Like many, I was skeptical when I heard that Conan O’Brian, Jay Leno and David Letterman were returning to air without their writers last week (Daily Show and Colbert Report return tonight). Without the writers around, could these shows really have enough to fill their hour slots? Would guests be willing to appear even though most have seemed to show support for the WGA? Could Leno maintain the same level of unfunny he has had since the mid-nineties?
But it was nice to catch of Conan and Letterman (with kick ass strike beards taboot) acknowledge there was a strike going on instead of pretending like nothing was going on. They genuinely seemed to show their support for their writers while also ensuring the rest of their staff is not laid off in the process.
The late night show do have some noticeable time to fill — with Conan reportedly spinning his wedding ring to set his own personal time record — but I was also pleasantly surprised with a couple pretty funny segments:
First,Conan wandered the halls aimlessly with his guitar and amp in tow, playing “Sunshine of Your Love” for anyone within earshot. Conan later showed some more of his showman chops the other night, covering Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon Over Kentucky” while fronting the Max Weinberg Seven. Check it out below… pretty awesome.
It’s hard to know if Conan, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert et al will be able to maintain their high levels of quality now that they’re back, but you can tell that Conan at least is trying to make the best of the situation and try some new things.
Let’s hope that the studios finally come to their senses and give the writer’s what they want soon because I’m not sure I can take more reality shows and writer’s videos on youtube.