An oft-overlooked Conan bit from 1997
June 27, 2013 1:27 PM   Subscribe

I was remembering this last night, and shocked that everyone I was with had no recollection of this moment from Conans early years. I remember watching it when it aired, lightly toasted, and just being mindblown by the awesome. Andy does a damn near PERFECT Jimmy Page, at least in terms of mannerism and stage moves. And Conan, hands down sexier then Plant ever could have been.

There was another bit I was remembering, but couldn't find a clip of. It was a moment on the show that was so odd and WTF that it stuck in my memory forever even if it wasn't particularly funny. Halfway through the show, Andy for some reason got up and left under the impression that they were finished. Cut to a montage of him driving home and getting in bed, falling asleep. Thing was, they stuck with that. Andy did not return to the stage for the remainder of the episode. That's dedication to a bit that was hardly even a joke worthy of praise.
posted by mediocre at 1:32 PM on June 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

If ever there was a rock performance that took itself too seriously and deserved mocking, it was that one. Lads, it's a good bit of rocking but let's not pretend that it's a profound mystical journey.
posted by planetesimal at 1:42 PM on June 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

wait wait, was he fighting William F Buckley?
posted by Ad hominem at 1:47 PM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by Sys Rq at 1:48 PM on June 27, 2013 [5 favorites]

As I remember, when watching it for the first time it struck me how un-parodic it was. It was more or less a straightfaced re-enactment. But really, that's what made it so damn funny.

Oh and Carl "Oldy" Olsen, how I miss thee. Even if he was basically being constantly humiliated, even degraded on the show. One of my top five craziest ever laughing fits came from watching Carl "Oldy" Olsen sing "It's Raining Men" surrounded by oiled up hunks and dressed in a red sequined dress. Sub-titled, as was a thing with Olsen, because he was so old you could hardly understand him.
posted by mediocre at 1:49 PM on June 27, 2013

I'm 99% sure that whole bit exists because Conan wanted to give Carl Olsen a chance to play bass on television.
posted by davejay at 2:00 PM on June 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

If the entire Blue turned into links to stupid, hilarious and obscure Conan bits like this - well, life could be worse.

Takes a lot of balls for a tall, academic, ginger Irish-American with a 50s haircut to pull his shirt off and do some cock-rockin' Plant of the Golden Mane
posted by C.A.S. at 2:16 PM on June 27, 2013

This is amazing. Thanks!
posted by cell divide at 2:30 PM on June 27, 2013

I don't think I had seen this (I would probably remember), but 1997 is right in my sweet spot of obsessive Late Night watching. Late night comedy in the days before YouTube was pretty much a watch-it-or-it's-gone genre. I always liked the Clive Clemmons Inappropriate Response Channel.
posted by stopgap at 4:13 PM on June 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

That makes me wistful for broadcast television and 90s Conan..
posted by Captain Chesapeake at 4:34 PM on June 27, 2013

"Do you find it hard to hide the fact that you're gay?"
posted by humboldt32 at 5:17 PM on June 27, 2013

Damn. I still can't stomach Conan. Put me with the haters if you want. That is all.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 6:10 PM on June 27, 2013

> performance that took itself too seriously

Isn't that the idea though? Like every other heavy metal band that followed.
posted by stbalbach at 6:14 PM on June 27, 2013

This is awesome. I also loved the way they made fun of David Copperfield in these days *slight of hand at camera*... damn that was funny.
posted by hellslinger at 10:41 PM on June 27, 2013

ROFL. Here it is. I'm so glad it's on youtube.
posted by hellslinger at 10:43 PM on June 27, 2013

OMG. This was so great.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:22 PM on June 27, 2013

This is great. I think my mouth was open the whole time. I couldn't tell if it was awesome or hilarious or both.

I still can't stomach Conan.

