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LCK on Coco: “His dreams are misguided”


 

Louis C.K., who may be the dean of American standup comedy (or perhaps a regent serving during the Madness of King Chappelle), offers a sage commentary on the Late Night Wars. His insight is unique and valuable because 1) it’s Louis C.K., for God’s sake; 2) it’s saturated with sincere respect for everybody involved; 3) he’s written for and with pretty much everybody, including Conan O’Brien and David Letterman; 4) it’s easy to forget because he’s bald and pudgy, but he’s got a generational perspective quite distinct, in important ways, from that of the principals. LCK is four years younger than the boyish Conan, and easily young enough to be Jay Leno’s kid. In some respects he is obviously speaking for all the major comic talents out there who haven’t yet had their own successful series.


 

LCK on Coco: “His dreams are misguided”

  1. Conan should have prorogued the Tonight Show to avoid the confidence vote. He could have then launched a PR blitz to stimulate public support and keep his job. I hear this strategy is catching on.

  2. I agree with LCK's analysis.

    Guys like Letterman and O'Brien probably were too edgy and irreverent in their prime to take over Tonight. Maybe it wasn't meant to be for O'Brien, much as I'm miffed about his treatment from NBC.

    Leno is some good white bread for the masses. I never watched him but I love his website where he shows his fleet of everything automotive you can imagine.

    • I'm not even a car guy and I kind of like that site. Probably because it's a glimpse of the old Leno without the plastic corporate shell.

      • It's fantastic. I am a car nut par excellence and it has brought me untold hours of enjoyment, for free!

        Not that it would get high ratings either, but they should make that a tv show. And you're right, it's mostly distilled Leno wearing the exact same denim shirt and blue jeans poring over his cars and his considerable knowledge of them. And he actually takes everything "for a spin".

  3. Interesting thing was that back when NBC was mulling pulling Tonight out from under Leno for Letterman, his advisers were trying to tell Dave (as recounted in Bill Carter's book) that the Tonight Show he wanted was already gone, it was damaged goods after Leno's stint. Amazing that Conan needed to hear it more than 15 years later. The good news is, I doubt Conan held the lifelong obsession with the gig that Dave did.

    • Good point, however, Leno did turn things around (imagine that, giving a new Tonight Show host time on the air to turn things around after a disappointing start!) so, arguably, while the Carson Tonight Show is every bit as gone, the Leno Tonight Show that NBC offered to Conan wasn't nearly as bad as the Leno Tonight Show that NBC offered to Letterman. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno was a pretty good gig for Conan to take over. What ruined it was A) throwing the terrible Jay Leno Show in front of it (and announcing the Jay Leno Show @10 was coming before Conan even got on the air) and B) giving Conan no time whatsoever to grow in to the new time slot.

  4. I love Louis CK, so by no means do I mean this as some big criticism of his analysis, however, isn't all of that pretty easy for him to say? By which I mean, sure, from an outsider's perspective it looks as though Conan was better off on his old show (which, CK's right, everyone referred to as "Conan" not as "Late Night"), and that he never should have taken the Tonight Show. However, I'd like to see somebody turn down a fat contract to host the Tonight Show. (Sure, Letterman is believed to have turned it down, but those circumstances were unique, to say the least).

    I think Louis CK makes an entirely rational and logical argument, that at the same time has only a tenuous connection to reality, and the nature of both human beings and the television industry.

    Now, to something else… what is the deal with Chapelle these days? Where is he? What's he up too? (I know, I know, Google… what can I say, I think I'll find better and more compelling answers here at Macleans).

    • He's doing occasional, unannounced standup sets of indescribably long duration and mind-bogglingly awesome quality.

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