First Posted: 1/27/2010
“All you need is love …”
Consider these words carefully my friends:
“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.”
Is this, perchance, wisdom found in the pages of the Bible? Certainly could be.
Are these the words of a learned prophet or philosopher? Maybe.
Is this the message Gandhi employed to leave the world a better place?
Actually, they are the words of a tall and goofy comedian named Conan O’Brien, who had the thrill of hosting “The Tonight Show” on NBC, although the prize was fleeting.
They were his parting words and they were profound and powerful, and I hope they reached many ears.
It was hard to know who to root for in the crazy late night TV wars, Conan O’Brien or Jay Leno, the man who was at the helm of “The Tonight Show” for many years after Johnny Carson’s retirement.
I like both men. They are funny and self-effacing and both seem like genuinely nice guys.
NBC came off as the true villain by meddling in a working formula with Leno on at 11:30 p.m. and Conan following with his “Late Show” at 12:30 a.m.
In the end, it appears Conan was forced out to make way for Leno to reclaim “The Tonight Show.” NBC reportedly is paying O’Brien and his production team $45 million to make the break, with $33 million going to Conan.
The dust from this battle has left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth, and there appear to be no winners.
Both Leno and O’Brien used their standup monologues to joke wildly about the Hollywood brouhaha as it unfolded.
One night Conan was talking about the rich history of “The Tonight Show” and Carson’s legacy.
“I remember as a boy staying up to watch Johnny Carson and thinking to myself, ‘Someday I’m going to host The Tonight Show … for seven months!'”
It was one of the more bitter-sweet moments in the controversy that finally led to Conan’s quick departure.
But on his last night hosting “The Tonight Show” on Friday, Conan went out in style, taking the high road and using his powerful platform not to whine about how he’d been wronged but to prod the human spirit in a positive direction.
In a heartfelt and emotional goodbye, Conan said: “To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life.”
And then, with a nod toward young people in particular, he continued: “All I ask of you is one thing: Please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. 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 … amazing things.”
I wanted to stand up in my living room and applaud.
So maybe I’m stretching it a bit to compare Conan to Gandhi or one of the apostles. Maybe Conan’s message is closer in style and substance to Bobby McFerrin’s song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”
I’d like to think it falls somewhere in between.
Being a cynic is easy. Being positive is hard.
But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.
That is all.
Managing Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 272-6122 or