Cuckoo for Coco Puff

Conan O’Brien, photo credit: Art Streiber

Pink slips.  Sure, I’ve had a few.

They work well under nearly every color skirt.  I got walking papers once, too.  But I didn’t get tens of millions of dollars in severance pay and national grievance time on 60 Minutes like my dear Conan O’Brien.  There’s something about Coco.  I remember watching him on Late Night in the mid-90s and thinking, this guy is a total goofball and I absolutely adore him.  There were several years of way-too-early work mornings (I too got new employment after I was fired) when I surrendered to the call of sleep before the midnight hour and missed his show, but rested easy knowing the lovechild of Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche would look like Janet Reno if they mated.  Later with the magic of DVR, much like an eight-year-old with a sugar bowl of processed chocolate and puffed corn cereal, I devoured Year 2000 predictions and fake celebrity interviews in the first blush of day with a resulting 70-minute rush.  Yes, his red pompadour and slap happy invisible string dance (I don’t know why, but it never gets old) have earned tender holdings in my heart, but what I find most appealing about this late night heavy is his sincere and undying love of making people laugh – with him and at him.  Whether a clever belittling of his self-esteem devised for comedic effect or the result of his Irish Catholic rearing, Coco’s best zingers are those aimed at himself.  And during his seventeen years as a talk show host, he has yet to share his stage desk or studio spotlight with his ego or made his own celebrity a recurring guest.  And that, my babies, is a most refreshing breakfast of champions that I can contentedly indulge in once again before midnight.  In my pink slip.

© Jennifer Dowd  

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