For my money, the staring contests were arguably the funniest recurring bit in the history of Conan O'Brien's show(s). Wait, that's a lie, the Chuck Norris lever was probably funnier. And probably the still photos of Max, Andy and Conan's days out (and later, Conan, Max and Joel's days out). And don't forget about prejudiced 1940's ghost singer Artie Kendall. Or Secrets. Or Max's PSAs.
Okay, so my point is the staring contests were AMONGST THE FUNNIEST of Conan's recurring bits. And, best of all, several are kept alive through the magic of YouTube. Let's take a walk down memory lane, back when Conan had a show on network television!
Insert the obligatory "man, these guys look so young" comment here. Even Max looks like a sprightly young chap, albeit a young chap who's playing the theme song to a long-cancelled TV show...It's great how legitimately fired up the crowd gets in support of Andy....Forgotten 90's celebrity who's the opening guest: Debra Norville!
Note Matt Walsh from the Upright Citizens Brigade as the magician...And, Amy Poehler playing Kerri Strug! Poehler (also a member of the UCB) made a number of appearances on Conan's old show, most notably in her role as Andy's little sister Stacy who had a crush on Conan......Forgotten 90's celebrity who's the opening guest: Shannon Miller!
I want a screencap of Max grinning while holding that sign......Forgotten 90's celebrity who's the opening guest: Phil Hartman! Wait, nobody's forgotten about Phil Hartman, he was the man.
I'm not sure what Andy found so horrifying about the bald kid. Baldness can strike at any age, Richter! Some of us can't fight it! *gets down off soapbox*.....I can't tell if it's laziness or genius that the gay porn magazine was just called 'Gay Porn'.....The robot on the toilet almost legit cracked Andy up. I think it was raising his arms in celebration that really got him. And really, who hasn't celebrated taking a crap in that manner? Nobody else? Oh.....What's with the audience hooting at the model like it's a Married With Children taping or something? It's a pretty girl in a bikini, audience! Grow up!.....It's a tie! Andy's on the scoreboard! Forgotten 90's celebrity who's the opening guest: Kathleen Turner. She's another memorable one but let's be honest, Kathleen Turner stopped being relevant quite a while ago.
"The first one to break concentration is the loser and goes to hell."....Poor Johnny Carson, shot in the head with no mercy....That head removal was an impressive bit of CGI. And by impressive, I mean, impressive for a late 90's late-night talk show that had a minimal budget.....Forgotten 90's celebrity who's the opening guest: Ray Liotta! Holy crap, he's not forgotten! Everyone remembers that famous bit of Hollywood lore that claims Liotta has a hammer-shaped penis!
Later In 1998
About half of this clip is comprised of a bit about outdated posters at 30 Rock, the best moment of which is probably Conan not realizing that 'Suddenly Susan' and 'Caroline In The City' are no longer on the air.....Boy, that joke about letting the terrorists know where the show shoots is a real 'urrrrrk,' collar-tightening moment given that it's three years before 9/11.....Oh man, Rocker. Public enemy #1 in New York City in the late 90's.....I dunno, if I saw John Wilkes Booth killed, Abe Lincoln spared and then the president and his rescuer sharing a happy gig, I wouldn't look disgusted. Maybe Andy is secretly a supporter of the Confederate States Of America.....I can honestly say that's the biggest vibrator I've ever seen. The previous sentence is a great candidate for "strangest out-of-context lines Mark has ever written on this blog.".....Forgotten 90's celebrity who's the opening guest: Kevin Pollak! There is a 120 percent chance that Pollak did his Christopher Walken impression on the show. Pollak and Jay Mohr should honestly just quit acting and devote their lives to being professional Walken impersonators.
Starting around a minute in, it's the staring contest from Andy's last show on Late Night. He wouldn't rejoin Conan until O'Brien took over the Tonight Show in 2009. Not to spoil things, but this staring contest has a unique result. Actually, wait, even hinting at it totally spoiled things.....Future SNL cast member Rob "Pow! Pow!" Riggle as the football player in the opening bit.....Another near crackup from Andy on the parrots and the pirates.....I love how they saved the most horrifying bit of all for the very last Staring Contest ever. Max jumping into the mix was amazing. Few people have been as good sports about humiliating themselves on live TV as Max Weinberg.