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kottke.org posts about Conan O’Brien

Hollywood career advice from Alec Baldwin

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 14, 2011

Apologies in advance for the Charlie Sheen mention, but Alec Baldwin’s advice to Sheen (and, belatedly, Conan) is golden.

Conan has moved on and his great talent is undiminished by his difficult experiences. I had wanted to say to him back then what I will now offer to Charlie. You can’t win. Really. You can’t. When executives at studios and networks move up to the highest ranks, they are given a book. The book is called How to Handle Actors. And one principle held dear in that book is that no actor is greater than the show itself when the show is a hit. And, in that regard, they are often right. Add to that the fact that the actor who is torturing their diseased egos is a drug addled, porn star-squiring, near Joycean Internet ranter, and they really want you to go.

Reminds me of Frank Sinatra’s letter to George Michael.

Come on George, Loosen up. Swing, man, Dust off those gossamer wings and fly yourself to the moon of your choice and be grateful to carry the baggage we’ve all had to carry since those lean nights of sleeping on buses and helping the driver unload the instruments.

(via stellar)

We Work Remotely

How Conan’s Tonight Show ended

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 22, 2010

Todd Levin wrote for Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show; here’s Levin in GQ describing the job and those final few weeks of the “I’m with Coco” business.

So it wasn’t until my third day of work that I finally decided to slip past Conan — hunched over his desk, busily doodling on that day’s script — and join the other writers behind the couch. As I settled into my spot among three veteran writers and prayed for invisibility, Conan glanced over, sized us up, and mock sneered, “Look at you four, standing there. You’re like a Mount Rushmore of incompetence.” Then he chuckled and returned to his cartooning. It was a quality put-down, and I was honestly overjoyed to be included in it.

Conan O’Brien’s statement regarding The Tonight Show

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 12, 2010

Pay attention, here’s how you write a statement.

1. Address it to “People of Earth”.
2. Write it like a person wrote it, not like a robot wrote it.
3. Oh, just go read it.

I think companies should hire comedy writers to write their press releases. Why not, right? They already produce our most trusted news sources.