Monday, March 10, 2003

Conan O'Brien: Breaker of Hearts

I returned to New York this weekend and I'm very glad I did. Truth be told, I was feeling sad about missing out on things that were going on up there in recent days (most likely due in part to my lack of employment and recent, traumatizing loss of cable television). I just needed a quick NY fix, and I am satiated.

Jeffrey and I had business to attend to there in the way of shopping in SoHo, eating falafel in the Village, and meeting friends for Afghan food on 26th Street. But our primary reason for being there was an event sponsored by the New York Times Arts and Leisure Weekend in which Conan O'Brien was to be the speaker.

There are very few such people in the world whom I would race up to New York to see at such an event without a moment's hesitation. Messrs. Conan and Bono are two of those, and seeing as Bono's appearance this weekend was canceled due to a medical emergency involving nasty back surgery (it's always something with those rock stars), I was more than happy to see Conan be interviewed about, well, being Conan, as it turns out. Which isn't as heinous as it sounds. Conan's a really smart, nice, geeky guy who wound up in an extraordinary position through a great deal of dumb luck, and had a seriously tough time holding on to that position ten years ago when he took over from David Letterman as the host of Late Night. But he's a very well-spoken and insightful person and it makes me glad to see that such a nice, intelligent guy is capable of his kind of success. I guess I'm a bit partial to bookish redheaded misfits with twisted senses of humor.

The only tragedy of the night occurred after the conversation when Conan stuck around to sign as many programs as possible before his handlers made him go home. He stopped at the girl right in front of me, leaving me standing in vain with a program thrust sadly in the air imploring the handlers not to go away. Jeffrey will attest that it was somewhat pathetic. But if that's the most rotten thing to happen to me all weekend, I suppose I'm in pretty good shape.