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Conan O'Brien Triumphs at Tower Theatre

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After Conan O’Brien walked off with his platinum parachute of $45 million, his fans wonderedPhoto: http://www.collider.com/wp-content/image-base/People/C/Conan_OBrien/Conan%20OBrien%20Im%20With%20Coco%20image.jpg what he’d do next. Before long Team COCO announced his 32-city Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour. Last Monday, Conan and his friends took over the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby for a fun filled night of stand up, music, and special guest appearances.

The Tower, which was built in the late ‘20s, was the perfect location for this variety show - as his big band opened up with rousing numbers that carried its members into the aisles. Next up – a short video portrayed Conan has an overweight, depressed mess surrounded by empty pizza boxes and wine bottles before receiving the magic phone call – offering him the tour job. The video quickly switched to chronicling his transformation back to his lanky self.

Conan then came out on stage wearing an orange Flyers jersey before he tossed it to a fan in the audience. He thanked the audience for their support – and explained how he was so excited to be at the Tower because he thought Upper Darby sounded “posh” compared to Philadelphia. His monologue was peppered with references to our region – cheese steaks, the giant clothespin, and our hopes for the Stanley Cup. In between the frivolity he explained that because of the terms of his deal, “I’m under specific legal restrictions…I’m not allowed to perform on radio, television or the Internet.” He gushed, no one has “ever paid to see me… this is the first time…they paid me to go away.”

Andy Richter came out and joined Conan for their classic banter. They mixed things up with another short set of music parodies - Conan provided lead guitar, his two lovely backup singers, the Coquettes carried the tunes. They kept the pace of the night moving quickly – Conan would step off stage, and someone else would pick up where he left off. After Richter, Deon Cole, one of the writer’s from The Tonight Show, came up for an amusing set of stand up. Conan came back for a rocking instrumental version of the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army.

Apparently, in some of the major cities there have been unannounced special guests that popped up through the night. Philadelphia drew some great surprises – Trey Anastasio  of Phish came out to perform a set, and good man, he was wearing a black and orange Flyers jersey. The biggest surprise of the night was when Conan introduced an Upper Darby local – Tina Fey. She came out looking like a more relaxed and glamorous version of Liz Lemon, her character on 30 Rock.

Towards the end of the evening Conan ran around the entire theatre, up to the balcony and back, high fiving fans. He joined the rest of his band onstage for a few more musical numbers and thanked the audience for their support and encouragement.

Conan has solidified his place in America’s hearts as the comedic underdog – watch out Mr. Leno.

Contact Diane Cooney at: DC@dianecooney.com

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