The Complete Saga of Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show – Laser Time #366

It’s been a decade since Conan O’Brien was handed the reigns of The Tonight Show, and thank goodness the transition was completely seamless. HOY-YOOOOO! Get ready to relive one of the most fascinating showbiz tales of all-time, even though we all got to watch unfold in real time. Come for the behind the scenes drama at NBC and The Tonight Show, stay for the countless clips of comedians crapping on Jay Leno!

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9 thoughts on “The Complete Saga of Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show – Laser Time #366

  1. this was fascinating. Especially since I’ve never watched any of these late shows. I’ve seen clips after the fact, but never kept up or bothered to watch.

  2. Really fantastic episode about the entire Conan vs Jay saga. It’s only January but this is definitely in the running for best podcast of 2019, no question. Couple of thoughts;

    I was a huge Conan Fan growing up and was super happy when he got the Tonight Show. And… I didn’t watch his new show until the end when the Drama became why I turned in. I was an early cord cutter and I’m not sure I’ve watched an entire talk show since Conan’s last ellipsoid as the host of the Tonight Show. It just doesn’t seem like the Talk Show format is that great for on-demand viewing.

    I loved every single last clip played. I’d love it if someone made a giant Super-Clip where you watch the story unfold. Or just make Late Shift Part II.

    There was a lot of talk in the episode about Jay Leno not needing or even really wanting the money. I get the hostility to him, but wouldn’t he get even more flack if he was doing it for the money?

  3. Again, really loved this deep dive. Top notch work. I wonder if you’ve be willing to consider doing another deep dive into something not so fun: Harvey Weinstein. I get why you wouldn’t want to do it, but I just ran across the fact that Fanboys was made by him. And that’s not he’s been mentioned on the Thirty Twenty Ten show quite a bit and I don’t think I realized how big of a producer he was until he kept showing up again and again. What I would be very curious to listen to would be (critical of course) biography of him showing how he was able to rise to the top while doing bad things, stay at the top while doing bad things, and then, finally after far too long, fall because of the bad things he had been doing for decades. I think such an examination would be fascinating IF handled deftly. Might be too heavy a topic for LaserTime though. Just a thought.

  4. Little is more emblematic of Lasertime than Sarah making a dig at Chris for never letting his guests speak, and then five minutes later her attempted point about Joan Rivers being an interesting chapter of the saga is completely suffocated by Chris just talking right over her the whole time.

    1. This is contrived drama. If Sarah thought she was being talked over she wouldn’t do the show. Chris has always been excitable and that’s why I listen to the show. Good episode.

  5. Great episode.

    One IMO important thing from this saga that is often forgotten was that Conan’s star had seriously fallen between 2004 and 2009. He was losing to Craig Ferguson. Yikes. This must have made NBC very worried.

    In Bill Carter’s book it mentioned that Conan had a $30M buyout if he wouldn’t get The Tonight Show as promised. This was also the same amount he received as severance. So in about 2008 with Conan’s popularity on the decline and with Leno’s appeal shockingly holding steady they should have just paid the $30M and kept him at 12:35.

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