Remember when Conan O’Brien did the Tonight Show for 13 seconds and everybody got up in arms about his dismissal? Remember joining Team Coco and proclaiming that the days of Jay Leno dominating the airwaves with lazy jokes that got stale 20 years ago were over?
Yeah, that worked out well. Leno stayed on for years and years, only handing off his show when HE felt it right. Also, his replacement is about as anti-Conan as you could get — Conan gets your attention with masturbating bears and trash-talking dog puppets. Jimmy Fallon, on the meanwhile, is content to make everybody happy via barbershop quartets and editing Brian Williams newscasts so it looks like he’s rapping. Clever stuff, but hardly the type to generate complaints from annoyingly pleasant people.
And now Conan’s on TBS, the channel you only watch if you’re really, really, really into Atlanta sports teams. Otherwise, you probably only flip to it when you accidentally press the wrong button on your remote, see a rerun of the Big Bang Theory, panic, and flip away to PBS immediately. Conan does as well as anybody on that channel can expect to, and has been rewarded with a four-year contract extension. But he’s still lagging behind, oh, everybody else. Team Coco simply is not interested in attending the club meetings, and if President Coco wants to make it to 2018 and beyond, he’s going to have to do something about that.
This is especially true since everything in the late-night comedy talk world is about to change. Fallon is a bigger hit than anyone thought possible, Stephen Colbert is primed to become the new Letterman, Larry Wilmore is about to become the new Colbert, and John Oliver is rapidly taking over HBO with his new smash success, The Daily Show with a Spot of Tea, Guvna.
Here now are a few ways Conan can expand his viewership past the paltry 860,000 he averages every night:
Become a Hot Redheaded Girl
That way he reatins his “goofy ginger” gimmick while appealing to a very key demographic: “guys who wish upon a star every night that Jessica Rabbit was real and that Tori Amos was 25 again.”
Train a Real-Live Bear to Masturbate
None if this intern-in-a-costume junk. A real, live, fapping bear. No way TBS would allow those clips on their website, lest the hashtag activists come after them, so you’d HAVE to watch on the tube.
Have His Guests Murdered
Not all of them, but a random guest every now and then. Don’t take popularity into account, because then people will see it coming. “Oh, he got Yahoo Serious somehow? Yeah, he’s gonna die. I’m shocked he isn’t dead already.”
Nope, just randomly kill off celebrities, and do so in creative ways too, like Kenny from South Park. No warnings, no hints, just death. In the Age of Instant Knowledge, nobody will want to be the last, or even the second, person to hear about Sarah Jessica Parker being eaten by a honey badger. They will be glued to the TV, just in case the unthinkable occurs.
And lest you fret that celebrities will simply refuse to appear on a show where they might die horribly, may I remind you of the old Hollywood adage, “any publicity is good publicity”? Would you rather be alive and forgettable, or dead and beloved? If you answered the former, have fun working at Burger King until you die alone and unmourned.
Being dead is simply best for business. Just ask Hendrix, Elvis, Tupac, Cobain, James Dean, Heath Ledger, and anybody else who died and became even more famous because of it. So no, celebrities won’t boycott the Conan O’Brien Gory Murder Power Hour. They’ll simply sign the liability waivers, update their will, and pray that the Cold Bony Finger of Death will poke them and propel them to eternal stardom.