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Conan O'Brien Takes His Show on the Road
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Old 08 Feb 2004, 03:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Conan O'Brien Takes His Show on the Road

NEW YORK (AP) - Florida in the winter is a natural road trip. Not to Conan O'Brien: He's heading north this week, the second time NBC's ``Late Night'' has ventured out of New York during his 10 years as host.

``When I heard Toronto in February, my immediate thought was, `That's just so our show,''' O'Brien said.

What began as an effort to boost the city's tourism industry, still recovering from last year's SARS outbreak, has become a celebration of Canada's contribution to the entertainment industry.

Michael J. Fox, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, ``Will & Grace'' star Eric McCormack and the bands Nickelback and Barenaked Ladies are among the Canadian acts that will appear on four nights of shows taped at Toronto's Elgin Theater.

``This isn't about SARS anymore,'' Toronto organizer Peter Soumalias said. ``This is about stars.''

The idea originated at a cocktail party last summer following a music festival featuring the Rolling Stones that was held to help the recovery from SARS.

Soumalias' immediate thought was ``Saturday Night Live.'' But when he talked about his idea with Myers, the comedian mentioned O'Brien and pointed him toward another party guest: Toronto native Lorne Michaels, who produces ``Late Night'' along with ``Saturday Night Live.''

Michaels and O'Brien thought it was a great idea.

``I'd love to pretend that I'm doing this because I believe in helping Toronto,'' O'Brien said. ``But really what it is is that it makes sense for us. I really love the city. When you think about it, so much great talent comes out of Canada, particularly Toronto and Montreal.''

Not that he feels his show is in any rut, but O'Brien believes taking a road trip is healthy to help shake things up.

The only other such ``Late Night'' trip was a week in Los Angeles in 1999. Fire chased ``Late Night'' from its studio one night in 1996, and the show was also done from the Circle Line boat cruising around Manhattan in 1995.

``There is so much Canadian pride that has never had the opportunity to be put on display,'' said Soumalias, founder of the Canadian Walk of Fame. ``That's why this is going to be huge.''

There were many times more ticket requests than could be accommodated in the 1,000-seat theater. O'Brien quipped that he wanted to ``tell everybody that they've got a ticket and hope that there's rioting.''

The trip has faced some criticism in Canada for its public financing. Ninety percent of the $1 million bill for moving ``Late Night'' for a week is being paid by the provincial and federal governments, the rest through private sponsorships.

A Canadian taxpayers group and the National Post newspaper, in an editorial, criticized the spending. A miffed Soumalias briefly tried to retaliate by barring the National Post from attending any of the tapings, but quickly backed down.

O'Brien doubts he would have been able to persuade NBC to pay $1 million for a trip to a city where viewership isn't measured by Nielsen Media Research, so the trip would not have been possible without the money, he said.

He's made a couple of trips to Toronto to shoot comedy footage and ``I never run into anybody who is unhappy their tax dollars are being spent on this,'' O'Brien said.

In one of his filmed comedy bits, O'Brien wears a Canadian Mountie uniform to patrol the border with the United States. ``I'm getting a Tom Ridge commendation,'' he said.

O'Brien, who has a 3 1/2-month-old daughter, Neve, at home, has a different reason for looking forward to a week away from home.

``I'm going to be in a hotel for five nights,'' he said. ``I'm going to really miss my wife and kid, but seven or eight hours straight of sleep will really be a nice thing.''

-------------------
sounds cool. thoughts?
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Old 08 Feb 2004, 03:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It Should Be good stuff. I can't wait to see him on Much on demand tomorrow!
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Old 08 Feb 2004, 03:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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More spam from sam hoping to get a mod spot?
Better odds of the universe imploding next week than that ever happening.
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Old 08 Feb 2004, 03:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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no... i was actually trying to not spam as much and put out real posts......
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Old 08 Feb 2004, 03:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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a refreshing change for you sam. good to see it!
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Old 08 Feb 2004, 05:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I really wanted to go see one of his shows when he was in Toronto. But I just never got around to it...
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Old 09 Feb 2004, 05:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Conan kicks ass... IMO the best of the late night hosts...he better bring Triumph...

hot diggety damn thats a good guest lineup too.
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Old 09 Feb 2004, 05:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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how conan gets slumped into the midnight timeslot, and boring ass jay leno gets primo timeage will forever be a mystery to me. conan is so much funnier than leno, but im hoping that conan will get that tonight show slot whenever leno hangs up the ol boots.
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Old 09 Feb 2004, 06:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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^shit... in the US leno is before conan? thats a travesty
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