When, in early 2010, Conan O’Brien broke up with NBC in an angry showdown after two ? decades of going steady with the network, the former Tonight Show host was legally barred from appearing on TV for six months. And lo, the applause-hungry, Harvard-educated, really-pissed-off comic and his team responded with the Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour, a vanity roadshow filled with music, comedy bits, and still-simmering ? bitterness delivered live to O’Brien’s ”Team Coco” fan base in 32 cities in this great, Jay Leno-watching nation of ours.
Under the circumstances, it’s a good thing director Rodman Flender was on the tour bus to make Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, an ? unexpectedly revealing, disconcerting documentary that benefits from the filmmaker’s unmediated approach, his home-movie-?quality visual style, and his controlled use of on-the-fly moments. This movie isn’t just for wearers of Team Coco T-shirts, and, to its odd credit, it won’t change any minds, either pro-Coco or anti-. Behold O’Brien being kvetchy, self-pitying, snappish, demanding, exhausted, haunted, and not very funny — in other words, being a real, vulnerable person who happens to be a rich, famous TV star mourning the loss of his dream job. A?