay, Conan, Letterman, Kimmel, Ferguson, and those two other guys on NBC, have all joined in.  Thank God Jon Stewart (other than a shout out during Your Moment of Zen) has steered clear of it.

I guess I'm writing this somewhat pointless entry to remind folks that it's not about team Coco vs. team Leno, it's team Viewers vs. team NBC.  Unfortunately, this ugly battle is going to work in the network's favor.  It's already boosted ratings through the roof and now it's given the Tonight Show with Jay Leno (again), must-see status.  Let's not forget who the anger should be truly focused on -- NBC executives.  Yes, maybe Jay did some dirty deeds, but ultimately it's Jeff Zucker and his coked-up gyroscope who created this fiasco.  They are the ones who were too greedy and too scared to let Leno leave the building.  It's Zucker who endowed Leno with his current super-villain powers.  If we really wanted to make a point, we'd unprogram NBC from our remotes.  Fuck these guys.

Which brings me to my last point.  And again, in the spirit of love and service, I want to help.  So if NBC really wants to start anew, they need a tummy tuck and a face lift.  We all know that sucking fat out of a network is impossible, so I'll have to settle for the face lift.  NBC needs a NEW LOGO.  

They've had the microphone, the musical notes, the first peacock, the big "N", and the new peacock.  I'm thinking they go retro baby, back to the 70's -- the NBC snake 

Remember the snake?  It only seems fitting.  

Or the swastika, one or the other.