Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Space Classics: Conan O'Brien Visits San Francisco

More of the best of my old MySpace blog, which is still there in spirit. Enjoy!

From May 2007

Well, Conan's week in the Bay Area is over...and it was unforgettable.

It also shows that when he gets Leno's chair in a couple of years, he just may be able to fit in, or Burbank will have to change to fit him.
My only regret is that I didn't get to be in the Orpheum for an extra day. I'm glad I got into the Thursday taping, because seeing Conan in San Francisco saves me 1500 bucks and a lot of grief trying to get inside his studios in New York. The Orpheum has 2400 or so seats, while his home has maybe 400. You figure it out. I could have tried for Friday, but I was talking to some who were at the standby line at 8 AM. They lost out to people who came at 6:30. That, and the fact a lot of people wanted to see Snoop Dog.

That's me with one of the writers.
I came Thursday right off the Greyhound bus from Sacramento. While that may not be fancy, it saves money. Gas and parking costs are sky-high, and paying 28 bucks to get to SF would have paid for the parking alone. I was rather up close, in the second batch of fans. My only concern if whether I could get away long enough to toss my gym bag in my hotel room. These guys frown about coming into a TV taping with a camera or something. As the warmup guy, Brian McCann (Mr. Preparation H Raymond), said, too many lights could make Conan's face explode since he's an albino (not really). It didn't stop some people who took quick snapshots through their camera phones and really small cameras.

Still, if you saw the set, anyone would want to take a picture. It's not as big as it looks on TV, but it's an incredible mini-Golden Gate Bridge. When Conan came out, the place went NUTS. Even he was taken aback by the attention, at one point sitting down. I'd keep this episode on DVD...except there was a blackout back home, and I only got half of it. I'll mix it in with the ones I do have with Robin Williams and Snoop Dogg, so it will be OK...and I also have the ticket. My photos are here, if you'd like to see what it was like. I didn't get Conan's autograph, but I got his face.
Getting back to the taping they organized people into two lines, blue and yellow. I don't know if that's how they do it in New York, but it worked well. As they opened the doors, it got interesting. We get in, then get blocked in the lobby for ten minutes. Then, it was one big stampede. but no one got hurt. I was able to let the crowd guide me to good seats in the center of the 10th row. It was much closer than if I went to Leno.

The pre-show was great with Max Weinberg and his band, especially Mark Pender. Never mind his weird songs...he's got a very rare skill of keeping a note going for a very long time by circular breathing. The crowd really loved that. You may know La Bamba sang the national anthem just before the Warriors beat Dallas the other night. He wasn't.....well....impressive, but I wonder what Pender would have done if he got the chance. Still, it was an excuse to get Baron Davis and Jason Richardson on the show. You also haven't lived if you haven't seen a band play on top of a miniature prison (Alcatraz, of course). Again, that brought out the camera phones. Couldn't they have allowed flash photos after the show was over? Oh well....

My only concern if whether my sign, which said "Making a bigger splash than a Barry Bonds Home Run" would make the TV. It did, but the letters were too small to read, and you really can't see me, either. I was the one with the white sign. That's the only way you could see it. As the week went on, the signs got bigger
Compare that to the next day, when I knew I had no chance at getting a standby ticket. The lines for both the ticketed and the stand-by crowd were longer, and it was really interesting.

As you see, there were a few who had a sign that should get them in, and and it did. Many others didn't, but at least they tried. If I lived there, I would have tried for Tuesday, because no one who got tickets to Wednesday would give them up for Robin Williams. I wouldn't.
I've been to plenty of TV talk show tapings. It's mainly waiting and hoping, and enjoying the show. I saw this experience as just like that, like waiting for Leno or Kimmel. Sure, I wished I had a ticket to any of the other tapings that week, but I got a chance to see something special....and I saved 1500 bucks and a lot of grief.

Now if only David Letterman had an incredible urge to visit Sacramento

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