Based solely on two shows, I like what Conan has done with "Tonight." He's transplanted his old show to LA and kept the same zaniness that he had at 12:35 AM in New York. His interview style is the same, his rapport with his guests (Will Ferrell and Tom Hanks thus far) is well established, and I love that they kept the old band and the old show theme. Having Andy Richter back as his Ed McMahon-esque announcer is a great move, partly because it's good to see Andy getting work. I loved Conan's interview with Tom Hanks. Hanks is a great sport. One of my favorite jokes on "Late Night" was an early interview with Hanks where Conan presented him with a dog skeleton that he claimed belonged to Hanks' one-time co-star, Hooch. Last night, Conan hit Hanks with a meteor, and Hanks played along, even losing a shoe in the assault.
Tom Shales of The Washington Post doesn't agree with my sentiments. He didn't like that on Conan's opening night Ferrell appeared on the show after midnight. However, I don't remember too many nights when Jay had his guest on the show before midnight. Also, Shales pointed out that Conan's opening routine in which he ran from New York to LA was accomplished via "the magic of editing." Thank you, Captain Obvious. Did anyone watching the show really think Conan ran to LA? Finally, Shales said that Conan's monologue was "weak" and that "the sooner O'Brien stops introducing himself and starts telling funny jokes, the better." Conan has never been the stand-up comedian that Jay Leno is. He acknowledges that all the time and makes fun of his lack of joke-telling skills in his monologue. His strengths have always been his sketches and taped segments and his chemistry with his guests. I thought that Shales would know that, but maybe he never stayed up late enough to watch "Late Night."