If you’re not familiar with “Asian Conan” you might think that I’ve lost my marbles. By now, everyone is obviously caught up with the Late Night drama and is aware that The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien was suddenly and dramatically removed from the NBC/Universal lineup.
So here is how and why Asian Conan started:
On January 18th, nationwide rallies were held in support of Conan O’Brien and Staff. The events were organized through artist Mike Mitchell’s “I’m with CoCo” Facebook page, and were covered by National news groups. TMZ ran live streaming footage of the Burbank rally throughout the day.
I’ve had the great honor of being a guest on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien three times in the short seven months of its history. During that time, I’ve grown very close to many of the staffers (big ups to my producer Rachel Witlieb-Bernstein) and wanted to do what I could to help and offer support for what was going on.
Not sure exactly how it happened, but Josh Simpson, Brad Schultz (from the humor website Funny or Die), Mike Mitchell, and I ended up with the fictitious character…“Asian Conan”.
[side note: Funny or Die is the humor website created by Will Farrell and Mike McKay - you should check out their celebrity-studded FOD Exclusives if you haven't yet]
The initial thought behind Asian Conan was to stage a mock street fight with “Asian Jay Leno” (played by Sam “Smokey” Looc) at the Burbank rally to help keep spirits high during the torrential downpour that hit Los Angeles that week.
What we didn’t realize was the tremendous internet reception the character would receive. So now that all content from the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien has been pulled from the internet and Conan may or may not be able to make appearances and may or may not be negotiating a deal with another network for a new show, we thought we’d take Asian Conan to the next level and create a comedy short to keep support going during this blackout time.
This time around Asian Conan is a little darker and a lot more brooding. We thought this would be the best approach to spare you guys of my horrible Conan O’Brien impersonations. Think of an urban Kwai Chang Kane in Kung Fu wearing a nice suit and red wig and you’ve got the concept. Episodes of Asian Conan will be shown exclusively on www.funnyordie.com
Former Tonight Show staffers showed up in droves for our first day of shooting to lend helping hands as background actors and crew for this no-budget shoot. Pierre Bernard (who has a tour de force comedy performance as the lead villain) plays the main heavy, and LaBamba and Aaron Bleyaert make memorable appearances.
[spoiler alert: Aaron entered the location with two arms, but leaves with only one]
Also look out for a special cameo appearance by Los Angeles news reporter Suzanne Marques playing herself.
You can keep updated on Asian Conan news on the Asian Conan facebook pag. For super up to date info on whose cynical, unkind, lazy ass Asian Conan is going to serve, follow him on Twitter.
CLICK INDIVIDUAL IMAGES BELOW TO ENLARGE:
Nick Petronzio (my brother-in-law) for playing a “heavy” and also doubling as a set photographer for the day.
Nacho and Jose Saucedo at the Westside Boxing Club in Los Angeles for generously allowing us to use their gym as our main location.
All the friends and families of Team Conan who came out to lend a hand, add some laughs, play parts, and even do some stunts.