Conan and Google have a lot in common. I want to like them both. But, frankly, I don't know what to think about either of them any more. Are they sweet, bright, innocent, lovely, amusing coves? Or are they narcissistic brands that want you to love them and want to tell you how precisely how that love will be?
I was more concerned than ever about Conan when he made his appearance on last week's "60 Minutes." I mean, he's no Roger Clemens. He's no Jose Andres. Did we really need to see his tortured ego in such full bloom? Is he really so important? You know, as important as, say, Google?
So please make up your mind as you watch these three blurry snippets from Conan's visit this week to the Googleplex. He seemed to go down quite well in what can't have been easy circumstances. His audience would surely rather have been engineering to rehabilitate the world than listening to a comedian trying to rehabilitate his career.
Still, Conan, knowing that self-deprecation goes down well at Google, joked about growing his beard. It is rather fetching. It makes him more of a man. But does it really make him man enough to get on a Stanley Cup playoff team?
Conan also marveled at how young those weird little Googlies are. He offered that they might not know what the "Cosby Show" is. And he seemed desperately hopeful that they might not know what "The Tonight Show" is either. I know that many of you still feel his pain at walking away with tens of millions of dollars and straight into a new gig at TBS, so you will laugh at the sheer poignancy of the joke.
In truth, Conan has been extremely wise in adjusting to the reality that his humor appeals largely to those in the age range between "yet to experience puberty" and "yet to experience divorce." His foray on to Twitter, for example, cemented a different approach to his audience. It was, indeed, a way to show that he could offer far more than a mere TV audience to hopeful bidders.
Talking of Twitter, he visited its offices too recently. Indeed, he is said to have thanked Twitter for "saving his ass."
Now talking of Twitter and asses, I have also embedded his, his sidekick's, and even his assistant's fascination with Google's rather nifty bidet-style toilets. It is something of a joy that Conan can walk into the place in which the future is being molded and marketed and be most impressed with the back-end operation.