Friday, May 21, 2010
I'm with Coco
Back in Chicago so soon? Why, yes! On Thursday night, Sam and I had a date with Conan O'Brien. We caught the second night of Conan's "Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television" tour stop at the Chicago Theatre, and it was well worth the drive on a school night.
I've seen Conan live twice before. The first time during the week of Late Night shows he did at the Chicago Theatre in 2006, a run he mentioned more than once Thursday night. In 2006, Conan brought pizza out to us in line, and his guests included Barack Obama. The second time was a taping in L.A. during Conan's brief Tonight Show tenure. I didn't blog about that at the time, but it was awesome. Amazing seats, an encounter with Max (which sounds dirty but wasn't), a donkey, a python, an elephant, Wilco in Nudie suits (again, not dirty). And of course, Andy and Conan being hilarious.
This third time showcased another incarnation of Conan the performer. It felt like Conan's TV show, except with more music, a more personal focus, and a lot more swearing. The sense of fun was still palpable, and Conan did his best to make a connection with the audience: by running through the aisles, by inviting a Conan lookalike up on stage in one of my favorite unscripted moments of the night, by urging us to collaborate with him on song lyrics via a lobby suggestion box held by a life-sized cutout of Conrad Bain. The night contained a bit of everything, and it was clear that Conan was doing what Conan wanted to do. The image of him relaxed and grinning on stage, guitar in hand, jamming to "Seven Nation Army" while wearing Eddie Murphy's purple suit from "Raw" is one that will stay with me for awhile. (It's possible he wasn't wearing that suit during that particular song, but nevertheless ... the image is there.)
Tomorrow, I'll be in Chicago again. Leaving for Africa.