The long, strange story of Conan O’Brien‘s exit from NBC and the national comedy/music revue tour that followed gets its final chapter — or coda, really — in the form of the documentary Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop. The film premiered at SXSW and landed distribution that will see the film hitting VOD and AT&T’s U-verse platforms before a small theatrical opening. (In other words, watch it on VOD when you get the chance, because it might not play your town.) The film was praised for offering a relatively unvarnished look at the behind the scenes production of Conan’s tour, and for showing people the less-flattering aspects of his mental state at the time. You’ll get a glimpse of that in the new trailer for the film, which is after the break.
Mostly, the trailer focuses on the more well-known aspects of Conan’s personality: a little self-deprecation, a little bravado, and a lot of zaniness. But you’ll also see some of the film’s mix of despair and the backstage angst and planning that went into the creation of the Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour.
Apple has Conan’s hair in HD for you to examine every follicle.
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After a much-publicized departure from hosting NBC’s Tonight Show – and the severing of a 22-year relationship with the network – O’Brien hit the road with a 32-city music-and-comedy show to exercise his performing chops and exorcise a few demons. The “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour” was O’Brien’s answer to a contractual stipulation that banned his appearance on television, radio and the Internet for six months following his last show. Filmmaker Rodman Flender’s resulting documentary, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, is an intimate portrait of an artist trained in improvisation, captured at the most improvisational time of his career. It offers a window into the private writers room and rehearsal halls as O’Brien’s “half-assed show” (his words) is almost instantly assembled and mounted to an adoring fan base. At times angry, mostly hilarious, O’Brien works out his feelings about the very-public separation with comedy and rockabilly music, engaging in bits with on-stage guests such as Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Jim Carrey, duetting with Jack White and sweating out manic Elvis Presley covers with his band and back-up singers. We see a comic who does not stop — performing, singing, pushing his staff and himself. Did Conan O’Brien hit the road to give something back to his loyal fans, or did he travel across the continent, stopping at cities large (New York, Las Vegas) and remote (Enoch, Alberta) to fill a void within himself?