Lots of big news happened over the weekend, so you may have missed this on Friday night, when longtime Team Coco writer Brian Kiley performed on Late Show with David Letterman.
Just some good clean funny jokes about the wife, the kids and the parents. Looks like CBS cut this clip package for time. Roll it!
The first person we see on tonight's TBS special, Team Coco Presents The Conan Writers Live, is a writer of the online variety as Team Coco's blogger Aaron Bleyaert visits the dressing room of host Andy Richter.
The first person we see performing onstage is Reggie Watts, the musical talent and Team Coco's opening act on this spring's North American theater tour as suggested by Conan's TV writers. Watts provides the special's theme music and also delivers a rather straightforward -- well, in as much as anything Watts does can be construed as straightforward -- song about women who carry big ass purses.
And as Richter notes in his opening monologue, it's a wonder any of the writers are getting primetime TV exposure, joking: "The main reason you're getting to see them at all is because Conan cannot be on TV until the fall. And as I think everybody knows by now, Conan is very easily threatened and unbelievably insecure. So he has been keeping these guys down for years. But not tonight!"
As for the writers who we do get to see on TV, Brian Kiley kicks things off properly with a tight five-minute set of his well-crafted one-liners about parenting. After the first commercial break, Richter introduces Deon Cole by noting that Cole had performed so well as a stand-up on Conan's show that they hired him to join the writing staff full-time. Cole, a native of the Chicago suburbs, joked about curing a hangover with a hangover, what it's like to be the only black person in the writers' room, and closed with a routine about the things black and white people don't want to do in front of the other race.
Jimmy Pardo, the warm-up comedian for Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show audiences, gets a shout-out for his Never Not Funny podcast in Richter's introduction. And I'm going to avoid the trap Pardo set for bloggers, instead choosing to focus on his otherwise meta routine and his one-liner roast of Watts, who remained onstage throughout the taping: "What don't you have: Scissors or a mirror?"
Josh Comers got introduced with the selling point of still having "that new writer smell." Comers wondered why little girls would ever wear a T-shirt saying "You Wish" across the chest, what it's like when your landlord is a Holocaust survivor, and boasted that one joke makes him lose 10 Facebook friends every time he tells it. You'll know it when you hear it.
Andres du Bouchet closes out the special, and Richter introduced him as a veteran of the NYC comedy scene since 1996 and, for Conan's viewers, as the "Tiger Woods joke caddy." Du Bouchet came out in character with a smoking jacket and gave the audience a preview of the one-man musical about his life: "100 and Me Percent: The Andres du Bouchet Saga." And yes, he did include the number about 9/11.
For those of you keeping track, Matt O'Brien and Dan Cronin also performed sets at the tapings which did not make it to broadcast. Eric Andre also provided an energetic stand-up routine as the warm-up comedian.
Team Coco Presents The Conan Writers Live debuts at 10 p.m. Eastern tonight on TBS.
The Team Coco presents The Conan Writers Live was a big hit last night at Chicago's Bank of America Theater, but I can tell you that perhaps it was too much of a big hit.
The show, hosted by Andy Richter and featuring musical wonders from Reggie Watts, included stand-up sets from eight of the writers for Conan O'Brien's short-lived edition of The Tonight Show on NBC. But there's only room for six of them to perform on the 60-minute special, set to air on TBS at 10 p.m. Sunday, June 27. So who will make the cut? What if they all performed well during the taping? Couldn't TBS just extend the special to 90 minutes if it's all "very funny"? The special debuts late on a Sunday after the Ellen DeGeneres variety special, so it's not as if they're going to push anything major off the air to make do. A quick look at the schedule listings for June 27 shows that TBS plans to immediately repeat both Ellen and Coco, followed by a 1 a.m. rebroadcast of the movie, Vegas Vacation. I'm sure Chevy wouldn't mind getting bumped, right?
As for the show itself, it was more than a little heartwarming to see the audience immediately take to Watts even before the taping itself began. I had to scramble to find a seat because my seat in Row G had been (mild spoiler alert?) occupied by a young Conan doppelganger.
Host Andy Richter explained onstage that since Conan himself cannot be on the special -- due to the terms he negotiated upon his exit from NBC -- that meant his writers would get to have this time in the limelight. "Tonight they get to tell their dick jokes in their own voices!" Richter boasted.
Except now it looks like two of them might not get to be seen on TV. That's not fun. To add to the awkwardness, none of "The Conan Writers" actually have jobs with TBS yet. Yes. You read that right. TBS has signed Conan, but since he, Richter and some of his writers have been spending their entire spring on a North American theater tour, the budgeting for the new late-night show on TBS has not included hiring any of the writers. Of course, you'd suspect that anyone Conan brought along on his official "Team Coco" tour and branded on the TV as "The Conan Writers" would be reasonably assured of a full-time writing job in the fall. Just like you'd reasonably think they'd get their time on TV next weekend. Right? Right???
UPDATED: For those of you wondering, the eight sets did not include any of the sketch performers from Conan's various late-night TV shows, but did include Matt O'Brien, Jimmy Pardo, Josh Comers, Brian Kiley, Andres du Bouchet, Dan Cronin, Deon Cole and a Reggie Watts set.
Comedy Central had Brian Kiley guest blogging on its site the week before his half-hour stand-up special aired on the cable network that spring. It wasn't Kiley's idea. "They made us do it. There are certain things you fantasize about before you start your career...but there are other things that you're like, 'Oh, I hadn't thought of that.'"
The same goes for his animated appearance years ago on Dr. Katz, sort of. "The idea of being a cartoon had never occurred to me. It's just a weird thing having someone sending you a picture (of yourself)," he said. Did you like your cartoon self? "Nah, I was smaller. I wish in the cartoon, they could've made me more formidable. They could've at least made me a superhero. It is a cartoon."
As for the guest blogging? "Sometimes you get an assignment and can't think of anything you want to do...that was actually fun to do. I don't know if I'll do any more blogs."
Kiley hails from Newton, Mass., a place that's produced more than a few stand-ups. Why is that? "Louis CK is from Newton, and Fran Solomita, and Jon Fisch. Jon Katz has lived in Newton for a while now..I don't know...I can remember in the fourth grade, standing up on the radiator of our classroom and telling St. Patrick's Day jokes for my class. But I don't know what it is, if it's just, yeah, I don't know. It's a statistical anomaly or something."
Kiley writes for Late Night with Conan O'Brien. How does that affect your stand-up? "Before I got my job at Conan, I used to do a lot of topical stuff," he said. "But now that I give that to him, I don't do any of that in my act. I actually lost 25 minutes of material in my act...but I don't want any conflict of interest. Oooh, do I give that to Conan or keep it for myself? So my act is all about my personal stuff, and I give Conan all of the political stuff."
You've also gotten to perform stand-up on Conan. How does that work? "They let me do a set on the show maybe once a year." He also tries to do three live shows a week in New York City. "But the problem in New York, there's a tendency to do a lot of short sets in places. There's 12 comics on the bill and everyone is doing six minutes."
Still, Kiley feels like he has to keep fresh by getting onstage. "It gets scary if you haven't done it for a while. If you do it all the time, it's not scary...(if not)...but what, I have to go there? In front of those people? Are you crazy? I had a show one time where I had a friend of mine who was going to come to the show to watch. I asked Tony V if he could put him on the guest list, but Tony thought he meant the comic list, so he said 'Sure' and put him on the list! Tony came over and told me friend, 'OK, you're up next.' He was almost suddenly thrown into the spotlight."