Tonight marks Conan O'Brien's triumphant return to television after he was ousted by NBC as host of The Tonight Show. I'm excited for the new start, but also can't help but hope that some of Conan's deeply weird (and therefore beloved) bits will come back with the new show.
"Bad Fruit Theatre"
After he'd hosted Late Night for nearly a year, few people really knew what to make of Conan O'Brien – perhaps because he kept coming up with absurd segments like "Bad Fruit Theatre," a skit where bad fruit was used to reenact scenes from famous movies like Apocalypse Now. This segment was written and directed by comedian Louis C.K. while he was a staff writer at Late Night and also features the voice talent of comedian Marc Maron in Dennis Hopper's role. Extra points for having the guts to do this on the night that Francis Ford Coppola was a guest on the show.
On Location Conan
This was always something fans of Late Night loved, and it carried over to The Tonight Show. On-location Conan was great for many reasons, mainly for Conan's ability to avoid making fun of his weird interview subjects. After all, Conan calling anyone weird would be a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. On his last Late Night show, Conan played this clip and said it was his all-time favorite moment.
Sure, he was released back into the wild (a.k.a. Central Park) on the last episode of Late Night, but there's nothing better than seeing Abe Vigoda on TV. And in case you were wondering, yes, Abe Vigoda is still alive.
Sure it was cheap-looking and someone always got run over, but was there anything funnier than Conan taking his desk out on the town? When Andy left the show in '98, Conan continued the skit by taking out an audience member. Now that Andy Richter is back, the desk skit is ready to go again.
Pierre Bernard's Recliner of Rage
Pierre Bernard was a graphic designer on Late Night when he first appeared in his own bit on the show, sitting in a recliner as he related a story that made him angry. There wasn't much to this joke other than that this soft-spoken man was upset by some trivial matter and given a soapbox to talk to millions of people about it, be it comics or Stargate SG-1. If anything, this needs to come back so the band can play that awesome theme song.