Fans sad as Conan packs up for L.A.
Theres always been something very New York about Late Night with Conan OBrien.
From the comedy bits around Rockefeller Center to conversations with New Yorkers on the street, OBriens off-the-wall show connected with the city since it first started in 1993.
But tomorrow, OBrien will say good night from his midtown studio for the last time as the show packs up for Los Angeles, where he will become the new host for The Tonight Show beginning in June.
While his fans in the city are fairly confident Hollywood wont change Conan too
much, they say he belongs in New York City.
Its sad to see him go. He seems more New York, but youve got to take the opportunities where they come, said Heidi Newhart, 28, a fan from Astoria whos watched the show for 10 years.
Last night Mayor Bloomberg appeared on Late Night and gave Conan a key as a gift. When Conan said, "I'm stunned. I'm receiving a key to New York City," the mayor replied it was actually the key to the Port Authority mens bathroom.Its really sad hes going to go because hes done so much comedy related to New York, said Kumar Kintala, 25, of the Upper East Side.
OBrien, who took over Late Night in 1993 when David Letterman moved to CBS, will take his band and most of his writers to California with him. Hes assured fans the change of scenery wont change him.
It would be a mistake to reinvent myself as a completely different person now, he told the AP.
Its not as if fans didnt try to convince NBC execs to keep the wildly popular host in town.
Aaron Weyenberg, a 33-year-old web programmer from Connecticut, got 318 signers to his online petition at www.keepconan.com, which he started three weeks ago.
The goal was to let the network and Conan know that theyre part of the city now, he said, adding that when Conan leaves a slice of the city will go with it.
I was hoping it be in the thousand to get some traction, said Weyenberg, whos spent a lot of time in the city. The idea was to get a mention on there (Conans show).
He also said hes worried that the new Tonight Show, with its 11:30 p.m. timeslot and new location wont be the same as the Late Night Conan fans have grown to love.
Marys Fish Camp, a restaurant in the West Village, also had its own petition. The eatery got more than 70 signatures in one day, and when Conan found out, the show did a segment on it, which resulted in hundreds of more signatures, waitress Marianne Shiel said.
I was pretty surprised by the enthusiasm and zeal that people has to sign, Shiel said It was fun, even though we knew it was a lost cause.
It would be nice if he stayed, she added. His own kind of idiocy works well in New York City.
OBrien reportedly joked on the show that he would need 1 percent of the worlds population to sign keep him in New York.
An NBC spokesman said Conan and his staff have truly enjoyed their 16 years in the city and will be sad to leave Rockefeller Centers studio.
(Marlene Naanes contributed to this story)