Since before that short lived Tonight Show stint nearly a decade ago, I have been a huge Conan O’Brien fan. He totally got a raw deal then, but let’s focus on happier things. Like his awesome show on TBS that is currently on hiatus as it undergoes a format change.
Because of that hiatus, Conan hit the road for the first time since that whole Tonight Show debacle. When he announced the tour on his last show of the original, typical late night format, I cheered out loud and immediately searched for tickets. Also, I was in ugly cry mode as he and his band played for the last time, as they will not be a part of the new show.
After landing some fourth row tickets, Dad and I headed to the Fillmore in Detroit. It was our first time there. The theater just underwent extensive renovations and was closed all summer.
The work was worth it. For a small, slightly unassuming venue, it has ornate details everywhere you look, including the chandeliers and paintings on the walls. It did not feel overly packed and there is a good flow to the crowd.
We took our seats and waited for the show to begin. Flula Borg opened the show. I wasn’t super familiar with him, but his presence throughout the show offered lots of laughs and some authentic, spontaneous moments.
Conan came out after that. This was a really great idea as it got the crowd immediately into the action since we didn’t have to wait for the headliner. Conan popped up throughout the show, but this was his main set.
He spent a lot of time talking about his welcome to Detroit where he was greeted with a sign that read “Onan and Friends” and then had a microphone that didn’t work well. He also requested a drink and was brought one.
He presented almost no jokes about politics, in fact, hot topics like that barely came up at all save for the final performer. It was nice to not have to face hot button issues and instead laugh about things like Conan’s lineage, family, and body issues.
As with any performer, you never quite know what you are going to get in an intimate live show, but Conan did not disappoint. He improvised with the crowd, sharing more than one drink with those in the front row, had a genuine nature and authenticity in everything he did and said. he was there to make us laugh, for everyone to have a good time, and that came through loud and clear.
Following Conan’s set was Marina Franklin. Again, I was not super familiar with her, but I enjoyed her laid back style of comedy. She told jokes almost like a story, and there is something to be said for that form of joke telling as well as the fact that each of the comedians had a different style.
I really resonated with her jokes about not being that political. She wanted to be a part of the women’s march, but she was worried about things like where she’d go to the bathroom. That’s a girl after my own heart. The nervous, I could but I could also stay home and be there in spirit vibe is one I know all to well. To make it funny is a gift.
Conan came back out to introduce each comedian, making it feel like he really believed in them and wanted the audience to stay interested each step of the way. He barely had to try with James Veitch. Not to sound like a broken record, but I didn’t really know him all that well, but now I would pay money to see him over and over again.
Relying on vignettes of emails, his set was genius. Even the security guard couldn’t keep it together. From building a pool that took up the entire lot, all based off an email that wasn’t meant for him to a response from a Craigslist ad turning into oh so much more, James is brilliant. If you ever have the chance to see him, do it!
Rory Scovel was the last comedian at the show. I didn’t know him … blah … blah … blah. I also wasn’t a huge fan to be honest. While I found some of his jokes funny, in general I thought his set had a mean, negative tone to it and included very harsh jokes.
Conan returned to the stage to take questions from the audience assisted by Flula. This is always a brave move and the crowd, nor Conan, nor Flula, really, disappointed. From the guy so drunk he could barely ask the question to the woman who suggested she had Conan’s child to the young woman who would not put her phone down, Conan made every moment hilarious.
This might have been my favorite part of the show, which is probably why Conan does it. Really, though the entire two hour show flew by and was one of the best nights of my life. I loved spending time with Dad, seeing the theater, and of course seeing Conan. I love Conan more than ever and I hope I have the chance to see him again in person in the future.
When I posted an Instagram story about the night, Conan reposted it into his. The hashtag says it all.