He wrote the Simpsons! Well part of it anyway. He was there for the good parts.
posted by chemoboy at 2:15 AM on June 28, 2013

That is excellent. I used to always laugh at John Bonham's fantasy section in Song Remains The Same. While the others imagined themselves in magical, far flung situations, all Bonzo can think of is riding a motorbike really fast, which is probably what he'd be doing anyway. Evidently I'm not the only one who found this amusing.
posted by Shatner's Bassoon at 3:55 AM on June 28, 2013

Shatner's Bassoon (great name):

That reminds me of this classic Calvin

My Wish Came True.
posted by DigDoug at 5:10 AM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm very late to this party, but here's my musical Conan anecdote: in 1994, some friends of mine and I drove down to NYC for a long weekend from Toronto -- borrowed a van and made the 8-ish hour drive, leaving at around 3 a.m. on a Friday and creaking back in the wee hours of the next Tuesday morning.

At some point -- I guess the Monday? -- we went to a taping of Conan's late-night show.

I wasn't a fan at that point; I'm an early-to-bed guy, so I've never developed a taste for late-night TV. And what I'd seen of Conan in this pre-video-Internet era was a kind of skinny guy sitting behind a desk chatting with people, including a kind of husky sidekick who -- when both were sitting down -- made Conan look even less... substantial.

So I thought he was a runt.

In the studio, the audience was sitting in seating on top of a riser relative to the floor, so the feet of the front-row audience members was probably two or three feet above the sound stage floor. There's about a 2' or 3' tall bar railing for safety in front of that front row of seats.

We get there, there's kind of an MC/warm-up guy that gets us relaxed and laughing, explains how the applause signs work, and then Max Weinberg came out and started playing music -- not the jazzy show intro, but this raucous rockabilly tune.

And then from the side of the stage this insanely tall crazy-haired scarecrow in a leather jacket kicks the side-stage door halfway off its hinges, runs screaming towards the audience, grabs the lowest rung of the railing between the audience and the sound stage, and fucking vaults about six feet in the air, all the way over the safety railing, into the audience, and starts singing/screaming. Just red-faced belting at us, running up and down the aisles and rows.

I just about shat myself. I've barely processed that this is Conan O'Brian, and instead of being a little nerd behind a desk he is like eight feet tall and possessed by demons.

And then he leaps back over the railing, sprints to the desk throwing off his leather jacket, leaps into his chair, runs his hands through his hair, and says a quiet hello.

Cue music, show starts, etc. I think Tom Arnold was a guest that night. (Edit: must've been this taping).

It doesn't surprise me at all that he has a strong strain of rock n' roll flowing through his veins.
posted by Shepherd at 6:08 AM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I wonder what Brock Sampson would think of this.
posted by juiceCake at 8:07 AM on June 28, 2013

I'm very late to this party

No such thing as late to a Conan O'Brien lovefest.

That is a great anecdote, but it really does put more fuel to the fire/rumors that for years (if not still) Conan used A LOT of cocaine to help him get past his stage fright. There was never a whole lot of word given to it good or bad, I just remember reading an excerpt from Marilyn Manson's autobiography where he says that Conan O'Brien asked him if he knew where to get some coke at the party they were both at. Reading your story, it doesn't seem totally impossible he was coked up and working hard at getting the crowd amped.

After Andy left, when he made his first appearance as a guest and they did the whole intro/music/walk to desk bit, with Conan getting up and giving Andy a big bear hug. Just as they were sitting down Andy remarked "Oops, I think you spilled your Coke a bit there.", to which Conan sort of played it off with an ambiguous "Ooh well, you know.." To viewers it could easily be assumed that he was just talking about Coca-Cola, but knowing that there was a small amount of acrimony over Andy's departure I wouldn't be surprised if he was making a joke to take the piss from Conan a bit. I don't use "small amount" as an exaggeration, they were very amiable about it but Conan wasn't totally thrilled since they had been a great comedy duo since the beginning, and he wasn't sure how to adapt the show to a solo hosting format. He ended up basically making Max Weinburg the "sidekick" as it were for the first several months until Conan was more comfortable working alone.
posted by mediocre at 4:36 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm 99% sure that whole bit exists because Conan wanted to give Carl Olsen a chance to play bass on television.

For the record, Carl "Oldy" Olsen was not the man playing bass, he was the Old Man Eternity/Andy's counterpart in his fantasy sequence.
posted by mediocre at 4:40 PM on June 28, 2013

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