Saturday, April 10, 2010

Let's Have Fun on the Internets

I've never been a late night talk show person. My parents didn't really watch Leno or Letterman when I was younger, and damn sure didn't let me stay up to watch them of my own volition. By the time I was old enough to stay up that late and watch TV, I was usually directed to the Daily Show and Adult Swim. Never had anything against them, they were just never apart of my television lifestyle.

So I surprised myself when I felt drawn to watch Conan O'Brien's last two weeks on air for the Tonight Show*. My friends had been telling me for years to watch him, that I'd love him, yadda yadda, but they were largely ignored (I did enjoy him with Stewart and Colbert during the Writer's Strike though). Still, a part of me wanted to support Conan for getting the shaft, and I was kind of interested to see how someone who knew he was getting screwed spent his last few weeks on air.

*This may seem horribly outdated, but it isn't. Promise. Just hang in there.

And let me tell you, I ate it up. I loved it and immediately regretted not watching it all along. My roommates and I watched every single backlogged episode we could find on Hulu, and watched the last few nights live. It was great, great stuff.

Then, when the last episode came along, in his opening monologue, Conan said something that was meaningful to me at the time, but 100 times more meaningful to me now.

"Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. It's my least favorite quality. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. [...] So no more cynicism; let's have fun on television!"

It was really interesting to see how many people genuinely seemed to care about the end of Conan's run, both outside and inside of the industry. He had a slew of guests all come on and tell him how much he would be missed. Neil Young thanked Conan for all he'd done for up-and-coming musicians after a great rendition of "Long May You Run." There were dozens of "I'm with Coco" rallies across America. Much of the country seemed genuinely sad to see him go.


A few days ago, I was voraciously YouTubing when I stumbled upon this interview of the late, great George Carlin that was done a loonnnggg time ago by a (very) young Jon Stewart. Around the 9-minute mark, Stewart asks him if, after all the Emmy's and awards and accolades, it was still about the basic idea of "Hey, dig me?" Carlin reponds:

"Hey look at me, ain't I cute. {...} The job is called showing off, and if you can get them to not only stop and listen but say 'isn't he cute?' In my school we didn't have grades, so we didn't have A's, B's and C's and D's. The only A's I got, and this is a little corny, I got their Attention, I got their Approval, their Admiration, their Approbation and their Applause. And those were the only A's I wanted. And I got 'em."


I recently just got my 1,000th page view since March 12th or so and have reached 20-some followers. The first I thought would take me months and months to achieve (even with my occasional self-clicking) and the second I doubted would ever happen (especially if I allowed this blog to taper off like all the others). I've gotten a lot of compliments about my stuff the last few weeks from people who say that the simply enjoy what I do and that all the time I put into doing these posts is at least a little appreciated, if only for a couple minutes. It still puts a smile on my face to imagine a few people each day come onto my site and let out even a small chuckle over something that I've created (though apparently they won't be doing much of that on this post....)

I've also heard a lot of stuff about the things I write and say for the newspaper and radio. I'm sure plenty of it is them simply being nice, but still, it makes me feel good. So all this got me thinking about what I want to do when I grow up (which is still, like, ten year away, right? Right??). I've never been able to find many things in my life that I'm especially passionate about. I came into college not having a clue about what I wanted to be. I liked writing, so English seemed like a good idea. One bad English class, later, I said no thanks. Then I changed to History/Political Science. Which are both things that I enjoy, but there aren't many direct career paths with either of them aside from lawyer/teacher. I don't want to be a lawyer (sorry Mom...) and don't think I'd have the patience to teach kids who didn't want to be there.

Through past experiences, I've always known that I want to be around and work with other people in whatever I decide I want to do. But now, I think I want something more: I want to be able to entertain people. I know I'll never be the next great sports writer, or write a hit best-selling novel, or become a stand-up comedian, or the next Conan, or any of that other stuff. But maybe I'll get to write for a newspaper someday. Or work as a program director for a radio station.

Or maybe I'll do something else and just keep blogging.

Point is, I want to be able to connect to people and have them connect to me, and have them say "Ain't he cute?" And if I can do that, then I know I won't be wasting my time.

"I'm not comparing myself to these people, believe me. But you wouldn't ask Picasso 'When are you gonna put those brushes down? Get rid of the canvas, you've done it!' I'm an entertainer, first and foremost, but there's art involved here. And an artist has an obligation to be en route, to be going somewhere. There's a journey involved here, you don't know where it is and that's the fun. So you're always going to be seeking and looking and going and trying to challenge yourself. So without sitting around and thinking about that a lot, it drives you and it keeps you trying to be fresh, trying to be new and to call on yourself a little more." -Carlin


Final notes:

1) Basically, thanks to everyone who reads this, subscribers or one-timers. You make my day/week/month.
2) I feel bad for having only one picture in this post, so here's this:

3) Funny will be back tomorrow. Or whenever I post again (depends on level of procrastination).
4) I had a fourth note, but it's gone now. So, uh, thanks. Again.


Hey! Look Behind You! said...

Just keep doing your things and stuff you enjoy and soon enough you'll find people who connect with you on that same level and so on. I've loved horror movies my whole life but I've never been *jazz hands* shout it to the world kinda girl. When made a friend in college that was into it too, he opened the world to horror conventions to me which I've made friends through and found people I can connect to blah blah, then came the blog and I found more people to connect to (even non-horror fans) so things always tend to fall into place and they totally will for you!

soft nonsense said...

Thank you for the kind words. Though If you're not a jazz-hander, I don't know how much I can trust them....

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