I wasn’t able to post to Nostalgia Corner last Friday because my day was just NUTS (okay, so my mom was visiting and I spent my scant free time writing about The Office clip show)! So here’s a belated but still relevant edition.
As we all know (and have probably watched) by now Conan O’Brien closed out his tenure as host of the Tonight Show last Friday with guests Will Ferrell, Neil Young and Tom Hanks. Vulture already noted that Hanks, a frequent late night visitor and guest on Conan’s second Tonight Show, also holds the distinction of appearing on David Letterman’s last show as host of Late Night. But I would like to focus less on Hanks’ propensity for appearing on sign-offs, but rather on his relationship with Conan O’Brien. Conan often still seems like the young guy, the gawky, redheaded kid, but the truth his he’s being holding court in late night for 17 years, and he’s actually known Hanks for over 20 years, as O’Brien was a writer on SNL in the late 80s when Hanks was the go-to host (hosting five times in five years, on pace at the time to shatter all hosting records). They even discussed this on the show last Friday, with Hanks revealing that he called Conan and his fellow writers Bob Odenkirk and Robert Smigel the “boiler-room boys.” And the two sketches that Hanks is probably most associated with – “Mr. Short-Term Memory” & the “Girl Watchers” – were written by O’Brien, and Conan even appears in Hanks’ most memorable monologue “The Five Timer’s Club” (although Conan identifies himself as “Sean”). But, for today, we’re going to highlight Hanks’ monologue from his third hosting stint in October of 1988, a bit that includes Conan’s first appearance on SNL (in denim vest!). The ties that bind:
It’s true, Tom Hanks is the nicest guy in Hollywood. Maybe in any wood. And possibly the funniest. Chris Rock once said that if Hanks had “grown up with less education, he’d be the greatest comedian who ever lived,” and I believe it. I think it’s high that time Hanks attached himself to a straight-up comedy and showed these kids how it’s done (Bosom Buddies: The Movie???).
Bonus viewing: Conan lauding Hanks on Inside the Actor’s Studio.
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