Not since the prehistoric days of the Clintonzoic Era, when Johnny Carson retired, has late night television been such a hot topic. At the time, of course, it was just written and talked about. Now it’s also Facebooked, MySpaced, tweeted, blogged, IM’d, emailed and texted about. As my poor college friends and loyal readers of this blog know, I joined Team Conan in 1993. In an almost creepy way. In fact, I think I technically established Team Conan. Let me remind you, people, that with no wireless, high-speed internet connection — and no internet to connect to — I was forced to do all my Google stalking on microfiche, at the library. Fine. It was creepy. (For more on this, and another tale from the TMK Annals of Botched Brushes With Greatness, I invite you to read the post NBC Order.)
But the point is, I stood by him. Even long after I discovered Frasier reruns at midnight and stopped watching his show on a regular basis — even after he slandered New Jersey in his much-hyped battle with Cory Booker — I held a special place in my heart for Conan. He was always funny and smart, yes. But I just always knew, somehow, that he too was the last one picked for every team. And that made us kindred spirits.
Yesterday, the New York Times blog “Media Decoder” shared Conan’s letter to the People of Earth, in which he explains why he will not host Tonight if it moves to the 12:05 time slot. It is well-written, just the right amount of funny and completely classy, underscoring the fact that Conan is a tall, red-headed, Irish mensch. Note the way he ends the letter: “I’m truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.”
Last night, nearly two decades since Conan became a household name, I declared my loyalty to Team Conan before thousands. And I hope you will do the same, for whatever it’s worth.
I also hope that, before making any final decisions, NBC thinks about this. How much would they have lost if they’d pulled the plug on Conan’s fledgling show in late 1993, when no one watched? They kept going, and look how that turned out.
I’m just sayin’…
And for the record, I’m truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.