Anti-Conan arguments debunked

Recently I watched the 60 minutes interview with Conan O’Brien. And I enjoyed it. I feel for the guy. As should anyone who has human decency and really *gets* it. But some of the same comments and talking points keep being brought up and it’s driving me crazy. Some of these are:

“Stop whining Conan!”

Stop whining? Conan just did his first interview on the subject. It’s basically the equivalent of someone who lost their loved one and stopped talking and after 4 months he started talking about how he felt and people yell at him “Stop whining about it!” Seriously? This is word one on the record from him about it. Also, “Stop whining?” When has he whined? If anything, he’s been TOO classy about it, not wanted to come off as anything but happy go lucky and fine. If I were him I’d be pissed off and everyone would know it. And yet these stop whining remarks exist. It’s amazing ignorance of the situation.

“I can’t feel bad for him. He got 30 million”

Wow, you must be extremely shallow. Yes, losing a job and getting 30 million is fantastic. But Conan didn’t lose a job. He lost a dream. Only 4 other men have been where he has, and it was snatched away from him after only 7 months. Imagine a Star Wars fan being cast as the main hero in a Star Wars movie, only to have it taken away from you, for inaccurate out of date data and by some old guy who just won’t let go despite being too old for the part and having essentially stole it in the first place through shady and borderline unethical ways, forcing a legend out and betraying a “friend”. Imagine being pulled up from the minor leagues to be the next Babe Ruth, only to have it taken away. People like Conan, people with artistic integrity and dreams; they don’t care about the money. Would you? What is your dream? Would you feel happy go lucky if you lost it but got a huge payout? If that’s the case, what else would you be willing to do or give up for 30 million? Kill your wife? Screw over your best friend? This whole argument is being said by people who either don’t understand the situation or seriously value money above anything else.

And if you still don’t think he got screwed, these people sure did:


“He sucked and he got thrown off the air. It’s his fault”

Actually, no. It was Leno’s lead in show, the Jay Leno show, that brought down the ratings. For one, no one who really enjoyed Leno would have a reason to switch to Conan-Leno is still there. The Tonight show basically moved. So a lot of Leno’s audience presumably went with him. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating, do you think if Johnny Carson had a show at 10 pm, that Leno would have a chance? Of course not. Also, Conan’s ratings were not the problem-no one was complaining, and it took Leno 3 years to get things going for his show-Conan had 7 months. It was Leno’s show that was the problem, the affiliates were complaining about his low ratings bringing down the news casts and were threatening to just preempt it. This also resolves a side argument-people who don’t believe lead-ins are important. NBC canceled the Jay Leno Show, while it was making money, because it created a bad lead in for the news. That’s a fact. So Conan’s show suffered as well. Also, the only data being used for ratings is the Nielson ratings, an out of date process where it only counts certain families homes and TV’s with Nielson boxes. So some who watched the show weren’t counted, and other who watched the show on TIVO or on the internet (Remember, Conan’s viewers are a younger internet savvy demographic) weren’t counted either. So the ratings were actually higher. So Conan’s show was not bad, he didn’t fail, and I’m sick of seeing this.

Also, Leno did worse and got the tonight show back. Same logic applies. Also, Leno is now doing ratings very close to those of Conan’s, and he’s still on the air. So the people who say it was Conan’s fault, it wasn’t. It was Jay Leno and the Jay Leno show. If I gave more credit to Leno, I’d say he had a diabolical plan to get back the tonight show by sabotaging Conan’s show.

