Pistols at Dawn: Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno and The Tonight Show Debacle.

Ali vs. Frazier, Coca-Cola® vs. Pepsi®, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Boston Celtics vs. LA Lakers, Freddy vs. Jason, The Union vs. The Confederates, Real World vs. Road Rules, Tyson vs. Holyfield, Star Wars vs. Star Trek, Bush vs. Gore, L.C. vs. Heidi, Tupac vs. Biggie, I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter!® vs. butter …..

Somehow, I don’t think this week’s highly publicized feud between Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien (or COCO, as the cool kids are calling him) will stand the test of time as other duels have before, however, that didn’t keep the media from beating us over the skull with it. Repeatedly. Constantly. Over and Over. You get the point. Ouch! Sadly, as The Huffington Post is reporting, the clash of the late night Titans is about to come to an end. Finally, we can all get some rest. What a relief.

There will be no pistols at dawn. No knives at noon. No Celebrity Deathmatch. Apparently, O’Brien will be leaving NBC with a lump sum of money and no noncompete clause. Jay Leno will retain his duties as the host of The Tonight Show, and it will be like these past 7 months never existed. Like something from a J.J. Abrams production. Or a night of too many shots of Jameson®.

While many Conan O’Brien fans, as well as celebrities (Jimmy Kimmel, Rosie O’Donnell), have been up in arms this past week, creating campaign slogans, Facebook rallies (“I’m with COCO”) and tabloid headlines, few of them have considered the possibility that this may be a blessing in disguise for the red-haired dynamo.

Conan O'Brien

Me Too!

Personally, I don’t really watch Jay Leno or Conan O’Brien, but if asked whose type of humor I found more appealing, I would say O’Brien. After all, he wrote for SNL the years SNL was funny. He wrote for The Simpsons during the years The Simpsons was funny. I know, It’s hard to remember how hilarious The Simpsons used to be. But they were. Remember the one where Homer stops going to church? Or Mr. Plow? Anyways, he has the non-sequitur humor that made Family Guy a runaway success in recent years mixed with the timeless format of Johnny Carson. But, Family Guy, at first, was unable to survive on network television. It took a revival from The Cartoon Network® and DVD sales to make its way back to FOX. Personally, I think Conan O’Brien could follow that exact model.

Conan O’Brien would be perfect for Comedy Central® or HBO®. Characters like The Masturbating Bear, Robot on a Toilet, Bulletproof Legs Guy, Triumph the Insult Comic and many others would have free rein, with almost no censorship or corporate sponsorship to bow down to. Leave Leno and NBC for the Baby Boomers. Generation X is making its rise, and as the late night representative of the movement, there is no better place for O’Brien than cable, the home of The Daily Show, The Osbournes, The Tom Green Show, Entourage, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, South Park and other Gen X entertainment staples. Look what cable did for Dave Chappelle and his show. When one door closes, another one opens. When life gives you lemons, make lemon gravy, and so on and so forth.

I think this is a chance for Conan O’Brien to really shine and even surpass his hero, Johnny Carson. Turn that frown upside down, Generation Xers, your time is on the horizon. Or, you could watch George Lopez? Eeeehhhh …….



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