Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Conan - Nobody comes out looking good from this

It has recently come to my attention that on Jan. 5th of this year, Mr. C. O'Brien hosted the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2005 keynote presentation in Las Vegas, featuring the world's richest man in the world, Bill Gates.

Even on paper, this had all the ingredients of a wreck:
  • an hour-long interview with a hand-rubbing, charmless, disconnected billionaire
  • a geeky geeky (as opposed to hip geeky) business-conference audience
  • a cavernous venue
  • the fact that the whole thing is basically a Microsoft infomercial
The execution itself proved even better, what with its:
  • creepy, painfully cheap replication of Late Night, in both format and presentation, and
  • the almost inevitable failed product demonstration in which his own products make Bill Gates look foolish (see video snippet here) - to his credit, Conan does take full advantage of the awkwardness
My first emotion was anger and involved a loss of Conan-respect; after all, no matter how many dumptrucks full of money they would have rolled up to his house, I just couldn't see the necessity of all the sellout-y-ness. However, upon deeper consideration, I arrived at the thought that perhaps as a result of the whole MSNBC partnership, Microsoft told NBC "give us your finest man" and so Conan was doing it simply as a contractual obligation (perhaps that's just me regressing to denial).

So, if you would like to experience it in its full car-crashingest glory, click here for the 100k or 300k video - Conan comes in at around the 6:20 mark (for those time- or broadband-challenged, you can read the transcript but that does reduce the impact somewhat).

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