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HTF REVIEW: Late Night With Conan O’Brien: 10th Anniversary Special

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#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted July 29 2004 - 08:38 AM

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Late Night With Conan O’Brien: 10th Anniversary Special






Studio: Lions Gate
Year: 2004
Rated: NR
Film Length: 63 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Standard (4:3)
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Subtitles: Spanish
Retail Price: $19.95



Back in 1993 when David Letterman left NBC for CBS a somewhat unknown comic named Conan O’Brien took over the 12:30 late show slot. At the time no one figured this guy would last long but ten years later the host, who often pokes fun at himself for not being as big as Leno or Letterman, finds himself amongst a huge fan base. On August 10, 2004 Lions Gate will deliver his 10th Anniversary Special, which was his first time hosting during primetime. Running just over an hour this is a greatest hits package that features many familiar faces as well as some beloved characters.

The opening prologue features Conan running around New York City advertising his 10th Anniversary and we even get a cameo from former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth. During the opening monologue Conan throws a special thanks out to those who love him and then we head straight for the clips from various shows from the past ten years. Up first is an interview with David Letterman, which is quite funny and again shows Conan poking fun at himself. Other interview clips include Jackie Chan, Steve Irwin and Martha Stewart before she became the current soon-to-be jailbird. This segment ends with Will Ferrell breaking out a Leprechaun outfit and giving a special dance for the host.

The next segment deals will all the icons Conan has interviewed throughout the years. Surprise guests include Mr. T showing up to pay his respects but the highlights are once again in a group of funny clips including the “Christmas Feeling” show with Tom Hanks, William Shatner forgetting who he played on Star Trek, Harrison Ford and his mean look and best of all more fun poking at John Tesh. The next segment has rocker/comedian Jack Black showing up to sing a tribute to the host, which is rocking and pretty funny as well. Of course, with a large crowd, members can sometimes get out of hand and that person here just happens to be Ben Stiller.

Another staple of Conan’s show is when he goes on location and we get several clips including a visit to Ireland as well as Conan’s trip to a spa where he gets a makeover. After a funny spoof of Marlon Brando’s weight we get a special tribute to Andy Richter, which is the highlight of the night. The show certainly fell somewhat after Andy left but we get some wonderfully funny moments here including a scene where Andy gets tricked into taking his cloths off and ends up in front of Matt Lauer. Another funny segment is a brief clip of Jim Carrey starring in “The Conan O’Brien” story. Finally, we get to see the characters, which have made the show what it is. We get brief introductions to Pimpbot 5000, Vomiting Kermit, Coked Up Werewolf, Masturbating Bear and the infamous Triumph The Insult Comic Dog. Triumph gets his own clips featuring the Westminster Dog Show and the Star Wars fans.

Conan O’Brien: 10th Anniversary Special is a good compilation but I’ve always felt these “best of” shows are weaker than actual episodes because all the clips aren’t in the moment that they happened and worse of all is that some of them are clipped of better jokes or longer running jokes that we don’t get here. There’s always debate about which clips are used but overall we get a good selection here and we can never have too much Triumph. If you’re a fan of Conan then I’m sure you’ll want to add this to your collection considering the low retail price.


VIDEO---The special is shown in its Standard (4:3) ratio, although a few clips are shown widescreen (1.85:1) but aren’t enhanced for 16x9 TVs. Like the Best of Triumph disc this one here really looks no better or worse than it would appears on television. If you originally watched this on basic cable then you’ll probably notice a different but the rest of you won’t notice any better picture quality. The quality itself is very nice throughout, although the quality changes from clip to clip varying on their age. For the most part everything looks very smooth without any speckles, scratches or faded colors (except for Conan’s face, which is always a bit faded). The opening segment appears to have its contrast a tad bit high but I seem to recall this problem when the show first aired.

AUDIO---The Dolby Digital Stereo track is very nice and captures the show perfectly, although like the video, this here really isn’t any better or worse than what you got on the actual broadcast. The dialogue is very sharp and clear without any problems and when the band kicks in the track actually has a nice little pop to it.

