5. Conan Visits the American Girl Store (2013)
The same man who wanted to live on the open road as a trucker in 1997 found himself having lunch with a doll in 2013. Conan O’Brien probably wouldn’t want his career to have turned out any other way.
We get pretty much everything we could want from a Conan remote in this one. It’s set in a very specific but not too strange of a location. The staff take their jobs and situation very seriously. Conan is both self-deprecating and self-aggrandizing for comedy. Conan delivers broad jokes with the same ease he improvises a very specific and very absurd back story for his doll.
His interactions with the waiter are reflective of the later Conan that maybe didn’t engage with strangers the same way. Rather than playing along with the scenario the waiter wants to create, Conan is mocking without being mean. That is a very difficult trick to pull off but he does it by feeding in through the bit of the doll acting like a brat.
The voice and attitude that Conan gives Agnes the doll is the clear highlight of the piece. It must be difficult to commit to a bit in front of people that aren’t necessarily laughing along but knowing that the payoff comes when the television audience sees it. The clips makes for a great example of Conan O’Brien as a performer.