Justin Bieber, Marilyn Manson: the next Conan sidekicks?
It's tricky to pick out a good band leader/sidekick for your late-night comedy show. On the one hand, it's important not to get a simpering sycophant like Kevin Eubanks, who recently quit the Tonight Show 18 years too late for our taste:
But it's also important not to pick someone like Max Weinberg, who as a goodbye stab-in-the-back to his boss Conan, reportedly approached Leno about replacing Eubanks.
So who should Conan's new musical sidekick be? Here's our short list:
What better way to spice up a talk show than a Satanic metal musician sitting in the corner ripping out power chords to punctuate punchlines? And Manson's career has been dead since the turn of the millennium, so we know he hasn't got anything better to do. Plus, he's actually a fairly likeable, intelligent, and funny guy in person with some real acting credits under his belt, so you know he wouldn't just giggle at everything Conan says, nor would he woodenly read off the teleprompter like Weinberg.
Let's face it: having a drummer who made his name in an iconic classic rock group for a bandleader did kind of set a precedent for Conan. And since most of Weinberg's more notable '70s peers are either more famous than Conan (Ringo Starr), antisocial (Ginger Baker), dead (John Bonham; Keith Moon) or Canadian objectivists (Neil Peart), that leaves the deranged, cymbal-eating Muppet as one of the better options. Just imagine Conan tossing off one of his absurd one-liners during his monologue, then having the camera cut to Animal's response, which will inevitably involve a deranged stare and that weird caveman laugh of his. If anything, it should at least foster some redhead solidarity.
Admit it, Conan. You might have a loyal following, but getting people to turn into TBS is almost impossible. That's why you need a pick up perhaps the greatest sensation of 2010: Justin Bieber. Who can resist that baby face? Just imagine his wind-swept hair-do flowing back and forth as the pre-teen slams on those drums. The girls will be screaming, Bieber's voice will be cracking, and you'll be the soaring past Leno in no time. He'll probably turn really ugly and get a pizza face eventually, so just give me a short contract to get you through the rough start. And what the heck, he can actually play the drums for real!
One problem with late-night talk shows is that they insist on including their humorless bandleaders in skits and banter. Max Weinberg was a comedy mortician. Paul Schaffer and Kevin Eubanks shouldn't be let near a microphone. The Roots ought to stick to music. The solution? Hire a musician with a verifiable sense of humor. On Justin Timberlake's Saturday Night Live appearances, he's shown genuine comedy chops. Not a fan of his music? Unless you're in the studio audience, no one actually hears the band except for a few seconds before and after commercials.
It's high time to break the glass ceiling that hangs over the world of late-night musical sidekicks, and there's really only one person to do it: Yoko Ono. She's got a long experience with talk shows, she's unfailingly amiable and upbeat, and she'd bring a distinctive sound to the show. Most of all though, we just think she'd have a really great stage chemistry with Conan.
The animatronic band at Chuck-E-Cheese
Late night talk show sidekicks and bands tend to blend together. Mostly because they play the same "after midnight" jazz and strain their muscles pretending to laugh at the stale opening monologue (Kevin Eubanks we're looking at you especially). Employing Chuck-E-Cheese robot band takes out all of the potential disasters that befall sidekicks. It's dependable, incapable of diva behavior, and barring any rusty jaws, able to laugh on continual loop. And since Chuck's little robot band is mostly collecting dust at the pizza hell hole, it should be easy to cut a deal with the ailing party chain. Added bonus: Maybe once NBC cools off they will allow occasional guests spots from the notorious Masturbating Bear.
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