Night II of Conan O'Brien's "Tonight Show" was a mild improvement over the first. You could see that the pressure was off somewhat, that Conan and Andy are reestablishing their on-air relationship, that Green Day was good (and much more animated than when they performed on "SNL") and that Tom Hanks was there. The Twitter bit went on too long but was genuinely Conanesque; the Obama bit didn't really work -- except for Conan's noticing that the president probably forgot Conan's name. The I'm-new-to-LA bits will have to stop eventually, but the Rodeo Road bit was worth it just for the closing shot of Conan walking to "Pretty Woman."
And Hanks brought up a true Cali landmark in talking up In-N-Out Burger. I've made some pilgrimages there.
But since there's a burger theme going -- Will Ferrell mentioned Burger King, Hanks In-N-Out -- Conan needs to nod to Pasadena's legendary Pie 'n Burger. I miss many things from my going-to-LA days, and that's one of them.
Hanks, of course, is the most reliably entertaining talk-show guest these days, and he saved Conan any heavy lifting with comments about "Star Trek" (with a Dennis Haysbert aside that made clear Hanks is still prepping for the show while waiting in the green room) and working with Ron Howard. Also, he took the meteor shot like a trouper. Of course, whenever I see Hanks going off during a talk show, I am reminded of his Slappy White story on Letterman, which helped set Hanks's status as a talk-show saver:
Earlier this week I chatted some with Mary Murphy of "So You Think You Can Dance." My story from the interview is here.
Finally, for reasons I'm not clear about, the CD "The Here and the Now," from Sam & Ruby, was in my mail. Have been playing it, and liking it quite a bit. Jazzy, bluesy, amiable, occasionally surprising. Here's a clip of them in performance: