Tuesday, 21 December 2010



“And They Call Me Mad?” is a statement that I often find myself uttering out loud.  Alas in the act of making such an external comment crazy is all that compounds being explicitly received.  You can’t win.  Conan O’Brien knows that from his experience dealing with Jay Leno.  He has however survived and become a cooler cat for it.  And now he is releasing records with Jack White.

Sporting an uneasy expression on the sleeve O’Brien delivers an echoey monologue that sounds like the kind of thing a Simpsons writer would author. In other words it reminds me of Dana Gould.  That and the kind classic recorded passage Carl Reiner or even Bob Newhart might come up with.

O’Brien’s voice sounds strange.  Perhaps due to contractual obligations it is best that it is not easily recognised by lawyers and accountants alike.  View from an artistic perspective, this is a performer fully immersing himself in character, in his creation.  It’s a classic style, a classic device.

“And They Call Me Mad?” is a one-sided conversation with a Frankenstein style lunatic.  One voice is attempting to convince two minds all housed in the same skull.  You can’t help but relate his statements of reanimation relate to his own career.  As he builds “Benjamin” he proceeds to persuade his monster to kill hostile invaders outside his castle.  In camp fashion he directs it like a filmmaker, a Hollywood or TV exec type.  And all done on the promise of a latte.  This was the real life of Dr Frankenstein.

The tables turn on the flipside for O’Brien as interviewer becomes interviewee as Jack White quizzes him from the control room in grill fashion.  Who else would use an analogue recording studio for an interrogation scene?  After running through various fresh nicknames for Conan we get a genuine “how are you?” as O’Brien discusses/addresses life post-Tonight Show having gone on the road.  In a moment of satisfaction he does an impression of rapper Ludacris that sounds quite like Jay Leno except not for legal reasons.  There also maybe a confession of murder.  He has never been more on point.  As he states that he does not like jokes and holds no empathy for other humans it all turns quite confessional.  Jack White hosts quite the church in Nashville.

Spoken word instructional just might be my new favourite genre.

Thesaurus moment: sly.

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