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27 May 2006 @ 05:33 pm
May 27th, 2006 - Chicago Edition  
This Chicago Edition of the newsletter includes:
  • Late Night with Conan O’Brien in Chicago articles

  • Conan’s Chicago Snowglobe

  • Conan the Red Ale at Goose Island Brewpubs

  • May 9-12 Episode Recaps

  • Extras: Late Night in Chicago photos and videos

  • Chicago Fan Story

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Chicago Edition

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Late Night with Conan O’Brien in Chicago: May 9-12, 2006

Conan’s Chicago Snowglobe

A replica of the snowglobe that sat on Conan’s desk next to the Eisenhower mug during the show’s 4 day stay in Chicago can be found online at the Great Chicago Gifts website. The snowglobe plays the song “Chicago – That Toddlin Town” and sells for $19.00.

Conan the Red Ale at Goose Island Brewpubs

Goose Island Beer Company:
As part of Late Night’s Chicago Tour, Conan and the Late Night crew visited Chicago’s very own Goose Island Brewpub on Clybourn Street to enjoy a freshly-brewed beer with Brewmaster Greg Hall. During his visit, Conan helped Goose Island brew a batch of beer which was named “Conan the Red” Ale, in his honor.

“Conan the Red” Ale was released on Tuesday, May 9th -- the same day Conan’s first show was taped and aired in Chicago. To celebrate the release, both Goose Island Brewpubs (1800 N. Clybourn Avenue and 3535 N. Clark St.) were offering a special of $4 pints of “Conan the Red” Ale. After May 9th, pints will be available for $6.

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Date: Tuesday, May 9, 2006
Guests: Sean Hayes, Cheap Trick

I think it's safe to say that Conan's opening night in Chicago will go down as one of the great Conan shows. I've committed it to memory and here's what I remember:

"Keep cool, my Midwest babies!" Thus Conan tried to tame the screaming, incorrigible hoards of Middle America. It was, after all, Conan's first chance to act like an ass in the Central Time Zone. But that crowd would not shut up, and it's always fun watching Conan try to get them to hush, especially in a big theater like the Chicago Theatre.

Trump in the Windy City is a risky proposition. That animal on his head almost gets blown away, or at least out of proportion, by that lake breeze.

LaBamba is the only one in the band with a “moust-ahsche”, as Conan says, so he gets to be the one with big shoulders all week. The first night, he played a Chicago cop, and very well, I might add. He did a quick change like an expert and really looked the part.

Out of 3800 seats, compared to 210 back home in 30 Rock, Conan picked the one farthest away from him, and lucked out, thus: Allan Kartun, the esteemed director, performed the longest zoom in the show's history (I think) to zero in on the seat farthest away from Conan. Andria Fekken, the dark beauty seated there, answered the call of the string dance, which set Conan's heart aflutter, visibly. She went from the worst seat in the house to the best, center stage with Conan at the end of the show, where she continued the mating call of the Consey. That Andria Fekken is diva-tastic! And her last name sounds like something an angry Chicagoan (or the Nagging Rabbit) would say in a heated exchange: "That Fekken worst seat sure paid off for her!"

Conan called for a "classy week of shows," which the gathered congregation of corn-fed Middle Americans booed heartily. Then suddenly, from afar, the Masturbating Bear made his dramatic reappearance on the show! Falling in from several hundred feet in the air, the M.B., ladies and gentlemen! It was a case of the Masturbating Bear MI:CC, complete with cheesy theme song.

Then from nowhere, Mr. T pulled up in a smashingly classy Lincoln to show Conan the town and paint it--what else?--red. They found T's old bike lock and T got his booty wet--white guys are always letting a brother go first, just like in a horror movie. Turns out T's been a fan of the White Sox since, well, since they were all that way, if you know what I mean. Conan swatted a few with that team, knocked over a few buildings, and moved on with T, who felt like driving Mr. Daisy. Who knew T was in Blues Bros.? (Quack quack!) Then T and Conan went skipping merrily into the Sears Tower, shot from the bottom floor only, since of course the building's image is trademarked by some faceless, soulless corporation.

And all that before the first commercial break.

After, Conan spun the Wheel of Wendt, a clear reference to the "Wheel of Consolation" from Big Daddy Jay's show. One push-up was enough from Wendt, a Chicagoan and former star of "Cheers." That wheel is made, we found out, from the finest Formica! Note that there will only be 4 shows, but there are 6 choices on the wheel...hmmm...Fate spoke, and Wendt came out for the one push up. And that's a lot to push!

During the next commercial break, we got treated to the first installment of "Travels with Conan classics" in the A-position (advertisement for NBC.com/conan). A great new segment to remind us all about the travels Conan has made in the past, this time to his ancestral castle in Ireland.

Joel will be going to movie locations in Chicago all week. Tuesday's visit was to Union Station site of Brian DePalma's tribute to the film Battleship Potemkin with a baby carriage scene, with Union Station standing in for the Odessa Steps. Joel took his own turn down those steps--another reappearance on the show, since we haven't seen Joel on camera for a long time now. Why don't we get more Joel?

Then "subtle" actor Sean Hayes did his own M.B.-style fly-in. Did anyone see him crash subtly into the proscenium arch as he floated 'round up there? And could Hayes be the next host of “Late Night?” Conan said the money’s not so good--Hayes will see.

And Conan did his rock-star act by flailing around on the floor with Cheap Trick at the end of the night.

A few last comments and questions remain. First, Conan's hair has been dyed back to its on-stage red.

What about lighting, my babies? The director and crew need to look to it.
Bigger venue = more lighting needed, not that I mind shadows. They make the set much more interesting. That theater looks surprisingly like the Beacon Theater in NY, where the 10th anniversary special was filmed. (Editor’s note: The Chicago Theatre has about 700 more seats than the Beacon).

There are some very famous Chicago people who I hope we'll be seeing on the show. Jeff Garlin was Conan's Chi-town roommate one summer long ago. And of course, talk-show legends Oprah and Jerry are in Chicago--will we see any of these people on the show?

The opening night in Chicago was more like Jay's show--no guests until the first half hour was over. Conan's looking more and more like the next Tonight Show host every day, now.
-- SonOfJoel

Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Guests: Dave Chappelle, Common

Conan conquers Chicago
BY SETARREH MASSIHZADEGAN -- Northwest Indiana Times -- Friday, May 12, 2006

CHICAGO | With their blue tickets raised overhead, thousands of people marched triumphantly through a maze of caution tape and security guards to take their seats in the Chicago Theater's grandiose expanse.

Once inside, it wasn't long before the crowd erupted in a series of ever-intensifying cheers: First, with the director's appearances on stage during setup, again when the crowd was warmed up by a staff member's wisecracks, louder for Max Weinberg Seven's trumpeter Mark Pender -- until the tremendous moment when the big man himself emerged from the wings.

"We've got to settle down before a Jerry Springer Show breaks out in here," Conan O'Brien told his audience Wednesday. "Don't make me marry my sister."

With his celebrated hair flip, O'Brien has played to eager Chicago audiences. The one Wednesday had the treat of seeing comedian Dave Chappelle and rapper Common on stage, as well as Chicago blues musician Lil' Ed, who gave O'Brien a lesson in Blues 101.

O'Brien wowed the audience with Chicago-tailored jokes.

He said, "In Chicago, the most popular wine is something called 'Cabernet Old Style.'"

Audience members also discovered answers to the elusive question of what happens during commercial breaks and what the quirky redhead does when the camera is turned the other way.

While audiences watched O'Brien jam with Lil' Ed in a previously recorded video, O'Brien paced the stage, paying almost no attention to the video screens and the audience's laughter. Instead, he consulted stage crew about the tuning of his electric guitar, which he played live with Lil' Ed at the video's end.

