Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
Here’s what happened when the unexpectedly interim host of NBC’s Tonight Show found himself unemployed (albeit with a multimillion-dollar severance) and wittily seething. Filmmaker Rodman Flender’s backstage chronicle of O’Brien’s subsequent musical-comedy revue, the Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television tour, doesn’t exactly dole out revelations, but what do you want from a vanity project? Somehow Flender, the director of Leprechaun 2 and lots of TV shows, seems like the right guy to have taken this particular showbiz snapshot. Processing his resentment through the usual cerebral sarcasm, O’Brien keeps people at a distance, possibly for their protection and his own. Within the perpetual motion of his manic ambition we glimpse the original Team Coco: the collaborators, family members and, in particular, one warmly wise assistant who’s always ready to call bullshit when the master compares himself to Mozart, Patton or Anne Frank. Plus: As one of those performers who’s apparently always “on,” even when it’s a nuisance to those around him, O’Brien helpfully has the distinctive virtue of genuine hilariousness.