Robert Hampton

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30th December 2010

Twenty Ten – again

What a year 2010 was! It had twelve months, each consisting of at least 28 days. On some of those days I made blog entries. Here are the highlights.

I began the year in January fretting about an alleged Crystal Maze remake starring Amanda Holden. This story fortunately turned out to be utter bollocks. Ginger people again proved that (yours truly excepted) they have no sense of humour or perspective. Britain experienced a deluge of snow, and Merseyrail impressed everyone by soldiering on throughout, a feat which they would surely repeat next time we experienced awful weather… right?

I finally joined the Wii owners’ club, just as the console stopped being cool. My rekindled love for video games did not result in me getting rickets. I also celebrated my first Twitterversary and cautiously welcomed the iPad.

I also took time to blog at length about a US comedian no-one has heard of over here, illustrating my post with YouTube clips which have now been removed for copyright infringement.

In more serious matters, the Haiti earthquake occupied people’s thoughts as a humanitarian catastrophe unfolded in the devastated country.

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24th January 2010

I’m with CoCo
Posted by at 11.53am | Television | No responses

The late night talk show is a format which hasn’t really caught on in the UK the way it has in America. Sure, we get Graham Norton, Jonathan Ross and (shudder) Alan Carr once a week, but how many of these hosts could successfully do a show five nights a week, for 40 or so weeks a year? Not many, I’d suspect.

In America, the late night talk show has become something of a staple of many network schedules (Wikipedia helpfully summarises). It seems odd to us in the UK, where most TV channels give up after about 11.30pm and fling on old films or Pages from Ceefax to take insomniac viewers through the night. Across the pond however, some of these shows have become icons of popular culture, and that is especially true of NBC’s long-running Tonight Show. So when questions started being asked about Tonight’s future, it was headline news in the US.

I’m not going to go into detail about the controversy (the links in this post should satisfy any curiosity you have) but I want to highlight Conan O’Brien, the current host of the Tonight Show who is being forced out after just seven months on the job.

I first discovered Conan a few years ago when I stumbled across his previous show, Late Night, which was shown in the UK for many years as a weekend filler on the business news channel CNBC Europe. I quickly became enamoured with his absurdist style of humour, honed while writing some of the very best Simpsons episodes during that show’s glory years. The surrealism was elevated further by CNBC’s practice of showing stock market prices during the commercial breaks.

Unfortunately, Conan lost some of his edginess with a move to the more mainstream Tonight Show in 2009. Fortunately, there are some choice clips from his old show available on YouTube and I’ve posted a selection of them below.

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22nd October 2007

That’s not a bit
Posted by at 1.15pm | Television | No responses

Some TV presenters are tied to the autocue and get completely lost when something unexpected happens. Here’s the exact opposite: Conan O’Brien, someone who’s at his best when things go awry.