At commercial breaks, O'Brien's stage crew rushed him, much like a pit crew on a race car, to powder his nose, refill his water and, presumably, discuss pertinent issues. O'Brien appeared unfazed, even while engaged in conversation with Chappelle and others.

At Chappelle's entrance, the audience released such a roar that Chappelle appeared dumbfounded.

Lizzy Morse, 20, said after the show, "When Dave Chappelle came out, I thought the place was going to crumble."

Chappelle addressed his much-discussed mental state: "It was a weird thing to get called crazy. At first it was scary and now I feel like it's liberating."

Audience members were amused to see the intimate aspects of O'Brien's off-camera pampering.

"It feels a lot more intimate when watching it on TV," Chicago resident Martin Morse, 22, said after the show.

  • For studio crowd, Chappelle, Wendt are Dream Team - Chicago Tribune: May 11, 2006 - random facts and observations about Wednesday, May 10 show from someone who was there

  • Date: Thursday, May 11, 2006
    Guests: John C. Reilly, Vlasta the International Queen of Polka, John Mayer
    Special Guests: Jeff Garlin, FedEx Pope, [premiere of] Sears Tower dressed in Sears Clothing

    You know how when you’re watching Late Night and Conan sometimes says that “It’s late - no one’s watching”? Well, this week in Chicago proved that he was wrong. Thousands of Chicago fans (and fans from afar) gathered outside the Chicago Theatre and waited for hours to see this pale-skinned Irish comic with a pompadour. For Thursday’s show, fans waited outside in rainy, windy and cold conditions by choice; staying true fans and not giving up in line. Finally getting into the theatre to get dry and warm, we all cheered when Conan thanked us for waiting out in the rain. I definitely took that appreciation to heart after being one of those people waiting in the drenching rain all day. Conan really does appreciate his fans. He even laughed and made fun of us when we all went nuts and cheered. It was as if we were cheering for the bad weather. He said, “I’d hate to how you act when it’s sunny out!”

    The show began with Brian McCann (AKA: FedEx Pope, Preparation H Raymond, and many other various Late Night characters) coming on stage and warming up the crowd. He told us not to yell out stupid things during the taping of the show like “Schaumburg!!!!” Also, he gave us all 10 seconds to argue over which Chicago sports team was better- Sox or Cubs! Everyone went nuts and yelled out their favorite team. (Writer’s note: I’m a Brewers Fan!) He then explained that they would be filming the audience a bit for the segment “Conan Takes His Desk for a Ride” they’d do the following night. The cameraman panned the camera backwards up the aisle and everyone waved back. Shortly before they began taping, the Max Weinberg 7 came out to perform a few songs. Mark Pender (the trumpet player) got up and walked around the audience while he sang. He sure has a lot of energy! He even held a note on the trumpet for nearly 2 minutes! The audience was amazed by this.

    I knew it was really almost time to start when [announcer] Joel [Godard] came out on stage to announce all the guests of the show and introduce Conan and the band. I got chills when Max started the drum bit at the very beginning of the theme song. From then on up until the very beginning of Conan’s scripted monologue I couldn’t hear what he was saying at all because of all the screaming! We went even crazier when Conan lifted up the sides of his suit jacket and did his famous string dance! His monologue was just like any other monologue except....... when he was about to say the “city of Chicago” he made a little boo boo and mistakenly said, “the shitty of Chicago.” Of course they censored it out when it aired on TV but those us of there in person got to hear the real thing! The audience sure got a kick out of that. When Conan did his usual introduction of the band after his monologue he noted that LaBamba was dressed as a CTA bus driver!

    Next Conan mentioned how he had roots in Chicago. In the summer of 1988 he lived in an apartment in Wrigleyville with “Curb Your Enthusiasm” actor Jeff Garlin. During that summer he performed at the Victory Gardens Theatre. He even showed a clip of him performing back in the day on a show called “The Happy Happy Good Show” where Conan, um, just basically made goofy faces and said who knows what. I don’t think anyone knew what he was doing! Still, it was very funny. Conan and Jeff Garlin had decided to go visit their old apartment in Wrigleyville so then he showed the footage of that. It was cool seeing it up on the big screen in the theatre and even cooler watching Conan’s reactions while watching it himself! Those who attended this show were lucky enough to be introduced to a brand new character, just for the Chicago fans, “The Sears Tower Dressed in Sears Clothing”. It was hilarious just to see this person trying to walk inside the suit!

