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tha last word on conan, by bill brownstein


TRIBE Member
Memo to T.O.: It's over now, time to move on

The Gazette

Sunday, February 15, 2004

The Barbarian Invasions have abated. Quebecers can breathe a sigh of relief. For now, anyway. First Don Cherry, then Conannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn OOOOOOOOOOOO'Brien.

The Bostonian blew into Hogtown like a lion but tip-toed out like a lamb following his week-long Late Night With Conan O'Brien tapings at the Elgin Theatre. In yesterday morning's final broadcast, Conan did a lame Mountie bit, did lame beaver-nibbling with Jim Carrey and did his best to avoid issues of national unity, other than to lamely suggest he was the guy hired "to make Don Cherry look good."

And that he did. Conan makes Cherry look like a bloody poster-boy for Canadian unity, a veritable Bobby "Ca-na-da" Gimby.

Some of us in these parts are still sporting our facial visors to avoid getting all the excrement in our mugs Conan and his equally barbarian cohorts kicked up during their ill-conceived visit to Quebec City.

Conan dispatched his cigar-chomping, hand-puppet Triumph the Insult Dog, with his human handler, to the Carnival earlier in the week. The pooch berated unilingual francophones for being "obnoxious and dull." Signs were changed to "Celine Dion Sucks Street" and "Quebecqueer Street."

Throughout the show, Conan and cronies managed to trot out out every tired, tedious, sophomoric stereotype. No cliché left unturned. Perhaps these puerile antics were meant to play to the U.S. TV audience still bearing anti-France sentiment.

Whatever. It wasn't remotely funny - a major failing for satire. In fact, it was as offensive as, say, Triumph heading into the barrios of L.A. and berating Latinos. Wonder how long it would take them to neuter Triumph and O'Brien?

To put it in perspective, the segment with Adam Sandler that night came off as the most high-brow part of the Conan show. And be aware Sandler has been accused of many things, but never of this.

And to think some of us stayed up hoping to catching some Toronto culture.

Hard to believe Conan ever graduated from Harvard. Maybe the big hair is preventing the blood from going to the brain. Maybe it's the ego that is as puffed up as the Conan coif. But it does appear he has now become the human embodiment of the character he helped launch in a past life: Homer Simpson.

Even more offensive than the bashing in Quebec City was the reaction of the studio audience, an amalgam of hormone-addled, Maple Leafs-loving teens who appeared to be sharing the same brain cell Cherry lost. They booed lustily at every mention of Quebec and laughed heartily at all the scorn directed this way- much to the delight of O'Brien, who was doing his best to bait them.

It's worth noting while this was going down in Toronto it was revealed in Montreal the dying wish of Claude Ryan, "the conscience of Quebec," was that Quebecers try to build bridges with the rest of Canada. But Conan's studio audience wouldn't know Ryan unless he had tussled on the ice with Tie Domi.

But most offensive of all is the federal and Ontario governments ponied up $1 million to bring a U.S. late-late-night talk-show host with marginal appeal into this country to insult so many Canadians. Sure, this chunk of change pales in comparison to the big-buck sponsorship scandal, but it's still galling.

The deep thinking was shooting the Late Night show in Toronto would help boost the city's sagging image following its ordeal with SARS. Much like inviting the Rolling Stones et al into the city for a money-losing concert that cost $11.5 million - $3.5 million of which was covered by the feds and $2 million by the Ontario government.

Memo to T.O: It's over now. Time to move on.

And, oh yeah, why do the Toronto brainiacs behind these shows feel compelled to go outside the country to find celebrities to stroke the city and to seek validation for Canadian talent?

It's that age-old dilemma: It seems Canadian stars can only be legitimized here when they are given the stamp of approval on U.S. television.

Calling Dr. Freud. We've got a big city in our midst with an even bigger inferiority complex.

It has been suggested Montrealers raise money to bring, say, David Letterman to town for a week to bash Toronto. But why stoop to their level? Besides, we could get Rick Mercer, who is both funny and a Canadian, to do it pro bono.


© Copyright 2004 Montreal Gazette
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Special K

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by ethnik

The pooch berated unilingual francophones for being "obnoxious and dull." Signs were changed to "Celine Dion Sucks Street" and "Quebecqueer Street."

lol that still makes me laugh


quebecqueer hehehe...
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TRIBE Member
critical flaw in the article: I find Rick Mercer (and the Ranting Maritimer School of Canadian Comedy (tm) in general ) to be increasingly unfunny and losing steam. His big new idea for Monday Report - working the Canada vs. Toronto shtick.

The 90s were great... time to create a whole new shtick, bye!