Not a serious discussion, but I'm curious what you guys think about the whole debacle surrounding the Tonight Show (which doesn't seem to be capable of undergoing a smooth transition, at any point in its history).

Taking the two comedians side by side (without the pros or cons of their individual shows), I consider Conan to be the funnier person. His humor (especially his improvisational stuff) just seems more natural and in-tune with my own thought processes.

I think NBC royally screwed Conan over by keeping Leno on right before him. At minimum, they should have allowed Conan a year or so to get established as THE Tonight Show host before bringing Leno back in any capacity, let alone a nightly variety show that looks exactly like the old Tonight Show.

Conan's not exactly handling it like a gentleman*, but I do believe that he's entitled to his resentment. This last week has been an exciting ride on the Tonight Show.

Finally, I'd like to include a clip from SNL's "Weekend Update," in which Seth Meyers sums the debacle up pretty well:

Click here for the video


*EDIT: Given Conan's farewell speech, I'd like to retract my earlier statement that "Conan's not exactly handling it like a gentleman."  He had fun with his last week (at NBC's expense), but he signed off with class and decorum.

Tags: Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno, The Tonight Show

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I can't stand Jay Leno - think he's a talentless hack. I like Conan a lot better. I used to be a big Letterman fan when he was on NBC (used to tape it nightly), but I think he's a big sellout and not as funny.
I agree.

as for Conan "not exactly handling it like a gentleman". Well, he is handling it better than I would. He got screwed over because NBC are talentless hacks who prefer Leno over him, even though he is funnier.
Conan has that self deprecating humor that people love. Leno is rehearsed and a major brown noser.
Leno is the McDonalds of comedy. Billions served but not very well and not a quality product. I like Conan a lot better. He is a bit off center which I tend to find more interesting. Also with Conan as the host the writers have a lot more to work with and can turn out a better product. It was also nice to have Andy back.
I feel like the Conan/Leno debate really comes down to a generational divide. My folks find Leno funny, and I don't. I find Conan hilarious and my folks don't get his humor at all. When they show the audience during Conan's show, it's usually made up of 20-somethings.

I'm not a fan of Leno. He seems like a guy who's outwardly super friendly and nice and inwardly conniving and manipulative. When you step down from something you have to get on with your life and find something else that makes you happy. Or you end up screwing with other people.
My thoughts exactly, Brett.
I am a Conan fan myself.
I prefer Conan, especially now since what NBC has done to him. Some of his bits may be a little crass at times, but most of those didn't find their way to The Tonight Show. Conan knows how to work an audience.

Leno on the other hand I really don't find funny. The funniest bit he had was Jay Walking and that was funny because of other peoples answers to his question. The most interesting thing about Jay Leno is his car collection.

Once Conan is gone I don't intend to watch The Tonight Show, or the local NBC news that precedes it; since that is one of the reasons NBC talking heads gave for moving Jay back. Local affiliates claimed their ratings went done with Leno on before the news.
I am firmly in the Leno camp. Conan delivers a niche brand of humor -- you either love it, or you're not into it at all. That's where I am.

I actually agree with Paul that Leno is like McDonald's. What's wrong with that, though? I like McDonald's.

Conan should fire his agents. How could you not stipulate in his contract that the 11:35 p.m. EST time slot is carved in stone? Big blunder on their part. It left NBC a loophole to try and move him around.
"How could you not stipulate in his contract that the 11:35 p.m. EST time slot is carved in stone?"

As Topher pointed out, "if it isn't in the contract, it doesn't exist." I get that, and I'm sure Conan gets that. So legally NBC has the right to do whatever they want. But Conan has a point when he stipulates that The Tonight Show (as an American fixture) has always been at 11:35 EST. While there's no such thing as "good faith" in show business (especially at NBC in recent years), the time slot is as much a part of The Tonight Show as the host. Sure, his agents should have clarified it in the contract (like wily Leno's agents did), but it does go without saying, unless you're trying to weasel out of a contract.
Leno's car collection > Conan's car collection.

On the issue of the Late Night Wars, I thought Conan handled it quite well. He seems to have more repsect for the tonight show than the channel itself, which says something right there. Also, the fact that Leno isn't cutting his losses from his primetime debacle and riding off into the sunset in one of his multimillion $$$ cars leads me to believe that even though he seems approachable, there is definitely an ego under there somewhere.

In the end I think Conan is going to come out on top. He will get $32M from NBC and will have Fox waiting with another sweet offer so he can do his late night show there when he can start working again in September. NBC and Leno are gambling that this escapade didn't damage Leno's image enough to leave them with a tonight show host that has alienated a lot of the viewing audience.

As for funny, I think Conan is hilarious. Did anyone see his new goal to spend as much of NBCs money on the show until it's off the air. Exhibit 1 is his $1.5M Bugatti Mouse.

I think that's just great.
Last night was the funniest bit of late night television I've seen in a long time. How often do you get to see an entire show flip off its host station at the station's expense? This feels like history.


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