Six Degrees of Conan O'Brien

I can't get upset that his millions in settlement couldn't compensate for his hurt feelings or his sense of "betrayal" by NBC.

It's not that I care one way or the other about Conan O'Brien, personally. Conan is a guy like a lot of other guys" He's got two eyes, a nose, a mouth, a dick, and assorted other parts. As much as I wish everyone well--in the most impersonal sense, in the sense of "Merry Christmas, everyone!"--I wish Conan well.

But maybe it's the bursting-at-the-seams idolatry, the frenzy of Facebook profiles changed into Conan or Coco and the Save Coco and the Save Conan and the cries and the whimpers and the spectacle of his sweeping tour--that is more to the point of what does not sit well with me. From what I know (and I know a lot), almost everyone who had to work with Conan O'Brien--his staff, the people who gave their all and their everything to the exclusion of all else--loathed him.

Have you noticed that on any given interview Conan never actually thanks or shares the spotlight with any of the dozens of behind-the-sceners who actually were the show?

When I was doing stand-up, I got to know other stand-ups. Again, mostly guys. And, by and large, not nice guys. Gilbert Godfried used to wait at the bar of Catch a Rising Star, _Hustler_ or _Penthouse_ in tow, and just before one of the women comics hit the stage, he'd open up to the most graphic money shot and flash it as he blurted out, "Pussy!"

And yes, that girl was me.

When I performed at Rodney Dangerfield's, Rodney was lurking near the coat check and kept asking, "How much? How much?" No one told him I was a comic, and he was hoping to settle on a price. Good times, those were.

And so when one of the comics I knew started working for Conan, I heard the behind-the-scenes play-by-plays and the frustration and the tension and the forced adulation that threaded the air every day, every night at battleship Conan.

So I wasn't one of the ones who changed my profile to his, and I can't get upset that his millions in settlement couldn't compensate for his hurt feelings or his sense of "betrayal" by NBC. I've been scraping by on dollars and cents and getting hired and fired so many times I can hardly even keep track--so it's just not going to break my heart that Conan has been asked to leave with the equivalent of a small country's GNP deposited in his bank account.

And getting back to my friend who worked with Conan for more than ten years, my friend whom I trust to tell it like it is and who has an amazingly high tolerance level for unpleasantries--that friend made it clear, and in no uncertain terms, that Conan was and is a bitter pill.


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