Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Late Night with Conan O'Brien

After some brief gawking at the 30 Rock building and mild hallucinating, in which Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy roamed the halls, I picked up my guest pass and scanned-in via barcode to the elevators. The 6th floor houses the entire Conan O'Brien production; Makeup rooms, green rooms, control rooms, and studio. The crew is a well oiled machine, and had the the band's gear perfectly pieced together and mic'd on a rolling platform in minutes. Every single stagehand there is a full fledged, middle aged new yoaka'.

The green room was nicely furnished with a large leather couch, homey textured wallpaper, coffee, sandwich platters, and most importantly, the band's self-installed N64 with Goldeneye. Mat and Wes tag teamed facility on 00 Agent with great success just after sound check... so thats all taken care of. In the interim between load in and sound check, Becca, Milo and I went to a music store nearby to buy some miscellaneous stuff for the tour and ran into the drummer for Vampire Weekend who was looking at a new drum set. Pretty cool.

It was entirely surreal watching the TV monitors during sound check in the live audience seating, and seeing people that you know in the "Conan" environment. Its also weird to see the studio with your own two eyes; The geography you've interpreted all these years from watching the show feels quite different in person. I met briefly with the sound mixer to hear what it was that would go to broadcast, gave a few thoughts and suggestions, told him how to do his job (just kidding), etc.

Come time to shoot the show at 5:30, we were all quite nervous. Even me, and I wasn't even doing anything. Family, friends, publicists, manager, and band mates watching the show in the green room, we all found ourselves laughing at every one of Conan's jokes... which, let's be frank, really aren't that funny. Finally, Gabe (drummer) utters through his teeth after one of these forced swells of laughter "Hahaha ha ha... its so much funnier because I'm terrified...!" That actually earned a bigger laugh than anything Conan said. Although I did enjoy the guest zoologist's baby tiger accident on Conan's tie during the interview.

Alas, they performed "Ghost Under Rocks" with great intensity and charm. Embedded on the page are pictures, the performance, and some video work I captured throughout the day. Enjoy.


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