EXTRAS---The special features are broken into three segments, which can be viewed one at a time or with a play all option. Up first is Comedy Shorts, which features the following bits: “Late Night TV Commercial” (0:45), “Alone” (0:30), “Stereoly pes on Dirt Bikes” (0:25), “Joel’s Oscar Night” (0:24), “Clive Clemmons Inappropriate Response Channel” (0:45), “Conan on the Jerry Lewis Telethon” (0:50), “Max Weinberg’s PSA” (0:12) and “Bob Dole Clutch Cargo” (0:55). As you can tell, all these clips are really short and taken out of the original shows these aren’t too funny. The Bob Dole sketch gets a few chuckles but I was pretty bored by the rest. The next section is Favorite Guest Moments, which contains edited interviews with Arnold Schwarsenegger (0:24), John Malkovich (0:13), Will Gerrell (0:48), Larry Brown (0:26), Courtney Thorne Smith (0:39) and LL Cool J (0:32). The final segment is Conan on Location and thankfully we get the full clips this time. “Famous Helping People” (10:25) is a spoof on US for Africa and is a very funny segment. “Conan in Ireland” (9:04) is a hilarious segment where Conan travels to Ireland in search of his family members but in reality he’s just there to cause trouble with stupid questions. A clip of this is shown in the 10th Anniversary Special but seeing it as a whole beings a lot more laughs. “Conan Visits L.A. Actresses” (9:45) features Conan trying to make a move on various actresses. The guests here include Jerry Ryan, Famke Janssen, Julianna Margulies and Gina Gershon. This is a wonderful compilation because it’s always fun seeing Conan making fun of himself by flirting with beautiful women. Dudez a Plenti (12:03) is a takeoff on Making the Band, which has a few laughs but not enough to get many repeat viewings. Finally we get a behind the scenes gallery with sixty-five photos of what went on during rehearsals. There are some very good shots of the various celebrities who appeared on the show but half of these clips are simple stills from the 10th Anniversary Special.

OVERALL---I’m sure die-hard Conan fans will want this in your collection but I can’t help but think this could have been a whole lot better. I’m sure many already have the special show recorded so it would be up to the extras for the DVD. Frankly, the extras are rather lazy due to various clips under thirty seconds being included. Why they didn’t just include the entire interviews is beyond me but the “Conan Visits L.A. Actresses” is almost worth the price. If the extras sound good to you then I’d recommend the disc but if they sound lousy and you already own the special then just save the $15 and buy the Triumph disc.

Release Date: August 10th, 2004

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted July 29 2004 - 10:58 AM

My favorite Conan bit is whenever he's making a fool of himself with women, in particular Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. I don't think I've seen the "Conan Visits L.A. Actresses" bit...

I have the 10th Anniversary show recorded, but on VHS, so this is a definite buy along with the Triumph release. Thanks for a thorough review!
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#3 of 9 OFFLINE   David Galindo

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Posted July 29 2004 - 02:28 PM

I was on the edge on this, but I think Ill pass. I am picking up the Triumph disc, though. Thanks for the review!

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   PeterTHX

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Posted July 29 2004 - 05:15 PM

Nice review, but is your spell checker on the fritz? Posted Image

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Michael Pakula

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Posted August 02 2004 - 08:54 AM

I will be picking this up along with Triumph when it comes out. I wish though they would release Late Night With Conan O Brien year by year on dvd. It would be great to have all the shows of conan on DVD but I doubt they would release entire seasons. It would probally be to costly and their might not be a big market for it so that's why were only getting these Best Of's and Anniversary Shows.


-Mike

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Christian Preischl

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Posted August 14 2004 - 10:19 AM

Does anybody have any idea why the hell they cut out all the guitar solos in the "Inappropriate Response Channel" clip (in the extras section)? Don't tell me it's music rights.

Chris

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Scott L

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Posted August 14 2004 - 07:08 PM

Hmm not sure why. You can buy the 5th Anniversary episode (in crummy VHS) from NBC's site. It has the full skit on there, complete with Clyde Clemmens crazy guitar solos.

I saw both the rehearsal and final show live, I'll have to pause and make some screengrabs to get me and my friend Beth. Posted Image

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Kevin M

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Posted August 15 2004 - 04:20 AM

Great review but one thing (just for the nerd in me):
Quote:
his 10th Anniversary Special, which was his first time hosting during primetime.
..as far as I remember (and I have it taped from it's original timeslot) Conan's 5th Anniversary show was also prime time five years earlier.

Wait...is 9pm CST still primetime or is it only between 7pm & 9pm?

Well anyway as was mentioned, I wouldn't mind having that on DVD either as it had some hilarious moments in it.
-Kevin M.

There's a human tendency to resent anyone who disagrees with our pleasures.  The less mature interpret that as a personal attack on themselves.
- Roger Ebert
 

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Beau

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Posted August 20 2004 - 11:53 AM

Does anyone know whether or not those bits when he visits celebrity women were fake, or did he really drop in on them unexpectedly? The last one was obviously fake, not sure about the thrid, but the first two seemed like he really just showed up without telling them, especially Famke Janssen. Hilarious stuff!