The penultimate show of Conan O’Brien’s Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television tour sold out Radio City Music Hall last night with an interesting mix of comedy and music. The audience was a mix of real-life enthusiasm against the typical coldness of a New York crowd. Both adoring and jaded, the crowd could be simultaneously under and over-enthusiastic in that way that only New York City crowds tend to be.
The understated comedy highlight of the show, for me at least, was Andy Richter strolling out to the dulcet tones of Eduard Anatolyevich Khil (aka Trolololo Guy) and his narration of an “advertisement” for New Yorks third-best Grey’s Papaya ripoff.
Guest appearances by Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart (O’Brien’s future competitors on basic cable at 11 o’clock) for a dance-off were charmingly funny. Joining Conan, Andy and the band on stage to pull the Walker, Texas Ranger clip lever were Bill Hader, Jon Krasinski and Paul Rudd. The ultimate Walker clip remains perfectly surreal.
Other highlights included a clever Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, fill-in-the-blanks video segment that was very funny.
Perhaps my expectations were too high, but to some extent this show felt like revisiting a slightly old meme. Now that O’Brien has found a new television home, and the tour debuted a month ago, much of it felt like a moment whose time had passed. Or having Conan on stage with the Comedy Central hosts made me realize that while I enjoy O’Brien’s brand of surrealist comedy, it doesn’t feel as vital, important or timely as The Daily Show/Colbert Report hour.
But even if the show itself wasn’t hip enough to trend on Twitter, it was funny enough to not need the hype. NY Magazine Vulture has highlight clips