Team Coco is a Go-Go

1767182-1296769605_sm_1400790195_sm_14007901951
The Spectrum

Channel: TBS

Grade: A-

Conan O'Brien has had a busy year. Between emceeing Bonnarxoo, recording a live album with Jack White, and growing that monstrous beard, it was easy for some people to forget that Conan, at heart, is a talk show host.

After a 10-month absence from television, Conan has returned with his all-new self-titled talk show Conan.

In June 2009, O'Brien replaced Jay Leno on NBC's Tonight Show, as Leno moved into the primetime slot. Due to poor ratings for both Conan and Leno in their new timeslots, NBC prepared to move Leno back to 11:35 p.m. and push Conan back to 12:05 a.m.

Conan took this as somewhat of an insult and rejected the proposal, which ultimately led to his firing. Conan had some choice words for his former bosses, noting that they have had difficulty finding successful programs in recent years.

"It's not easy doing a late-night show on a channel without a lot of money that viewers have trouble finding – so that's why I left NBC," Conan joked.

The show opened with a segment parodying Conan's downfall over at NBC. In the scene, Conan pokes fun at both himself and his situation.

"You want me to move ‘The Tonight Show' to 12:05? Forget it, I'm not doing it. What can they do to me?" Conan said.

Using a scene right out of The Godfather, Conan pulls up to work only to be gunned down by NBC goons. There isn't a much better metaphor for what happened than hit men showing up where he worked and firing shots at him with no sympathy.

The first half of the show mainly made jokes and puns about his firing, while the second half of the show was just plain old Conan.

The first-ever guest of the show was Arlene Wagner, founder of the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum. While she did not occupy the stage for too long, the music playing in the background was priceless.

Guest Seth Rogen (Knocked Up) was in attendance to crack a couple witty jokes and tickle the crowd's funny bone.

"I'm so glad that everybody more famous was busy right now," Rogen joked.

Rogen talked about his upcoming movie, Green Hornet, which is a major change of pace for him. Going from comedic genius to action movie stud is no easy transition, but fanboys worldwide are excited for Rogen's new venture.

On top of plugging his new movie, he informed all of America of his less than flattering way of proposing to his new fiancée. Apparently, Rogen thought it was T.M.I. Friday.

Lea Michele from Glee also stopped by Conan's first show to answer some questions about her new photo shoot. The provocative photos in GQ have caused an uproar among the parents of her underage fans.

Although the guest of the evening was the talented Jack White, it came as no surprise that Conan came out to shred alongside White, since the guitar god let Conan use his venue to record his live album and played alongside him on the record.

The two performed Eddie Cochran's "Twenty Flight Rock." What was surprising about the performance was how amazing Conan's voice was. He sounded as if he had been a star when rockabilly was big back in the 1950s.

Many have wondered if Conan will bring back characters created over at NBC, such as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog or the Masturbating Bear. Conan joked that they are still being reused over at NBC but his fans need not worry.

In his final week at NBC, Conan's ratings for the "Tonight Show" were through the roof. Obviously, Conan has an audience that was in attendance for his departure.

TBS hopes that this audience will stay loyal to its master, as Conan moves to the new network at 11 p.m. (90 minutes earlier than Leno and Letterman). Hopefully, TBS can attract a fresher, younger audience of Conan followers with this new timeslot.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com