Former "Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien had never been on tour before he began "the Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour." Never. After last night, the 2,000 or so bodies who made it out to McFarlin Auditorium on the campus of SMU must be wondering why.
What made the show what it was (we think), was, quite simply, honesty.
O'Brien and sidekick Andy Richter addressed the deal that resulted in the "legally prohibited" part of the tour's name frankly, and, as usual, hilariously--this deal, which kicked O'Brien off the airwaves for over six months and spawned the tour, served as a steady theme throughout the evening.
The "Walker, Texas Ranger lever," O'Brien insisted, had to be called the "Chuck Norris Rural Police Officer Handle," for legal reasons. He roasted several reality television stars--including Kim Kardashian, the "Ace of Cakes" and Snookie from "Jersey Shore"--vocally wondering all along, how they are on television and he is not. He closed with a cover of "I Will Survive," amended slightly to describe his very public break-up with NBC.
O'Brien and company also delivered a set of seemingly-spontaneous, locally-flavored jokes, poking fun at Texans' penchant for drinking, the size of the state, beauty of our women and the apparent manliness of our men. "Dallas, you're very serious about [your drinking]," O'Brien said. "True story, one of the people that works on our crew went out a few hours ago to a clothing store...to buy something we needed for the show. And in the store, the guy who owns the store handed him a beer--in a clothing store!"
"I know, you think that happens everywhere--it doesn't."
The night of "music, comedy, hugging, and the occasional awkward silence" also provided plenty of surprises. Dallas Mavericks' star Dirk Nowitizki got a turn at the "Chuck Norris Rural Police Officer Handle," eliciting a huge response from the crowd; the Masturbating Bear and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog made appearances as well, with Triumph, among other things, jabbing at the food at Snuffers.
O'Brien encored with an extended version of "Forty Nights," during which he sauntered into the crowd, dishing out high-fives and, as promised, hugs. From my seat in the balcony, I counted three unlucky (and perhaps impatient) souls leaving before "Co-Co" made his way back out on stage to bid Dallas adieu--afterward, the remaining hoi polloi seemed reluctant to leave, sending a clear message: If the TBS show, which will debut around November, doesn't work out, Conan O'Brien is always welcome in Dallas.