    The first guest that Conan interviewed was actor John C. Reilly. They talked about John’s family and growing up in Chicago as a kid. What happened next I was not expecting at all. Suddenly John broke out into song and began singing “The Night Chicago Died”. I was even more surprised when Conan jumped up from his desk with a microphone and sang with him! This was definitely a crowd favorite! During commercial breaks Conan would talk to his stage hands or producers on stage. The best thing he did during the breaks was how he interacted with the audience. He’d point and wave to fans up in the balcony and shake hands with people who were in the first few rows. This wasn’t scripted, like something during the show; he chose to do this, so once again it shows he cares about his fans.

    His next guest was Vlasta the International Queen of Polka. Prior to coming to the show I had never heard of her. She was very interesting to say the least. She played her accordion while singing a song she wrote just for Conan and Late Night. As she played Conan began dancing around by her, throwing his long lanky legs in the air!

    The show closed with the great and talented John Mayer performing “Sweet Home Chicago” with none other than the Max Weinberg 7. John Mayer and Jimmy Vivino jammed out on their guitars together during the song. Before the commercial break Conan talked to John a little bit noting how he makes unusual faces while playing the guitar and also that his first instrument was the clarinet. When they returned from the commercial break, Conan thanked all of his guests and then let everyone play with these huge Conan beach balls! They had Conan’s cartoon face on them and there were about 8 being tossed all over by the crowd. After the taping was done, Conan thanked the studio audience for coming and shook more fans’ hands.

    I thought it was a very good show. Not just because I was there! Although that is part of it. It's an experience I'll never forget.
    -- wise_athena / Kristina

    Date: Friday, May 12, 2006
    Guests: Illinois Senator Barack Obama, Wilco

    Conan was greeted with electrifying applause & cheers from about 3800 fans in the Chicago Theatre. He waved and pointed to people in the crowd. He got a periscope and looked into the audience. He tried to settle them down -- which he did after about 3 minutes.

    Conan said this was the show’s last night in Chicago. He’d love to stay in Chicago but his cholesterol was up to 450. He did other monologue jokes related to Chicago. He said he loved the random yells for him, which led to even more yelling, then clarified that he was being sarcastic.

    Conan said they wanted to do something special for the city since it was their last night in Chicago. Since the great Chicago fire of 1871 was started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, and the cow was never punished, tonight was “payback time for that cud-chewing bastard”. Outside the studio in a field, they hooked the cow up to dynamite but gave the cow some tools and 30 seconds to deactivate the detonator. It turns out the cow could only see black and white so didn’t know which wire to cut, and it was blown to pieces in the middle of the field.

    Conan introduced the Max Weinberg 7 to the crowd. Because he has a mustache, LaBamba was dressed as the Empire Carpet guy: “588-2300 Empire”. The Max Weinberg 7 sang the jingle along with most of the audience (in the theatre and at home, I think).

    Conan introduced the Sears Tower dressed in Sears clothing. Conan said he thought it would be nice to go outside, and it would be good to take the old desk out for a drive. Since he never likes to ride alone, he went into the audience to find a Chicago native to go with him. This Chicago native turned out to be Conan’s beloved former sidekick Andy Richter. The audience went crazy and started chanting “Andy, Andy!”

