In 2010 talk show host Conan O’Brien was fired by NBC after getting screwed around because Jay Leno‘s new show wasn’t performing well, which would result in Leno getting pushed back and Conan facing the ax. O’Brien being the comedian that he is decided it would be best to take advantage of his no TV, internet or radio clause from NBC and do a roadshow called the Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour and director Rodman Flender decided to tag along and document the whole thing.
The result is Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, a film that gives you a real look at Conan O’Brien, both on and off stage. The film is full of funny bits that most have grown accustom to on his show, but it also features a raw and more personal side to it. It really shows you the man known as Conan and not just the silly performer we’ve all grown to love. It’s funny, entertaining and most importantly honest.
The film documents Conan with just enough detail and scope to give you a realistic idea of what it’s like working or living with Conan O’Brien. It starts off with clips of a frustrated and lost Conan trying to figure out what to do after getting kicked to the curb by NBC. It quickly picks up with the idea of Conan doing a live tour around the country, which would give him time to tune up his skills and have fun with the band from the show. From the beginning of the documentary to the end, the film never wastes any time or loses focus. It balances Conan’s personal status with the tour in the perfect way that is both entertaining and revealing.
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop works for both fans of Conan or just people looking to watch an insightful documentary. The film is full of enough comedy and usual Conan shtick to evoke laughs from his usual crowd and it also features an honest story of a man that just can’t stop entertaining and engaging himself with an audience. It is established very early on in the film that Conan hates the feeling of not being in front of a crowd. He gets his high in life when in front of people and his struggle is very well documented when he is in between his NBC show and starting up the concert.
He’s emotionally stressed and burned out trying to come up with the next best thing for him. Even his appearance changes from bright and uplifting to pale and messy right back to bright and uplifting again by the announcement of his new show on TBS. Director Rodman Flender does really well being the fly on the wall holding the camera watching Conan’s life progress. It never gets to the point of him constantly doing things for the camera or becoming too aware of it, instead Conan is just interacting with people like his writers, friends and assistants and Flender gets it all on film without any distraction and still maintaining that feeling of authenticity.
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop comes to Blu-Ray with a very detailed and clear 1080p video transfer. The picture for the most part is clean and crisp, but occasional grain does sneak its way in. For a documentary I’d say it looks fairly well, but nothing perfect or jaw dropping. Bright colors pop without any problems and blacks are deep for the most part. Some night shots contain some noise, but nothing you wouldn’t expect for this type of film.
The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track provided on the disc isn’t going to be something you’ll put in to impress company. The film is very dialogue oriented and while everything spoken is very crisp and clear, the film never really takes advantage of the back channels. All of the off stage scenes usually consist of Conan and a few other people, so you can’t really discredit the audio track in that sense. When he’s on stage and with a crowd the back channels become a little more active, but it’s still nothing too special. Documentaries never really shine in the audio field, but it’s still very serviceable.
Luckily the array of special features makes up for the sort of plain audio track. Here is what Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop comes with.
- Commentary with Director Rodman Flender, Conan O’Brien, Andy Richter, Mike Sweeney and Sona Movsesian: This is a good track that stays on par with the tone of the film. The cast and crew shed some light on certain parts of the film while always keeping things fun.
- Interview with Conan O’Brien: An interview featuring Mr. O’Brien discussing how the film came about and how he made the switch between a TV show to a live tour. It’s good, but nothing new is really presented here.
- Interview Outtakes: I found these a lot funnier than the actual interview. Its Conan being silly Conan and it works very well.
- Additional Scenes: I was surprised by how much footage was actually cut from the film. These addition scenes add up to be about 42 minutes and there is some really funny stuff here. I laughed more during some of these scenes than the actual film itself. I can see why they cut most of it though because it doesn’t really further the story in anyway and the film carries a brisk 89 minute running time, so slowing it down with added weight wouldn’t have done it any favors.
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop is an engaging documentary that gives the fans a great peak at what goes on behind the scenes in the life of Conan O’Brien. It also acts as an interesting documentary about a comedian who just can’t stop entertaining the fans and giving it his all no matter what kind of mood he’s in or life problems he is dealing with.
It’s about true passion for doing something you love no matter what. It’s full of laughs but it’s also very honest and often times surprising when you really see how much Conan worries about perfecting and pleasing every single person he comes into contact with.
Rodman Flender does a good job directing from just about every aspect you can think of. The story is fun to follow and never too deep or depressing and it’s paced just right. Magnolia Home Entertainment supplies the film with a good video transfer and a faithful audio transfer as well as a nice batch of special features.
This is a must own disc for any Coco fans and a strong rental for someone who likes a good documentary that can both make them laugh and give them a better look at the crazy world of comedian late night talk show hosts! You could call it the fall and rise of Conan O’Brien or you could call it a summer in the life of one dedicated and skilled comedian. It works on all sorts of levels and it’s enjoyable for most!
Conan O'Brien Can't Stop is both funny and honest. It gives the viewer a better understanding of who O'Brien is as a person and how much he cares about his audience.