Conan O'Brien Can't Stop
I met Conan O'Brien once—or, more accurately, I stalked Conan O'Brien once—on a residential street near Seward Park in the year 2000. Conan was engaged to a woman (now his wife) whose parents lived next door to the parents of a friend of mine. We knew Conan was going to be there that day, because we were creepy. After several hours of behavior that I can only describe as "eeeeuuuuuuggghhhhh" (binoculars were involved), my three friends and I "ran into him" "by chance" on the street outside his in-laws' house because we were "on a walk." (Totally normal! Teenagers love strolls, right!?!? HERE, BREATHE INTO THIS RAG.)
We exchanged pleasantries, Conan asked us our names and where we were going to college in the fall, we discussed Craig Kilborn ("I NEVER watch Craig Kilborn—you're way funnier!"), lemonade ("delicious"), the Rolonda show (go Google "Rolonda Conan O'Brien"), and the time that Conan got bodyslammed by the band Goldfinger ("I work at the Experience Music Project, and Goldfinger came in, and that reminded me of the time they bodyslammed you"). We were fucking spazzy in ways that 10 years later I am still too mortified to relay. We made him take a picture with us. The crotch of my jeans looked weird. My friend had an infected eyeball. Conan could not have been more gracious. Thanks, Conan; sorry, Conan.
Conan O'Brien Can't Stop—a feature-length documentary about his 2010 "Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television" tour—is an interesting, conflicted portrait of this Conan O'Brien person: grumpy, weary, freckled, driven, hopelessly addicted to show business, and tirelessly dedicated to his fans (even annoying teenagers with infected eyeballs). Filmed in the immediate wake of his split with NBC, but before the rebirth of his show on TBS, Can't Stop is a diverting couple of hours for comedy nerds, O'Brien superfans, and anyone who's interested in the messy mechanics of how things work. "I am angry," Conan says. "I'm very angry about the way I was treated. And I'm the least entitled person you'll meet in the world."
The film starts in the writers' room—spitballing ideas, shooting down ideas, making fun of assistants, pretending a banana is a telephone ("Hello? Banana Company?")—and lumbers on all the way through 44 national tour dates in almost as few days. Conan signs every autograph, shakes every hand, kisses every crew member's mom (not in a SEXUAL way, you guys!), introduces Damian Marley at Bonnaroo (the ensuing riffs get, and deserve, the film's biggest laughs), plays a rock show with Jack White (zzzzz), hangs out with Jack McBrayer (eeeee!), and pretty much almost dies of exhaustion. Thanks, Conan; sorry, Conan. I'm glad you're not dead, Conan.