Even if you’re not a fan of Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno or late-night TV, you would have to have been living under a rock the past couple of months to not know about the kerfuffle that went down at NBC. And whether you’re Team Coco, Team Jay or Team Don’t Care, the rules are the same: Leno is back hosting “The Tonight Show” and, as part of his hefty severance package, O’Brien is banned from appearing on television until September 2010.
Luckily for Team Coco, television isn’t the only entertainment medium available.
After taking a few months off to do whatever a major celebrity does after being fired from their dream job, O’Brien announced that he would be taking his former staff on the road for a live tour, aptly dubbed “The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour.” What exactly this live show will entail is anyone’s guess — it could just be two hours of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog telling poop jokes — but that didn’t stop O’Brien’s legion of loyal fans from snapping up tickets the instant they went on sale. The tour kicks off on April 12 (in Eugene, Oregon, of all places) and will go for three months, making stops in several major (and some less-than-major) U.S. cities.
But why stop there? Let’s take this to the movies! Now that the tour has proven to be such a lucrative move, there’s talk of making it into a documentary feature. Talks are still in early stages, but apparently there is a studio interested in providing the financing and a director interested in, well, directing. It looks extremely likely that we’ll eventually see “The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour: The Movie” (in 3D?!).
Clearly, if anyone knows how to take lemons and make lemonade, it’s Conan O’Brien. Losing his hosting gig on “The Tonight Show” had to be both devastating and embarrassing, but he’s making the most of the cards he was dealt. It’s also admirable that he hasn’t forgotten that he’s not the only one who lost his job; his entire staff did. By taking his show on the road, he’s giving opportunities to writers, actors, and musicians who were given the boot with him, and hopefully a movie will offer work to his technical crew.
Now all he needs is his own radio show to truly prove that television isn’t the only place he can be funny. May I suggest an early-morning talk show with sidekick Andy Richter for all the commuters out there? “Coco and the Marshmallow in the Morning” sounds both hilarious and delicious.
And Mr. O’Brien, when the time for your book deal comes, I am available for ghostwriting. In the meantime, I’ll see you and your hair at Radio City Music Hall on June 1.
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Follow Rachel Coyne on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TheOpinionatedB.