After doing his best to support his staff, Conan is coming back to work and his message on why he’s doing it is refreshingly realistic and humanistic.
“With the New Year upon us, I am left with a difficult decision,” he said in a statement released by NBC Monday morning. “Either go back to work and keep my staff employed or stay dark and allow 80 people, many of whom have worked for me for fourteen years, to lose their jobs.
“If my show were entirely scripted I would have no choice,” he added. “But the truth is that shows like mine are hybrids, with both written and non-written content. An unwritten version of ‘Late Night,’ though not desirable, is possible – and no one has to be fired.”
Of course the WGA writers can’t help but feel pure fury at that since in their minds the additional staff are just a bunch of parasites who barely have any right to exist on the same planet, let alone draw a salary and who only have jobs because of the genius of the writers.
But let’s face reality, Conan is actually a pretty good writer himself, a better writer than he is a performer even. So while Late Night may be a bit awkward, if Conan really wants to, he can fill in the material and the reality is the funniest parts of Late Night still involve skits more than jokes that rely on formulae characters that don’t exactly require a lot of tough writing. I mean does anyone really need to work hard to write up a routine for Robot on the Toilet or Masturbating Bear?
Meanwhile the chin is coming back to work too
“Now that the talks have broken down and there are no further negotiations scheduled I feel it’s my responsibility to get my 100 non-writing staff, which were laid off, back to work,” Leno said. “We fully support our writers and I think they understand my decision.”
I doubt they do, but it’s a reasonable position. The WGA has decided to try and starve out the industry rather than negotiate, a tactic now backfiring.