Leno v. Conan is more like Baby Boomers v. GenX

This is the obligatory I know there are more important things going on in the world right now statement required by the Society of Blog Readers for Pointing Out You’re Shallow & Pointless.
This whole Leno vs. Conan thing really makes me angry. It’s indicative of the whole Baby Boomer vs. GenX battle that has been raging since they started calling us a bunch of slackers and never really mentioned the fact that we’re the first generation ever to have a lower standard of living than our parents so what the hell is the point?

Leno (the Baby Boomer) could step aside like a gentleman, and wander off into the Las Vegas light pollution to become a kindly old comedian trotted out whenever the event fits. Instead though, as is typical of Boomers* he must continue to cling to the belief that he’s in his prime and the slackers cannot do anything right, he stamps his feet and NBC being the spineless corporate megalith gives him what he wants. Because “the way we always do it” is the right way to go.

And what makes me even angrier is the reports that NBC and Conan are arguing over intellectual properties like the Pimpbot and Triumph. The fact that NBC even wants to keep these proves that there is some sort of cultural capital there and yet they’re still willing to let Conan walk. What is Leno bringing to the table? Fucking Jaywalking and poorly-edited Headlines? (the irony of Jay’s main schtick being newspaper should be lost on no one)

Long-time readers know that I’m a long-time lover of Sir Conan, and watching his show has become a little painful. Not because his macabre gallows humor the past few weeks isn’t funny, but because it reminds me so much of when we all told we were being laid off from Hell, Inc. months before it actually happened. I remember that feeling so well and it kind of sucks. Sure it looks like fun but really you’re only laughing because once you stop you’re gonna cry. Poor Conan. Fucking Jay.

*I also think a lot of when Leno is doing is motivated by the fact that he’s been stricken by the fame virus, a virus that afflicts celebrities whereby they seem to think out of sight really is out of mind and thus they must claw and scratch for every bit of exposure they can, and yet there are plenty of long dead and private people who are famous as all get out without shoving their plasticized maws into our faces every 32 seconds.

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  1. kim 20.Jan.10 at 10:59 am

    fantastic piece. so many of the pro-Conan pieces have been so angry, but it’s nice to read something with a realistic approach and looking at it from a generational POV. and it’s almost upsettingly accurate to what’s happening in the real world (except that in the real world, Jimmy Fallon [or Gen Y] never even got a chance to get Late Night because they put a hiring freeze out).

  2. Jodi 20.Jan.10 at 11:05 am

    Thank you! I can’t believe (and it might because I haven’t looked) that the whole Late Night battle hasn’t been framed in a generational context. It might be the hidden context behind why so many are angry, because it feels bigger than some silly late night war and yet we haven’t found the words for why.

  3. Smoo 30.Jan.10 at 11:08 pm

    I was channel surfing and saw one of the talking heads on CNN ranting about a pro-Conan rally. She was complaining that there are real problems in the world and people are gathering over a late night talk show host. I just wanted to slap that bitch. Of course there are greater problems in the world…..but people gathering together to do something goofy is probably a greater thing than gathering together because we are pissed. Hopefully Conan will get a show somewhere, the later the better. I liked his later show a little more. Same with Dave.


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