“Don’t’ blame Jay blame NBC”

Yes NBC is to blame. But Jay is far from innocent. Jay lied about retiring, instead waiting until the 5 years he was given was up to basically say “Hey give me a show or I go somewhere else.” Then his excuse was it was to keep his staff working. The staff had 5 years to figure something out. What about Conan’s staff who was uprooted from New York to LA who obviously will now have a hard time adjusting and have no west coast contacts. What about the thousands of staffers that won’t have work doing drama’s in the 10 PM lineup that were always there. If Leno had a show at 10 in 1992-2009, there may not have been Friends, ER, Seinfeld, Will and Grace, just to name a few. Leno also publicly stated he’d take the tonight show back from Conan if offered, if Jay was an “Honorable” man he’d leave like he said he would and let Conan have his time, his lead-ins, and the Tonight Show audience. But no, he lobbied for his own show and he lobbied for Conan’s spot, pushing O’Brien off the air, and claiming he’s really the victim in all of this. It’s disgusting.

“Leno was pushed off the air first!”

As far as I’m concerned, that seat never belonged to Jay as he maneuvered into it by outing Johnny Carson and stealing it from Letterman, who was patiently waiting for it, because he is an honorable man. Jay forced NBC’s hand, and got the job, and didn’t thank Johnny Carson on his first show. Also, the Tonight Show is not the Jay Leno show, it was time for a new, younger host to take over, otherwise Conan would have left 6 years ago to do his own show and Leno would eventually lose as Leno’s older audience died off, or Leno himself. Plus, you can’t equate Leno’s run with Conan’s. What’s Leno going to say “I only had the show for 17 years!” Conan had it for 7 months. He’s roughly 29 times more screwed than Leno. So if people are going to use Leno being screwed first to justify O’Brien’s outing, you have to then go back to Carson and Letterman’s outing.

“Conan is a hypocrite for bumping Lopez back an hour just like Jay did to him!”

There are a number of differences. First, Conan did not want to move the Tonight Show back, because of the Tonight Show franchise. The Tonight Show has held the 11:30 time slot for over 30 years, O’Brien did not want to be a part of the destruction of the franchise by it being moved back for another comedy program, or move back Jimmy Fallon or Carson Daly. Leno jumped on the opportunity. Also, O’Brien was originally against the TBS deal, until George Lopez gave his blessing. Also, George Lopez had a show for 1 year. O’Brien had a late night show for 17 years, there is no comparison in what Leno did to what Conan did, especially considering how Leno handled it compared to Conan. Conan cares about the people involved, Leno only cares about getting his spot, no matter who or what it would have hurt.

“All Conan had to do was move back a half hour and everything would be fine!”

As I mentioned before, this wasn’t an ego thing, it was to preserve the integrity of the Tonight Show. Conan worked after Leno for 17 years, 5 of which he did to get the Tonight Show that was promised to him. But to move the “tonight” show into “tomorrow” is unacceptable. And this isn’t just a Conan thing, the king of late night, Johnny Carson, had attempted to block moving the show from 11:30 to 11:35. 5 minutes. It only got moved once it was his last year, as he had lost a lot of power within NBC. Want some more perspective? Former Tonight Show host Jack Paar once left the tonight show too, in the middle of a live show. Why? Because he made a joke about a “water closet” that got censored. A water closet is a bathroom essentially, in 1960’s lingo. He later returned around a month later.

So Conan left, after being disrespected, lied to , and with the threat of moving back the Tonight show 6 times further than Carson wanted, then being censored for months from talking bad about NBC. Conan just basically got the all in one package of Tonight Show screw jobs, 10 times over. It would have been tremendous disrespect to those former legends and to the franchise of the Tonight Show if he had stayed.

There’s one more argument that’s been coming up, and I don’t know why. People saying Conan is ugly. First of all, you’re using that as a reason to prefer Jay Big Chin Leno?

Also, calling him a spoiled brat, whiner etc. and it’s just plain rude. Conan O’Brien is one of the nicest guys in all of entertainment, one of the nicest guys in general. During this whole debacle, he had an army of pissed off viewers ready to go to war, and he told them not to be cynical, that he was fine, and to be kind. He basically preached peace and love to his followers and disarmed them, taking an amazing high road. O’Brien left the Tonight Show to preserve its integrity, which Leno apparently cares nothing about, as he accepted the deal to push back the Tonight Show, without even contacting O’Brien. Conan lost his dream, his love, and there are some who kick him while he is down. It truly saddens me that some people have so little compassion and so much uncalled for hate and rudeness. I’ve said this a hundred times, I don’t care if people genuinely don’t like him for his comedy, but these people are attacking him personally, and I just don’t understand that.

