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Archive for April, 2010

I will start this review by disclosing my bias:  I love Conan O’Brien.  I spent a lot of money on tickets to this show and I was expecting a lot.  A part of me was skeptical that anything that I saw would be enough to live up to the the expectations I had.

That being said:

This show freaking rocks.

I normally love Conan, his show is funny and pleasant, but rarely does it blow my mind or make me laugh uncontrollably.  This show managed not only to make me laugh out loud, it managed to do it for nearly two straight hours. The format is similar to his late night shows, the Andy Richter and the band are there, there are short video clips and musical numbers.  There are no celebrity interviews, so in a way its like Conan’s late night shows with only the most entertaining pieces.  Here are a few of the funniest and most memorable bits:

The show began with a video clip of Conan that begins with the text “One month ago…” The clip shows a hobo-esque Conan, complete with beard extensions and fat suit desperatley answering his phone looking for work only to realize its a wrong number.  In my opinion the clip is one of the best gags in the show, there is something funny watching him wallow ridiculously to the song “All by myself.”  The slobby, wino Conan finally gets a call asking him to do the live show, to which he immediately agrees.   He is asked if he is in shape, and he looks at the camera and says “yes I am.”  The training montage that follows is very funny and is made perfect by the moment when Conan rips off the fat suit he was wearing, breaking the fourth wall in a clever, winking way.

Conan emerged on stage looking a bit more casual than on “The Tonight Show” as he grew a beard and was not wearing a tie.  The more laid-back look matched his performance, which was a lot more of the let-loose Conan we all loved on Late Night.  Conan also seems liberated by not having to stay on mark for the cameras, using the full stage for his awkward/awesome classic moves like the string dance.

Lots of other old favorites are back, under new names that the audience is supposed to see through, like the “masturbating bear” becoming the “self-pleasuring panda” and the “Walker Texas Ranger lever” is now the “Chuck Norris rural policeman handle.”  Jack McBrayer, of the NBC show 30 Rock, drops bye to pull the new “handle.”  Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, drops by in a very clever segment that makes jokes about Eugene being a place to go to get “meth lab supplies.”

Other Eugene institutions were not spared the criticism, both Dicky Jo’s and Burrito Boy were lampooned.  In a new bit developed just for the road, local commercials, Burrito  Boy was described as having “prices even the homeless can afford.”  The show was scattered with references to Eugene, which the audience predictably loved.

Conan again demonstrates his musical chops in the numerous songs that are played, including “I will Survive” and “On the Road Again.”

Overall, the show watched like it was two hours of the best material from a few months all crammed into one high paced and energetic performance.  The best of the old jokes are back, but in new and fresh ways, and there was a lot of new material to surprise even the die-hard fans.  The show is more fun live and Conan and team spent timeout in the audience during the musical numbers, making the show much more intimate and exciting.

Conan opened the show by saying “I’m not supposed to admit this ladies and gentleman, but I really missed  the applause.”  We  all missed Conan too, and having seen this show I’m excited about the material he’s going to bring to TBS this fall.

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Some of the best friends I’ve ever had I met while I was on study abroad.  The weird thing though is this: while I was living in Norway I didn’t really make good friends with any Norwegians, all my friends were other international students.  It was awesome to get to know so many cool people from all over the world, but a part of me still wishes that I’d gotten to be friends with more Norwegians.

One of my Norwegian professors explained it to our class, of mostly international students, that the problem was that most of the Norwegian students already had groups of friends, and its really hard for an international student to break into well-established social cliques.

This always seemed a very good explanation to me because when I thought about it I realized that even though I met tons of international students at my university at home I wasn’t good friends with any of them.  I’ve tried to make it a point ever since to make friends with international students because I know how hard it is to make friends with natives.  While I think everyone should be friendly to foreign people because it is a nice thing to do, there are other reasons to motivate those of you who are more selfish:  if you make friends with exchange students they will sometimes invite you to visit them in their home countries.  This is a wicked awesome way to travel, you can save money by staying with them, your friend will tell you where to go and what to see and sometimes even help you find it.

Oh, and it is also really fun to be friends with international students.  My little sister Anna and I took a friend of mine from Japan on a day trip along the Mckenzie River over spring break.  We visited Sahalie Falls, Clear Lake and then went canoeing at Leaburg Reservoir.  We had a lot of fun and it was a great trip.  As much fun as it was to organize a trip so a friend could see some neat stuff it was nice for me too, I was motivated to get out and enjoy my state in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise.

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