Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
Directed by: Rodman Flender
Cast: Conan O’Brien, Andy Richter, Sona Movsesian, Stephen Colbert
Running Time: 1 hr 29 mins
Release Date: June 24, 2011 (limited)
PLOT: After NBC fires talk-show host Conan O’Brien, he sets off on a cross-country comedy tour, warts and all.
WHO’S IT FOR? I don’t watch his TBS show, but I have found the man funny. It will be near impossible for someone who worships Jay Leno to give this movie a chance. More importantly, do you think we could find someone who worships Leno?
Can’t stop. Nope. He can’t. Not only does this documentary showcase that, it really dives into the concept of a performance. Conan O’Brien bares some scars and is a prime example of how much energy it takes to put on a show, and how hard it is to turn off. Heck, even the few moments it shows O’Brien with his children, the man is performing.
Flender and O’Brien should be given credit here. This isn’t a fluff piece showing how wrong NBC was in their decision to let Conan go, and it’s not simply a showcase to prove how funny Conan can be. Flender has come a long way. After all, this is a man who directed Leprechaun 2 and episodes of “Arli$$.”
This documentary chronicles the time after Conan O’Brien is pulled off the air at NBC and the comedy road trip that transpired across America. The access we’re granted puts us right there when O’Brien and his staff announce the tour, attempt to sell tickets, and then figure out what they’re going to do on stage.
O’Brien is very open that he’s working through his anger, but he’s doing it as the funny man that he is. That means he’s recreating an Eddie Murphy Raw purple suit. That means he’s hiring backup dancers. That also means he’s sometimes (OK, almost all the time) cutting down his assistant (Sona Movsesian). She’s just trying to please him, and we’re lucky enough to be there as he makes it very tough for her. While that was consistently enjoyable, what had me crying with joy was when Jack McBrayer from “30 Rock” shows up and is teased/plays along with O’Brien’s antics.
As for some complaints, I could have used more Andy Richter. Clearly O’Brien likes to have him along for the ride, but we don’t get many moments of them together. Also, the audio quality wasn’t great. I really don’t think it was the theater I was in. The loudness typically came with a high pitch.
This documentary isn’t just his comedy tour come to life. The behind-the-scenes moments are what is truly engaging. That’s not to say the on-stage moments aren’t good. Stephen Colbert, Eddie Vedder and Jack Balck all hang out with Conan for the crowds that gathered throughout the country. The film is simply at its best when we see what O’Brien goes through off.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10