Apparently, Conan O’Brien is really just a song-and-dance man.
O’Brien’s opening number at last Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards—a gleeful send-up of NBC’s ratings troubles set to the tune of "Ya Got Trouble" from The Music Man—wasn’t the first time the Late Night host has drawn inspiration from the classic Meredith Wilson musical.
One of O’Brien’s favorite Simpsons episodes (which he also happened to have written) was the fourth season’s "Marge vs. the Monorail," in which a charming huckster in the mold of The Music Man’s Harold Hill persuades the people of Springfield to build a monorail they don’t need. "The Monorail Song" (available on the album Songs in the Key of Springfield) is a rousing showstopper with a capital S.
In his commentary on the episode that accompanies The Simpsons: Season Four DVD, O’Brien professes his love for The Music Man and reveals that he actually was offered the role of Hill in the 1999 Broadway revival but had to decline due to scheduling difficulty.
O’Brien was on vacation last week and unavailable to comment. But posters to the message boards at BroadwayWorld.com roundly applauded his "brilliant" performance. "I’d pay top dollar for that," wrote one. "He was better than guys I’ve paid 100 bucks to see," added another.
Nice to know that, if his network really heads south, he’s got something to fall back on.