Classy CoCo from the sketchbook
Nicely done, Mr. O'Brien. Nicely done.
Last Friday, January 22, "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" came to a relatively abrupt close. Seven months after taking over hosting duties and moving his family and staff from New York to Los Angeles, Mr. O'Brien fended off a very strange attack on The Tonight Show legacy by refusing to move to a later time slot.
A week of legal wrangling later and Conan was gearing up for his farewell show. If you've been under a rock and know nothing about this little drama, well then good for you. Just know that Mr. O'Brien had every reason to use his last few hours with an ever growing international audience to blast the network for this certainly ill fated decision. He could have opened the doors to all the closets and brought out all the skeletons.
What he did instead was worth noticing.
First, Conan used precious time from each show to ask viewers to donate to stillerstrong.org, a charity providing relief and aid specifically to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Each time he mentioned this charity and this recent natural disaster he pointed out that his little network drama was just “silly and meaningless” and that there were some things that actually deserved more attention.
Second, and most impressive….in the final moments of his final show, a show that was his lifelong dream job, a show that was promised to him for several years and then jerked away from him in the blink of an eye, he turned his words toward the network and addressed the issue head on. But instead of the venom his loyal viewers expected, he unleashed a mouthful of raw gratitude toward the network. Yes, gratitude. He thanked the network for all the years they employed him and allowed him to have fun on television.
And then he said this:
“To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for your kindness to me and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it’s my least favorite quality, and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they would get, but if you work hard and you’re kind, I’m telling you, amazing things will happen.”
I suppose we’ve all just been schooled on how a mature adult is expected to behave.
Well done Mr. O’Brien. Perhaps we’ll see you again in the future. Maybe even all the way to the year 2000.