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Conan is back!

After spending 10 months in the wilderness, Conan has taken to the stage again. Gone is the bland, middle-of-the-road Tonight Show host. In his place is the Conan that fans of his show Late Night with Conan O’Brien will recall fondly. This is a Conan who is not afraid to let his guests say something a little off-colour, a Conan who will dance on his desk for no good reason, and a Conan who knows when times are tough, the tough take a look all the way to the year 3000.

Late-night US talk shows are generally fairly generic and follow a similar pattern: monologue, sketch, guest one, guest two, musical act. What makes them different is what the host brings to the desk. Conan isn’t politically focused in the same way that Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert are, but he does appeal to that same youth audience. Unlike Leno or Letterman, Conan isn’t on stage performing as the comedic elder statesman of US studio television, but rather has his own distinct personality. He’s a likeable guy who enjoys goofy, surreal sketches, and isn’t afraid to let his comedy go to some darker places. It’s a sillier version of what David Letterman used to do in the ’80s.

In his new show, Conan is his own boss. His production company is running the show, which now airs on a US cable channel TBS. The language is allowed to get slightly fruitier, while the jokes can now get saltier. Andy Richter is back on the show, serving as Conan’s sidekick once more. Often serving almost as a muse for Conan, Richter is often responsible for the funnier moments in each show and inspires Conan to soar like the red-headed eagle that he is.

Also, the show sees the return of the long-time Conan staple character The M-sturbating Bear. Champagne television.

Conan is a fun hour of studio-based TV. Sure, sometimes the guests can be a complete drag, but nobody really watches Conan for the guests anyway.  It’s all about Coco.

The details: Conan launches in Australia tonight on GEM at 11:30.

Peter Fray

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