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Posted at 8:28 AM ET, 11/10/2010

'Conan' night two: The comedy by the numbers

By Jen Chaney

After Monday night's debut of "Conan," plenty of critics -- including the Post's Hank Stuever and the New York Times's Alessandra Stanley -- pointed out that Conan O'Brien spent a bit too much time on NBC/"Tonight Show"/Jay Leno-related humor.

We see their point. And this was something, as we noted Monday, that we feared. Which is why, starting today for what will presumably be a very limited time, we're instituting a "Conan" NBC joke count. Any references to O'Brien's past life as "Tonight Show" host -- or how lousy the NBC network is or Jay Leno's status as a disingenuous bully -- will be noted and added to the record.

Here's last night's tally, as well as additional "Conan" comedy data and more video from night two of the talk show that is changing the landscape of late night ... or at least making us more likely to tune into TBS.

The "Conan" NBC joke count for the Nov. 9 episode, nonsensically titled "Murder, She Tweeted": 4.

This is a decided improvement over the opening night total, which we stopped trying to calculate once O'Brien busted out the "NBC executives are hitmen" routine within the first five minutes of the premiere.

And really, O'Brien only gets credit for three of those NBC references since one of these four came out of the mouth of guest Tom Hanks. When O'Brien jokingly said that Hanks's popularization of the nickname Coco has ruined the comedian's life, Hanks quipped: "Finally, he'll blame something on someone other than Jay." Well done, Mr. Hanks. And for that, you shall get a bucket of water dumped on your head. (See end of clip.)

The rest of "Conan" by the numbers:

Number of times Conan ripped out a piece of his own beard to give to an audience member: 1.

Number of delightfully sweet interviews with Jack McBrayer: 1.

Number of George Takei impressions (see Hanks interview above): 3

Number of performances by Soundgarden that didn't make us all that nostalgic for the grunge era: 1.

Number of hilarious video sketches that include the term Tokyo sandblaster: 1, and it's worth watching.

By Jen Chaney  | November 10, 2010; 8:28 AM ET
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I tried to watch Conan on NBC. On both his own late night show and when he took over for Leno on Tonight. I just don't find Conan funny. The change to TBS didn't tempt me. I do however "get" Jay Leno. Now Leno is a classic and that's why I watch the Tonight show again now that he's back.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | November 10, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I really think Conan is very funny, and it mystifies me how so many people think the opposite of the man.

He just oozes goofy, quirky clean fun.

His brand of humor is totally original, though I wonder how well it will hold up when Conan is 55 and beyond.

I used to like Letterman in the 80's and I thought he was totally screwed over for not getting the Carson gig. Now Letterman is just a bitter has-been.

Posted by: Libtard_Ride_Free | November 10, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I don't trust your NBC reference count. So, please tell us which references you're counting as NBC references. I think you are trying to push a false narrative. If you went to j-school, you should know better.

Posted by: cyb1851 | November 10, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I LOVE CONAN. He's so silly. His hair alone gets me laughing. Love him!

Posted by: pina3 | November 10, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Come on, Jen. Please give us the evidence to back up your NBC joke count of "three" from the Tuesday, Nov. 9 show. The only NBC reference I recall was Tom Hanks' reference to "Jay." What were the others?

Did you just make up the number in order to validate your previously-expressed concerns?

Posted by: cyb1851 | November 10, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Why would I watch Caca...I mean...Coco, when I can watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert?

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | November 10, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

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