Saturday, March 14, 2009
I met Conan!
This week, I got invited to meet Conan O'Brien. He was in town looking for new up-and-coming comedians to feature on the Tonight Show.
Well, not exactly. Well, not at all. He was in town to meet staff and advertisers at the local NBC affiliate. And I happen to work for one of those advertisers.
And that meant it would have been really desperate and pathetic of me to tell Conan that I'm an awesome comedian and I look forward to being on the Tonight Show. And despite the fact that I am indeed desperate and pathetic, I resisted the temptation.
Nevertheless, it was an interesting interaction. We were invited to pose for a photo with him. When it was my turn, I told him I brought my scissors to cut his string. If you aren't a huge Conan fan, you may not be familiar with a little thing Conan does at the beginning of his show involving an imaginary pair of strings attached to his hips. If you know the show, you know what I'm talking about.
So, I held up my hands as scissors by his hip and smiled for the photo. He said I should be careful not to get too close or it will look like I'm giving him a circumcision. I responded that as an Irish guy, I'd think that would have already been done. "Yes, a long, long time ago," said Conan, effectively describing to me what his penis looks like. In mixed company even.
My uncanny ability to draw out such a personal detail from a major celebrity is surely evidence that I should fall in line as the next Tonight Show host after Conan. Or at least the next host of the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon. (I mention this just in case NBC is scrambling for a replacement. Remember, NBC, Conan was an unknown too when he took that gig. In fact, Conan had never even played the Purple Onion or Rooster T. Feathers.)
After my photo, Conan came over to where I was standing and poured himself a cup of coffee (he takes Splenda, just like me!). He remarked that this was an awkward situation where all 30 people in the room are looking at him, but no one is talking to him. So, I told him that he wasn't nearly as freakishly tall as I expected him to be. The thing is, he said, a lot of Hollywood stars are really small, so he has to be careful not to make them look diminutive on his show. He had his desk lowered, and he's careful not to stand right next to the short ones. Sometimes, you'll notice he crouches down and extends his arm for a handshake to avoid towering over them.
He continued to chat and answer some questions from others in the room (Damn, I wish they'd all have just gone away, so I could have had a private audience with him), until he said we should all try to make it down to L.A. to see the show. I asked him if we should just go up to the gate and mention his name and they'll escort us backstage. In Conan fashion, he was quick on his toes and said, "Yes, just come on up, bring a firearm, whatever you like. They'll lead you right on in."
It may be an exaggeration, but when I saw the photo above, I was reminded of another meeting of two great Americans.
Hey, a guy has got to dream, right?