Last night was the last episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. Now, I’ve been a fan of Conan for many years and believe that the level of disrespect that he was experience in the last couple of weeks by NBC not only was undeserved but is truly despicable. All of the parties involved will say “It’s just business” but that’s not an excuse. NBC screwed up big time.
It’s also not Jay Leno’s fault, entirely.
As I watched the show last night, Conan once again showed why he’s a great comedian. He also showed how to take the high road with his ending statement (just before “Free Bird”. This is what he said:
“Before we end this rodeo, a few things need to be said. There has been a lot of speculation in the press about what I legally can and can’t say about NBC. To set the record straight, tonight I am allowed to say anything I want. And what I want to say is this: between my time at Saturday Night Live, The Late Night Show, and my brief run here on The Tonight Show, I have worked with NBC for over twenty years. Yes, we have our differences right now and yes, we’re going to go our separate ways. But this company has been my home for most of my adult life. I am enormously proud of the work we have done together, and I want to thank NBC for making it all possible.
Walking away from The Tonight Show is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Making this choice has been enormously difficult. This is the best job in the world, I absolutely love doing it, and I have the best staff and crew in the history of the medium. But despite this sense of loss, I really feel this should be a happy moment. Every comedian dreams of hosting The Tonight Show and, for seven months, I got to. I did it my way, with people I love, and I do not regret a second. I’ve had more good fortune than anyone I know and if our next gig is doing a show in a 7-11 parking lot, we’ll find a way to make it fun.
And finally, I have to say something to our fans. The massive outpouring of support and passion from so many people has been overwhelming. The rallies, the signs, all the goofy, outrageous creativity on the internet, and the fact that people have traveled long distances and camped out all night in the pouring rain to be in our audience, made a sad situation joyous and inspirational.
To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere.
Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
Here’s the video of it:
2009 left me feeling cynical about a number of things. But watching Conan survive this gives me hope.
Farewell for now, Coco. I’ll see you on your new show soon (go FOX!)