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>> Monday, June 27, 2011

Conan O'Brien can't stop. Nor, before and after this documentary - do I want him to. I recently watched Never Say Never, the Justin Bieber doc about his rise to stardom and his experience of preparing for a show at Madison Square Garden. While fascinating and undoubtedly interesting for a teen at the start of Bieber's career, what would a tour; a schedule; a fresh start and an obsession be like for someone who's been in the public eye for two decades? Someone who's suddenly forced into what seemed like an early retirement? The answer comes to us in the form of the funny, sensitive and oddly dark Conan O'Brien Can't Stop.

On January 22, 2010, O'Brien left his gig at The Tonight Show (and NBC) forever. While I don't need to go into the details it was after an invariable raping by NBC that highlighted their lack of commitment to a decision (put forth by them), as well as their utter talent for disorganization. I understand that there are two sides to this story, but as a longtime fan of O'Brien, I will (and always have) side with him. Can't Stop follows O'Brien after his departure from The Tonight Show and fills us in on just what happened in those six months he was contractually obligated to stay off of television.

Turns out, O'Brien did stay off the air waves. The stages of the US of A on the other hand, are fair play. O'Brien created the tour for one reason only - because he literally couldn't stop. He had become accustomed and addicted to entertaining crowds of people; to introducing them to surprise guest stars and celebrities. And unlike Charlie Sheen's recent bout of banter aimed at Hollywood execs, O'Brien does it with class and dignity - showing that while it was a difficult ordeal it's less about him and more about what he was doing for the people. Let's not forget that O'Brien snagged a healthy 45 million from NBC as part of his severance package. To my friend Rowan, that spells private island and a communication-less existence for the rest of days - a road O'Brien could have easily taken. The fact he didn't shows just how dedicated to his art he is and how much he truly loves what he does.

If there's a flaw in this film is that there's not enough about O'Brien's past and that it all seems a little rushed. While I find this part in O'Brien's life very intriguing, I did find myself wanting to see more about his life and his career. If anything (even though there's plenty of source material out there), I want to see a documentary more about The Late Night Battle - as it was called. Another time perhaps.

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop is a wonderful little doc thought that easily snags an open door. It's honest, it's up front and it's funny as hell. A truly likable guy, I sincerely hope Conan O'Brien can't and doesn't stop until he literally has to.

*Stills courtesy of Pariah


Wendy July 7, 2011 at 1:33 AM  

Thanks for reviewing this, Tyler. Dave and I were already hoping to see this flick and now want to all the more.

Angry Charlie July 9, 2011 at 5:47 PM  

You're welcome Wendy! Make sure you do check it out, it's awesome! :-D

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