Conan O'Brien's fraught exit from NBC almost a year ago still weighs all-too-heavily on his mind, writes Laura Bennett in The New Republic. Indeed, a month into his new talk show on cable station TBS, he's still peppering his nightly chatter with references to the network that ousted him from "The Tonight Show." This "slide into chronic self-referentiality" is not only "patently offensive," given his massive, $30 million payoff from NBC, it's turning Conan into a terrible late-night host, argues Bennett. Here's an excerpt:
When O'Brien riffs on his diminished paycheck or the lowbrow nature of basic cable, it’s uncomfortable to watch him. This doesn’t jive with the spirit of the late-night talk show, which aims to make viewers feel privy to a cozy, casual chat. Johnny Carson excelled at the business of putting his guests—and thus his viewers—at ease. His jokes were chummy and he never stole the spotlight. Even Jay Leno built his brand on providing a kind of backdrop for flashier personalities. It might not be fun to watch Leno, but it is comfortable. His style is unobtrusive. O’Brien, sitting beside a celebrity guest, is a competing spectacle.
Read the entire article in The New Republic.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
- The most sensible GOP alternative to ObamaCare comes from a Senate candidate who is almost sure to lose
- When Khomeini said no to Iranian nukes
- 10 things you need to know today: October 23, 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
Subscribe to the Week