Social Question

Zone36's avatar

Why do people seem to like Conan so much?

Asked by Zone36 (416points) January 18th, 2010

I grew up watching Johnny Carson and then the switch to Leno. I enjoyed a majority of the Leno years. I tried watching Late night, but I didn’t have enough patience to sit through his monologue and his skits to me were more like SNL post 2000. I mean that in a very bad way.

I’ll admit his thing where he brought the dog puppet on was funny. Year 3000 also, but I just to relate to any of the stuff he jokes about. Or the way he does it.

So just tell me what you like about him AND dislike. And no fighting! Maybe someone will point out something I missed not watching.

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23 Answers

asmonet's avatar

It’s the hair.


asmonet's avatar

Also, I think he’s freaking hilarious.

eponymoushipster's avatar

He’s not Jay Leno.

and, unlike Leno, he apparently can keep his word.

asmonet's avatar


Team Coco. :)

Owl's avatar

I miss Johnny.

jenandcolin's avatar

Conan is just a likable guy. He is witty, seems genuine and relatively jovial. I don’t really watch any of the late shows (I have seen each a few dozen times). However, I would be most willing to watch: Conan, Letterman, and Leno, in that order. There is something about Jay Leno that just annoys me. I’m not alone with this. I don’t know many people who don’t find him obnoxious.

ubersiren's avatar

I think Carson, Leno, and O’Brien each has his own thing. I like Carson. I like O’Brien. I’ve never thought Leno was funny. Ever. Conan O’Brien is a man funny to his core. He’s also a good interviewer and comes off as your lovable and hilarious uncle or something. Once someone has been around for a long time and gotten really big (and rich and powerful) like Jay Leno, in my opinion it makes the person unrelatable.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

The only Conan I like is the Barbarian !!!

Snarp's avatar

@Zone36 It means you’re getting old and out of touch. Don’t worry, so am I. Frankly, I never liked Leno either. Carson was brilliant, Leno was OK at best. O’Brien probably falls into the OK category, but what he has going for him over Leno is originality. Leno has been doing the same stale, old fashioned comedy for decades. Carson was way more original, and so is O’Brien. Carson was so good that everybody loved him, but the comparison between O’Brien and Leno comes down to this: Leno is not in the least original, which means just about anybody can put up with him and get a few laughs. He’s not going to inspire great affection, or great hatred (except by some hard-core anti-establishment types). O’Brien on the other hand is very original, which means that he will inspire great affection from those who get him, but at the same time leave a lot of people scratching their heads and not watching.

For the long term though, bet on the original guy.

limeaide's avatar

@Snarp GA I agree with your analysis. BTW – I’m with Coco, always have been. I also loved Carson.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

For me it’s simple.
Johnny is gone.
Leno is not funny.
Conan is.

Snarp's avatar

I don’t really watch late night T.V. anymore, and I don’t really think Conan is all that funny, but I do think that NBC is giving him a raw deal. “Hey, we’re moving Leno to a prime time show, so you get to take over the Tonight Show, isn’t that great? Oh, hey, it didn’t really work out, so you can still be the Tonight Show, but we’re moving you back to your old time slot, sorry.”

ragingloli's avatar

He’s a cute little boy with glasses who solves crimes. What’s not to like?

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

In addition to all the positive remarks others have given Conan, one thing that separates him from Leno is his delivery.

In their monologues, Leno and Conan will often tell very similar jokes about what is going on in the news, even really bad jokes. But Conan will tell them in a quirky way, and afterwards admit to how stupid they were. For instance he might say something like “I didn’t like it either!” after telling a crappy joke, and he and his audience can get more of a laugh out of that than the original crappy joke.

Leno on the other hand, will sell a crappy joke like it’s gold, even though it’s shit. And if that’s not enough, he’ll have his band play a little baseline after every (literally every) joke he tells to “enhance” them.

COCO can set the mood for funny, Leno fails. Plain and simple.

phoenyx's avatar

First of all, Conan O’Brien can take a joke. Jay Leno can’t. Jay Leno has a need to win. I watched a show where a guest made a remark about Jay’s chin and Jay verbally attacked the guest for the rest of the night. It wasn’t entertaining; it was awkward.

Secondly, I like Conan’s interview style better. He puts his guests at ease. When Leno is struggling in an interview he falls back on sex jokes or other cheap humor at the guest’s expense.

life_after_2012's avatar

Conan is just re-donkulously funny!!!

Snarp's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities Interesting. That was one of the things that made Carson so great, he could handle a joke that bombed better than anybody. It was guaranteed, if a joke didn’t go over he would ad-lib a response that would get bigger laughs than the joke ever would have.

absalom's avatar

I like the way he (harmlessly) points out incongruities in his guests’ interviews. And I really appreciate his self-deprecation. I don’t see that on any other late night show because the other hosts seem to have huge egos (e.g. Letterman), which I can’t stand.

However I kind disagree with those who’ve said Conan is original. His monologue is extremely formulaic and he has a number of shticks that he exploits over and over. But part of the fun for me is recognizing those shticks – which I think he knows are kind of dumb and so uses them ironically – and indulging in the silliness that his show often devolves into.

And besides, the man went to Harvard and wrote his thesis on progeria in Southern Gothic fiction. He also wrote for the Harvard Lampoon his freshman year, which no one is supposed to be able to do. He also wrote for the Simpsons. He’s just a funny and versatile and smart guy.

eponymoushipster's avatar

one thing that @phoenyx sort of hints at: while some of what Conan does/has done (especially on the Late Night show) is risque, i dont think of him as nearly as dirty as Leno. He hints at things, does his “growl” and stuff – but Leno will directly talk about a guest’s boobs, sex acts, etc.

Snarp's avatar

I just realized the proper answer to this question: “People seem to like Conan so much” because they do like Conan so much.

Dr_C's avatar

It might be a generational thing but I also remember Carson and the apssing of the Torch with Leno who seemed to keep the old Johnny vibe for a while and was perfectly in tune with where the country was at back then (some people thought it was a step down… i’d agree to a certain extent). Now he’s some old guy who’d kinda out of touch and whose humor revolves around vague references to his 250 cars and millions of dollars as well as celebrity friends. (some people thought it was a step down… i’d agree to a certain extent). Conan on the other hand is more in tune with today’s culture and more down to earth. He’s more relatable and in my mind MUCH funnier.

Also, as far as his skits having a SNL tone to them, he was a writer for SNL and the Simpsons before hosting Late Night.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t like his looks and I think he is so boring, I can’t sit still long enough to find the tiny crumb of something funny in his act. I love Jay Leno’s act. Hubby and used to sit and laugh all the way through his routine. I don’t like the ‘guest’ part of any of the talk shows.

eponymoushipster's avatar

he probably uses “the google” too.

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