    Andy said he is originally from Yorkville, Illinois. Conan started up the desk and Andy put her in gear, and they went out on the town. They put on fake mustaches so they would look less like out-of-towners. Since the Chicago weather changes so fast, Andy’s side of the desk got snowed on. They were a little lost, but luckily the desk had Chicago OnStar. The OnStar operator had a strong Chicago accent and was rude to them. They went to University of Chicago and heard a cool frat party but they only met a bunch of nerds chanting “Calculus!” instead - so Conan & Andy ran them over. “That’s what we do to nerds.” They then made their way to Wrigley Field and did a little batting practice but ended up bombarded with baseballs. Conan wanted to get a drink, so unbeknownst to Conan, Andy took him to Boystown, where he introduced “Conesy” to his friend Derek. Next Conan & Andy went to the set of the Jerry Springer show where a pregnant woman approached Conan saying he was her baby’s daddy, but Conan denied this. My favorite part was afterwards when Andy slyly turned to Conan and asked, “Conan, are you her baby daddy?” and Conan maniacally replied, “Yes, I am.” Next they were in the river and did a little fishing. Andy caught Steve Bartman of the Chicago Cubs. Conan & Andy ended their drive on a Ferris wheel where Derek and the pregnant woman from Jerry Springer re-joined them. As they went to commercial, the camera panned out so the green screen could be seen behind the group.

    Next up was a Late Night Chicago Small Talk Moment where Max & Conan had a conversation about the Dan Ryan Expressway Reconstruction Project. Not being from Chicago, I had no clue what was going on during this sketch.

    Then out came the Wheel of Wendt featuring Chicago icon George Wendt. Conan spun the wheel to reveal Wendt’s task, which was “Give Chewbacca a Massage”. Chewbacca came out on a massage table and George did his thing. Things quickly got steamy when Chewbacca turned over and gazed into Mr. Wendt’s eyes, and they started making out. Yum.

    Conan welcomed Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Conan said he loved Barack’s name. Random fact: Barack’s favorite restaurant in Chicago is MacArthur’s. Barack discussed his hair salon and revealed he’s been with his barber for 10 years. The relationship between a man and his barber is sacred. Barack asked Conan where he gets his hair done, and Conan replied, “This isn’t real. Scientists work on this. This is a high-density polymer that NASA invented.”
    Barack discussed his 2 young daughters getting a kick out of the fact that people would find what he had to say interesting. He says he’s been able to remain humble because of his wife - she tells him how big his ears are, etc.
    Conan asked Barack about the speculation surrounding him being a presidential candidate in 2008. Barack replied by saying he was thinking about having Conan as his running mate. Conan said “Obama-O’Brien” sounds amazing, but it would be the worst thing Barack ever did.

    After the break, Conan told us that earlier this week, the Goose Island Brewery said they were creating a special ale in Conan’s honor. So Conan visited them to see how they make a Conan O’Brien brew. At the end of his visit, Conan pitched the name “Conan O’Brien Pale Ale” for his beer and for people who want it – Conan O’Brien Pale Pale Ale. Back onstage, Conan brought out George Wendt to try the beer, and the audience cheered him on as he chugged it.

    Musical guest Wilco performed “Is This the Thanks I Get” - also known as “We Can Make It Better”.

    At the end of the show, Conan thanked his guests, the Chicago Theatre, the local staff & crew, the Late Night staff & crew, and the people of Chicago. “You guys have given us – in the rain and the wind – you guys packed this place every night. You gave us a lot of love. We will never, ever forget it.”

    To play the show out was Chicago’s own Mucca Pazza, a self described “astounding circus punk marching band.” As the band took over the stage, Conan went down into the audience and could be seen greeting his fans, shaking people’s hands, being photographed, and even talking on someone’s cell phone.
    -- conansgoddess / Amanda

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    Chicago Photos & Videos

    Check out Chicago photos and videos at the official NBC.com Conan website and NBC 5 Chicago website.
    Many fan photos from the Chicago shows can be found at Flickr.com.

