Category Archives: humor

Conan O’Brien soars with 60 Minutes; Leno falls flat in Washington

Conan got a lob toss from “60 Minutes” yesterday and hit it out of the park.

But a  review in the TV trades said Conan’s first public media foray backfired a la Tiger.

I don’t think so.

If Tiger had employed a strategy to give up control to the even bigger control freaks at “60 Minutes,” he  certainly would be further along the comeback trail instead of still being seen as a villain.

By contrast, Conan gave an honest,heart-felt interview that humanized him, made him sympathetic, and even more likeable. Everyone already thinks Conan got screwed. A “60 Minutes” score just makes it official.

No NBC or Leno perspective in the Steve Kroft story. So it’s totally one-sided which only aids in being pro-Conan. But Conan does have a point. The bean counters had their way and made their decision. It’s all the subsequent talk about the “Tonight Show” losing money that is pure corporate B.S. Conan’s honesty on this subject  was compelling. So was his take on hisCatholicism:   “If I experience any joy in life, I will go to hell.”

Nice touch also to include his wife, Liza.The “stand by your man” thing is something we haven’t seen in the Conan vs. Jay war. Tiger could have used some of that.

So overall, how can this be anything but a positive for Conan? Even singing “I Will Survive” was funny and to the point.

And the beard is such an improvement, a nice distraction from his frontal red-head wave. I see more man-crushes in COB’s future, especially now that he will be on cable.

As for Leno at the White House Correspondents Dinner: He got titters, but no guffaws. No one was LMAOROFL, in other words. In fact, Leno looked like he could have used cue cards. He was reading his jokes from a script and kept bobbing his head down. It just wasn’t his best.  He did have a few good lines, like when he mentioned how diverse the Obama cabinet was with representatives from every ward in Chicago. But many lines fell flat. Really flat.

The president, on the other hand, was pumped up. He was funny. And performed much better than Leno. I liked the line where he described Sarah Palin’s objection to Twitter and Facebook as “socialized media.” But there were other gems. An item on the web said some Daily Show writers contributed. Doesn’t matter. The prez was funnier than Leno.

Overall, a better weekend for Conan.

(A point of disclosure: Like Conan and his “friend,” NBC President Jeff ZuckerConan, I have a similar connection. Conan and I are Lampoon brothers, but the last time I saw him  he was in a massive jester outfit and a senior at Harvard. I have photos. He also was too much in character to acknowledge me. I have also taken him to task in the past about some of his tasteless takes on Asian Americans).

Who gets the blame when a bi-racial Obama screws up?

Thanks to Wanda Sykes, we know.

At Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner (now simply called the WHCD), comedienne Sykes pointed out that the “first black president,” was in fact  bi-racial.

So when Obama’s wonderful, he’s  TFBP (the first black president).  But when he screws up—then he’s the white guy.

Obama is positioned by birth to be at both ends of the joke.  He can be the pin-pricker and the pin-pricked.  It’s the new ethnic humor.   As mixed marriages and their offspring grow in number,  expect to see more of this  new ethnic joke form come up.

I said the same thing recently about Giants’ Tim Lincecum, last year’s Cy Young winner for best pitcher in the NL. When he’s pitching well, we Filipinos love to point out he’s  at least a quarter Filipino (which explains his greatness, of course).  But when he’s getting shelled and pitching poorly,  that must be the white part  giving up all those hits.

I point this out because ethnic humor may be one way to break the ice and begin having those awkward race conversations Attorney General Eric Holder said we should be having.

If we start talking wonkily about race by exploring Brown and Plessy, or their latter day counterparts that could impact us all,  no one will be having a conversation soon.

But if we talk about our president like Sykes did at the WHCD, we may be able to sneak up on the tough conversations we are too  cowardly to have.