The first person we see on tonight's TBS special, Team Coco Presents The Conan Writers Live, is a writer of the online variety as Team Coco's blogger Aaron Bleyaert visits the dressing room of host Andy Richter.
The first person we see performing onstage is Reggie Watts, the musical talent and Team Coco's opening act on this spring's North American theater tour as suggested by Conan's TV writers. Watts provides the special's theme music and also delivers a rather straightforward — well, in as much as anything Watts does can be construed as straightforward — song about women who carry big ass purses.
And as Richter notes in his opening monologue, it's a wonder any of the writers are getting primetime TV exposure, joking: "The main reason you're getting to see them at all is because Conan cannot be on TV until the fall. And as I think everybody knows by now, Conan is very easily threatened and unbelievably insecure. So he has been keeping these guys down for years. But not tonight!"
As for the writers who we do get to see on TV, Brian Kiley kicks things off properly with a tight five-minute set of his well-crafted one-liners about parenting. After the first commercial break, Richter introduces Deon Cole by noting that Cole had performed so well as a stand-up on Conan's show that they hired him to join the writing staff full-time. Cole, a native of the Chicago suburbs, joked about curing a hangover with a hangover, what it's like to be the only black person in the writers' room, and closed with a routine about the things black and white people don't want to do in front of the other race.
Jimmy Pardo, the warm-up comedian for Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show audiences, gets a shout-out for his Never Not Funny podcast in Richter's introduction. And I'm going to avoid the trap Pardo set for bloggers, instead choosing to focus on his otherwise meta routine and his one-liner roast of Watts, who remained onstage throughout the taping: "What don't you have: Scissors or a mirror?"
Josh Comers got introduced with the selling point of still having "that new writer smell." Comers wondered why little girls would ever wear a T-shirt saying "You Wish" across the chest, what it's like when your landlord is a Holocaust survivor, and boasted that one joke makes him lose 10 Facebook friends every time he tells it. You'll know it when you hear it.
Andres du Bouchet closes out the special, and Richter introduced him as a veteran of the NYC comedy scene since 1996 and, for Conan's viewers, as the "Tiger Woods joke caddy." Du Bouchet came out in character with a smoking jacket and gave the audience a preview of the one-man musical about his life: "100 and Me Percent: The Andres du Bouchet Saga." And yes, he did include the number about 9/11.
For those of you keeping track, Matt O'Brien and Dan Cronin also performed sets at the tapings which did not make it to broadcast. Eric Andre also provided an energetic stand-up routine as the warm-up comedian.
Team Coco Presents The Conan Writers Live debuts at 10 p.m. Eastern tonight on TBS.