So, those are the factual counterpoints to these arguments, I realize some people making them truly have no idea of the situation and are just stating what they think with the knowledge they have, but ignorance is no excuse for misplaced anger or trash talk. Enjoy being informed.


~ by Adam Hughes on May 5, 2010.

18 Responses to “Anti-Conan arguments debunked”

  1. Bravo! I will keep this link handy to send to people I’m too lazy to type an argument for.

  2. This is great! Thank you.

  3. Great post!

    I think the only one you forgot is the latest “Conan’s a hypocrite!” argument because he “Lenoed Lopez,” who was the one that talked Conan into taking his timeslot and being his lead-in in the first place (which was a brilliant move on his part), because Conan originally refused thinking TBS was trying to do to George what NBC and Leno did to him.

    I’ve never been a huge Lopez fan, but that earned major points from me. Conan and George took the high road, where Leno and NBC cannot. Loco Coco all the way!

  4. This is true. THANK YOU for proving that Coco was exactly the opposite of all the pro-Leno/anti-Conan comments.

    I’m gonna use this link because it speaks the truth. Thanks Adam!

  5. Great article! Definitively a must read to all the uninformed.

  6. That was amazing! I will be referring to this… I’m tired of typing the same thing! Great Job Conan would be proud!

  7. Thank you ever so much for this! You hit the nail right on the head. Multiple times.

  8. thank you for this; this is wonderful. team coco for life!

  9. That was great! But can you make just one ‘lil edit? People are linking to this for arguing against Leno, and it should be as powerful as possible.

    Can you add this pic near the top? Someone posted this pic to I’m With Coco a long time ago. I think it says more than words can (and not all Leno fans like to read a lot, har har):

    Just look at them. Maybe it’s true that Conan didn’t get screwed. But these people SURE DID. >:-( This is the ultimate “End of argument, STFU” response, because you’d have to be heartless not to care.

  10. Thank you for posting this.

    I don’t get why the casual viewer assumes that monetary compensation will appease anything. It goes to show how naive/selfish (Americans) are today. “Take the money and run” so to speak. How about taking something personal that affects you professionally and emotionally because you were invested in something you cared about for several decades of your adult life? It was the f*cking Tonight Show with Conan Obrien! Why would he be O.K. with millions of dollars when he wanted the show? If he wanted the money, he would have left NBC 5 years ago when other networks were offering lots of $ to leave NBC.

  11. Brilliant! I had wished I had the writing skills to write this myself. I’m glad that you took the time to do it and do it well.

  12. Thank you for writing this, I agree 100%!

  13. Thanks so much for posting this! There is a tiny tidbit I would like to add to your argument, however. Concerning the timeslot change, when Johnny Carson was told that the Tonight Show would be pushed back from 11:30 to 11:35 to give local affiliates the extra 5 minutes, Carson was just as upset about it as Conan.

    Also, for “whining”, Jack Paar actually left during the monologue of a taping of his ‘Tonight Show’, because NBC had censored a ‘Water Closet’ joke the previous night and not told him. He left and people gave NBC flack. NBC begged Paar to come back, and he eventually did.

    • Also, I just remembered, in the “Conan didn’t get the viewers. Leno had 5 million and Conan has 2 million” argument, Carson’s total viewers averaged 10 million and when Leno took over, he only averaged 5 million. It is also due to the saturation of late-night talk shows – too many options.

    • Thank you for the info, added it in there

  14. GREAT post! I’m going to save this link and send it whenever I see any Conan hate. 🙂

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