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Special events in late night TV

By Alex Sferrazza
On February 3, 2013


It seems like a lot of great special events have been happening in Late Night TV lately.  Last week I spent some time discussing Matt Damon's hilarious takeover of 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!.' Appropriately titled "Jimmy Kimmel Sucks!", the program was such a success that ABC elected to re-broadcast it in prime time this past Tuesday.

Just over a week later, over on TBS, Conan O'Brien pulled out a special episode of his show as well. "CONAN" aired a special program titled "Occupy Conan" this past Thursday evening to much fanfare thanks to Conan's constant plugging of the special on his show every night.

"Occupy Conan" was an attempt to air an episode of "CONAN" that was entirely re-created by using fan submitted footage, the first such attempt by any late night talk show.

The concept of re-creating an episode that has been previously broadcast is not entirely new to O'Brien who has previously presented an episode of his old show "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" re-animated in stop motion on NBC ages ago.

For weeks Conan invited fans to submit clips of themselves re enacting the entirety, or parts of a particular episode of "CONAN" (the episode in choice aired last fall and featured a cameo by Will Ferrell in character as Ron Burgundy and guest Anne Hathaway busting out a rap on the spot).  The hundreds of submissions were then compiled together splicing bits and pieces from each to form the 40+ min. program.

The range of interpretations was quite colorful, with some users submissions ranging from attempts to faithfully re-create "CONAN's" set to average joes filming themselves in basements.  Works using animation, stop motion, puppetry, and even popsicle sticks were also included in the episode.

Even a few celebrities got in on the act with submissions from Tina Fey, Joel McHale, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Nick Offerman all featured in the show.

The show was humorously bookend by the real O'Brien and turned out to be a very interesting and somewhat funny watch. As a special treat, O'Brien and sidekick Andy Richter live blogged during the program on the official teamcoco app.

In the ever increasingly crowded late night tv space, it is incredibly refreshing to see unique and original ideas thrown into the ring from the likes of Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O'Brien.  While the latter has been riding a wave of support and increased viewership as of late, "Occupy Conan" should stand as a reminder to fans the Conan remains just as funny on TBS as ever and his show absolutely deserves some attention too.  If you haven't seen it yet, you can check out "Occupy Conan" online at

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