Here is a report by Kathie Freeman (pictured at right) about her trip with me to see Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Notice she is wearing her Late Night with Conan O'Brien fifth anniversary shirt.
By Kathie Freeman
The airport at Burbank is so old - HOW OLD IS IT? - it's so old that there are analog clocks at the gates.  It was sort of charming.
I waited barely 10 minutes for the sweet and generous Steve Timko to pick me up.  It was a typical November day in LA - blue skies and plenty of sun.  We had a little time to kill before we needed to get in line for the Conan taping, so I suggested a little "in and out".
The menu at In-N-Out Burger is brief and to the point: hamburger, cheeseburger, fries.  No Coke, Pepsi.  I was satisfied.
I knew the Conan crowd would be young, but I didn't expect to overhear comments like this: "I'm SO in love with him - but he's got those little, beady eyes."
It looked like mainly UCLA students.  This was Conan's first night in LA and I thought the pages did a pretty decent job of managing the crowd and keeping the line from snarling up with the line for Lamo which was just around the corner of the NBC Studios building in beautiful downtown Burbank.  The ticket people had seriously overbooked, though - about 100 people were turned away.
A couple of sections near the front of the line were loaded in early so that the 'bye-bye Conan' shot for the desk drive could be done with a minimum of fuss.  When we got to the front, Steve requested a female security guard to frisk him.
It was very cool to be inside Studio 1A where Johnny Carson had done the Tonight Show for 20 years.  Conan's set-up was a mirror image of Johnny's - the band was stage right and the desk stage left.  While we waited, they played a lot of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sheryl Crow and a -lot- of Brian Setzer    I figured that last one was Conan's choice as he is a huge rockabilly fan.
The warm-up guy picked Steve out of the crowd to take a special bow because of his obvious gift for accessorizing.  Finally, Conan ran out and did the full-scale audience warm-up which I had never seen before in its entirety.  He did an insanely frenzied version of Elvis' "Burnin' Love" and earned a monstrous ovation.
Conan was sweating profusely during the monologue, so much so that when he wiped his brow the Kleenex stuck to his forehead.  Because it was his first night in LA, I think he might have been a little extra-nervous because it was likely that more industry types would be watching the show that week.  I don't know, sometimes he does make comments on the show that indicate that he is thinking about what else he might like to do besides the 12:30 slot.  Plus, it wasn't nearly as cold in 1A as it is in 6A in New York.
The first guest was Ben Affleck(zzzzzzz).  The most memorable thing he did was knock over his water.  Conan yelled at him. :)
Conan always displays a LOT of very jittery energy when he's not on camera - and sometimes when he is on camera. ;)  Sometimes in the breaks, Andy will talk to Conan trying to calm and reassure him. What's going to happen when Andy leaves??
Robert Smigel stood by the producer Jeff Ross during the show.  >From time to time, each of them would look back up at the audience while they were laughing.  I guess they were trying to see who thought what was funny.
This is the third time I've seen Conan tape a show and every time I see him, he is coughing his head off during the commercial breaks.  At one time I would have guessed that he's asthmatic but now I'm going to guess chronic bronchitis.
Denise Richards (new Bond girl) was wearing a great dress, but had absolutely nothing to say. Nevertheless, as her clip ran Conan told her that she was doing really well.
During one of the breaks, a couple of girls in the audience got Andy's attention and squealed "We love you!  Don't leave!"  Andy beamed and made the Pshaw! Aw, g'wan! hand gesture.
We had great seats but it was pretty hard to make out what Conan and Andy were saying during the breaks.  At one point, Conan pointed to something on a cue card and said "Get rid of that."  When Bobby Bowman brought Andy some water, he said "Thank you."  Pretty earth-shaking, huh?
The Act 4 skit involved bringing out Howie Mandel whose short-lived show had also taped in 1A.  The confetti cannons went off, the balloons rained down and the idea was for the crowd to give Mandel a standing ovation.  But this crowd retained a modicum of self-respect.  They played along - applauding, but not going insane.  I guess the staff had an inkling that this might occur, so a cue card was held up to the audience that read "STANDING OVATION".  Even with that, people still didn't get to their feet until Conan himself motioned them up.  Steve, I'm proud of you for refusing to stand. :)  Me?  I do what Conan tells me to do. :)
Robert Schimmel's stand-up was so out-of-bounds that Andy and Conan actually exchanged surprised glances.  Conan looked over at Jeff Ross with a "Can we use this?" look on his face.  It all made air. I'll never view airport toilet water the same way again.
At the very end of the show, Conan did something Dave will never, ever do.  He shook hands with about a dozen people in the audience after he said his final good-night.
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