June 18, 2011



Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

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Conan-obrien-cant-stop-poster Conan O'Brien is not funny. O'Brien's longtime sidekick Andy Richter, on the other hand, is. I know this because the only times I laughed during the documentary about O'Brien's self-serving stand-up comedy tour was at Richter's subtle sense of humor. For all of O'Brien's protestations about how much he loves to perform, his efforts come across more as an addiction than as a gift.

After the much-publicized debacle that left O'Brien without an NBC-produced nightly television show after 22-years of service, the applause-starved entertainer turned to the creation of a "music-and-comedy" tour entitled "The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour."

Movie Review - 'Conan O'Brien Can't Stop' - Backstage With A Comic In  Transition : NPR

Director Rodman Flender deploys a vérité approach that reveals his lanky, red-haired subject to be a petulant man-child with a chip on his shoulder the size of Gibraltar. O'Brien's proclivity for bullying his staff with humiliating tactics and physical punches comes off as mean rather than infused with the Goddamned-I'm-funny innocence that O'Brien pretends exonerates him for any responsibility for his actions. "30 Rock's" Jack McBrayer gets an especially uncomfortable treatment during a backstage visit that will make your skin crawl.

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop' Trailer

Rehearsals, meetings, backstage meet-and-greets, and performance clips from the 32-city tour make for a less than satisfying audience experience. Most oppressive is the low level of musicianship O'Brien exhibits as he sings and plays guitar on songs like "Polk Salad Annie" and a parody version of "On the Road Again." Even with a band of professional musicians and back-up singers behind him the musical performances fall woefully flat. Jack Black, Conan O'Brien is not.

After getting a $32.5 million settlement from NBC to keep him off the air until September 1st, 2011, you have to ask yourself why he felt the urge to show how much contempt he has for his staff and his audience. For anyone interested, this movie is enough to make you never want to watch Conan O'Brien again. Conan O'Brien is indeed running out of gas; he'll stop soon enough. Thank the good lord that doesn't exist for small favors.

Rated R. 89 mins.

2 Stars

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon


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