    Videos from Late Night in Chicago

    Tuesday, May 9, 2006
    Opening Act (featuring a great crowd, awesome response to Conan, monologue, LaBamba dressed as a Chicago cop, Andria the audience member with the worst seat, Masturbating Bear)
    Mr. T Shows Conan Around Chicago

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006
    Conan and Lil' Ed Williams at Blues on Halsted in Chicago

    Thursday, May 11, 2006
    John C. Reilly and Conan C. O'Brien sing "The Night Chicago Died"
    Vlasta the International Queen of Polka featuring Conan Dancing
    On location at Conan's old (summer of 1988) apartment in Wrigleyville
    'Happy Happy Good Show' footage featuring Conan O'Brien and Bob Odenkirk (from 1988)

    Friday, May 12, 2006
    Desk Drive with Conan & Andy in Chicago
    Conan at Goose Island Brewery in Chicago
    Mucca Pazza closing the last show in Chicago

    Downloadable Videos related to Conan in Chicago

    Conan O'Brien Takes 5 (NBC5 Chicago) - April 17, 2006
    Watch - http://www.nbc5.com/video/9162108/index.html
    Download - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=O0UBKYWH

    Bob Sirott (NBC 5 Chicago) Interviews Conan O'Brien - Part 1 - May 3, 2006 *highly recommended
    Watch - http://www.nbc5.com/video/9187880/index.html
    Download - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=94SIEOYU

    Bob Sirott (NBC 5 Chicago) Interviews Conan O'Brien - Part 2 - May 3, 2006
    Watch - http://www.nbc5.com/video/9187979/index.html
    Download - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=HMHSJISO

    Conan Ready to Tackle Oprah - NBC5 Chicago - May 9, 2006
    Watch - http://www.nbc5.com/video/9181484/index.html
    Download - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=B93XL7RV

    Conan on "Extra" - May 9, 2006
    Watch - http://extratv.warnerbros.com/v2/news/0506/09/5/video.html
    Download - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=13NE4S2E

    Conan, Mr. T Hit Chicago's South Side - NBC5 Chicago - May 10, 2006
    Watch - http://www.nbc5.com/video/9190815/index.html
    Download - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=W36Z80VF

    Conan on NBC5 News Today (Chicago) - May 10, 2006 – has footage from Tuesday show's rehearsal with Conan & Cheap Trick and an interview with the NBC 5 morning team.
    Watch - http://www.nbc5.com/video/9190689/index.html
    Download - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=TZTM6PDD

    My Conan Experience (Chicago)

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    By Lindsey Wojcik

    We arrived at the Chicago Theatre at 11 o'clock am. We got tickets really soon after, and we were halfway down the line. I stood in line most of the time while my mom painfully walked around Chicago in order to find a place to hang out. Around 2 o'clock my mom came up to me and said to get out of line, we were going to the "special needs" line. (My mom is disabled, has trouble walking, and a security guard saw her and told us to move up to the "special needs" line.) We got there around 2:30 and waited only until 3:15 and were the second people to get in to the theatre.

    They tried putting us at the back of the theatre with the rest of the handicapped people, but my mom and I ran down to the FRONT ROW!! Then we sat in the theatre for about an hour waiting for the show to begin. Max Weinberg and the Max Weinberg 7 came out and played a little bit. FYI: LaBamba and Max Weinberg are shorter in real life.

    Then they finally announced that they were going to start the show and seriously we went crazy. Conan came out and did his little thing. I was kind of disappointed that he didn't do the string dance but he told us to "keep cool". Anyways since we were in front row, we saw everything really awesome. The show was hilarious!

    As you know George Wendt tried to shoot a 3 pointer. And after that was done, Conan threw basketballs into the crowd and since we were in FRONT ROW, my mom caught a basketball with her face, and we now have a Conan basketball.

    At the end of the show, I GOT TO SHAKE HANDS WITH CONAN! (I was the first person he shook hands with and my mom shook his hand too. My hand is the one with the black ponytail holder on it.)

    We stayed for a bit and we shook Dave Chappelle's hand and I got Common's autograph.

    I got some really crappy pictures of Conan on my cell phone (it was too bright). In the pics you can see the outline of Conan, and of course you can see the pompadour!

    All in all, it was the best day of my life so far.

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    *Compiled and edited by conansgoddess

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