After the late night talk shows were brought back on the air in the midst of the WGA Strike of 2007-2008, almost all of them pretty much wanted to go back to their original format. Leno performed monologues that he wrote himself. Letterman and Ferguson went back to a full staff given that Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants, established a deal with their writers outside of CBS. Kimmel tried to go back to his original format as well. Conan, since he had no writers, decided to dedicate the segments for the monologue and desk comedy pieces for forms of comedy that quite honestly haven’t been seen since. They were completely experimental- ranging from spinning his wedding ring on his desk (and timing it), to laser light shows, to moving his desk to different sections of the studio, to the “Cloverfield”-style monologue that you see above.
It’s the sort of “throw anything to the wall and see if it sticks” and almost “devil may care” attitude to these segments that really showed Conan as his most Lettermanesque (if that’s a word- if not, it is now. Callin’ it)
It was great when the writers returned, of course, but these shows were very unique in they way they tried different avenues to be funny and stepping outside the formula of the standard talk show format.
These shows galvanized my enthusiasm for Conan as he prepared to achieve his ultimate goal at the time, hosting the “Tonight Show” over a year later in 2009.
Yes indeed! these were the best episodes of the late night era