ConanCon takes over San Diego for a second season.
In July of 2015, Conan O’Brien brought his Turner Broadcasting based late night show, “Conan,” to San Diego for a week of shows. The San Diego Comic-Con audience, made up of an assortment of geeks, collectors, fanboys, fangirls, nerds, vendors and members of media is a difficult audience – as a whole – to please. In general, there is no mass collective, rather a disconjoined assembly that goes in disparate directions, often avoiding one another, to stay within their own herd.
Those who are looking for collectibles and hard-to-find, limited edition items are hardly looking to score tickets to a signing of MTV’s “Teen Wolf.” Therefore, one would be inclined to think that the concept of a talkshow host bringing a nationally televised week of shows to the historic Spreckels Theater, targeting the more than 100,000 attendees at this convention hardly seems to be a novel idea. In such a frame of reference, one would be correct.
That doesn’t, however, take into account the host.
Conan isn’t ostentatious. His arrival at San Diego Comic-Con in 2015 was met with initial skepticism that quickly turned to appreciation and acceptance. Conan spent the week in the city, around the convention, in the Gaslamp District and not only talking to fans and signing autographs, posing for selfies and telling jokes, but also listening. He worked to earn the trust and warmth of the diversity of fandom and drew overflow crowds each night, proving he was not only a comedic icon, but a fellow fan. He knew – because he listened – what we expected and what we wanted to see and hear. He delivered.
When fans lined up before the show, he arrived and signed. When they stayed after the show, he stayed to sign. He made each individual feel like they were important. Like they were appreciated. And those fans returned the favor. When he announced he was returning in 2016, it was a no-brainer that we were returning as well, tickets in hand, sitting in the first two rows, yet again. The comedy was brilliant, but the work he put into satisfying the diversity of this crowd with references and sketches was paradisiacal.
His guests have been ideal, crossing devotees of genres from “The Walking Dead” to “The Hunger Games” and from “Game of Thrones” to “Silicon Valley.” Of course, the comic book hero movies will be there and no one will leave without losing their voice from shouting excitedly and laughing frantically. At the very least, having the palms of their hands painfully red from clapping throughout the show with elation.
There was something I noticed this year, though, that I wasn’t looking for last year. Conan was exhausted. It was 90 degrees outside and he was wearing a suit and tie. But he showed class, grace, charm and charisma in such a humble way – even in conditions that were unrealistically uncomfortable – and did not leave until every fan knew that Conan was grateful for their support. He thanked us, though we should have been thanking him.
Humility is uncommon. The ability to bring people together in commonality, with laughter and entertainment, is nearly impossible. Class is so unrecognizable, that it’s difficult to discern. Add to that the ability to interview guests and make people laugh and you have a five-star performer. That’s why San Diego Comic-Con welcomes Conan, openly.
That’s why Conan keeps coming back.
Full episodes and clips of Conan are available at teamcoco.com. Conan airs weeknights at 11/10c on TBS.