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For "Conan," Third Time's Not the Charm -- Not on Opening Night, Anyway
November 9, 2010  | By David Bianculli
 
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I expected more, and less, out of Conan O'Brien's new Conan TBS talk show than he delivered in Monday's premiere. More, because with months to prepare, the opening and prepared bits should have been sharper. And less, because I hoped, without the constraints of trying to please most of the people most of the time on NBC's The Tonight Show, he'd be freer to be himself. Instead, on opening night, he seemed even more constrained...

The sight of him, between jobs, doing an intelligent monologue dressed as a kid's birthday party clown was as good as the opening of Conan got. I liked that visual, and that idea, a lot. And the "real" opening monologue was okay, and it's always fun to watch O'Brien pick up a guitar and sing and play, as he did with Jack White to close the show.

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But in between, even with some nice jokes tossed in by returning sidekick Andy Richter, the first Conan felt forced and leaden. Seth Rogen, the first celebrity guest, was all but unwatchable. Lea Michele from Glee, the second, was just as bad.

Tuesday's show features Tom Hanks as the special guest, and he's certain to establish a higher bar for conversation and looseness. But after Monday's show, how many viewers will bother to return for a second helping?

For my full review of Conan, which airs Monday through Thursdays at 11 p.m. ET on TBS, listen to today's Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR, or visit the website HERE after about 5 p.m. ET.

 

1 Comment

 

sa_TXtvcritic said:

This review was way off. Conan's return was not glitz and glam by any means but it was rich with comedy and proof that a cable channel other than Comedy Central can have a late night show. Conan brought the same humor that made him the late night icon that he is. There were a number of times last night that I laughed out loud at one of Conan's remarks. I can't speak for the millions of fans that are celebrating his return and will be tuning in tonight, but Conan is back delivering the same humor that we know and love. I grew up watching Conan and I am excited for the future.

Comment posted on November 9, 2010 1:22 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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