I read an article in Saturday’s LA Times by Neal Gabler that analyzed the whole Leno-Conan debacle. His basic point was that NBC made their decisions based on demographics. Conan was young and hip and drew the more desirable audience and Leno was old and stodgy and was the darling of the elder set. He ends by saying:
As O’Brien faded into the evening last night with bundles of cash and newfound martyrdom, the baby boomers have finally gotten some small measure of revenge, however old and dorky and undesirable they may be.
Gee thanks, Neal. Not many people are willing to come out and champion us old, washed up, bland, relics. You forgot to mention that we’re also too dumb to program DVRS.
If I may speak for a moment for the glue factory generation, there are many baby boomers – despite our now limited hearing and eyesight – that prefer Conan O’Brien over Jay Leno. It’s not so much a matter of hipness; it’s that we find O’Brien funnier and more original. Y’know, before we were museum pieces we boomers were the first “counter culture”. We fucking invented it. We created SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and it was groundbreaking then, not the 30th generation faint carbon copy it is today. What are today’s rock acts doing that is that much different from what we grey beards established in the 60s?
Yes, Jay Leno beat David Letterman in the ratings. And NBC was stupid for ever wanting to replace him. But how much of Jay’s success was as a result of (a) the generation that proceeds us, and (b) enough people of any age just don’t like Dave?
Leno’s return to THE TONIGHT SHOW was not a victory for baby boomers. It was a concession to conservatism and mediocrity. We baby boomers like Conan O’Brien, 30 ROCK, THE HANGOVER, Beyonce, THE DAILY SHOW, sushi, and even those computer things the kids today are all raving about.