January 03, 2008

TV: the return of the late night talk shows

Last night saw the return of all the late night talk shows, and I managed to catch the two bearded ones, David Letterman and Conan O'Brien. (incidentally, I did catch the last 5 minutes of Jay Leno, and was excited to see Amerie performing, the genetically superior black + Korean hybrid and diva in traning). I have to say that as much as I wish for a timely end to the Writer's strike, it's a pleasure to see the strike bring out new shades of the familiar personalities. Letterman, as everyone knows, did come back with his full writing staff on duty, but there was the beard to get used to, and a generally heightened excitement/energy level after the long hiatus.
Conan came back without writers, and it turned out to be an absolute treat. We got many insider scoops on the show in lieu of written sketches. Conan showed us rehearsal rituals like seeing how long he can spin his wedding ring on his desk, and took us into his office where his famous Eisenhower mug sat next to lots of other toys. We even got to see the room where writers take a load off by playing Guitar Hero (actually Rockband), and how Conan interrupts them by playing the same songs on his actual guitar.
I have to say I'm excited to see how Conan fares in the coming weeks, and getting to know him better as he's forced to show aspects of his life & personal he's carefuly guarded over the years. With no end to the Writer's strike as far as we can see, it could turn out to be a long and interesting ride.