Conan goes to Harold’s (sort of)
by mike thomas Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org June 14, 2012 9:20PM
Guest Adam Sandler (center) chatted with Andy Richter (left) and Conan O’Brien to close out their week of TBS broadcasts from the Chicago Theatre.
Updated: July 16, 2012 6:41AM
If it’s possible, the capacity crowd Thursday for Conan O’Brien’s final show at the Chicago Theatre was even more raucous than its raucous predecessors. Then again, there was a lot to cheer about.
Since Monday, when the TBS late-night host unveiled a massive bobblehead likeness of himself — his “gift” to Chicago — he’d been asking fans to suggest locations for it. And scores of them have obliged.
O’Brien, though, decided to take matters into his own hands and select the most appropriate perch. While it’s unclear whether or not they were in on the joke, bosses at the Art Institute of Chicago were less than thrilled when it showed up outside the museum’s modern wing.
But it found a home, at least a temporary one: holding a menu outside Harold’s Chicken Shack at 636 S. Wabash. According to the restaurant, it wasn’t there long before O’Brien’s crew dismantled the carrot-topped behemoth and ferried it away.
After former Bulls player and Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen made a cameo to strip a cocky O’Brien of his Celtics jacket, all eyes turned to large video screens as the program’s final bridge jumping segment was introduced. Following the same pulley-rigged path of a giant bratwurst and a replica of the Daley Plaza’s Picasso statue, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, an obese Wisconsin tourist and Mr. T in a yellow convertible, a small-scale model of the Millennium Park “Cloud Gate” sculpture (better known as “the Bean”) successfully made its way over the State Street drawbridge. In an added twist, it was partially filled with baked beans, which splattered all over the pavement.
In the night’s funniest segment, “30 Rock” star and well-known nice guy Jack McBrayer visited the Wiener’s Circle in Lincoln Park to order a hot dog and uncomfortably absorb some of the staff’s famous verbal abuse. Unhappy about how he was treated, McBrayer returned with a friend — Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
Voiced and operated by Robert Smigel, Triumph went on an extended and often R-rated tear against the employees. He and McBrayer then served food to customers in equally rude and crude fashion before Triumph inexplicably vomited on waiting customers.
Nick Offerman of “Parks and Recreation” was the evening’s other surprise guest — deadpanning his “rhapsodic delight” at being in O’Brien’s presence. Former “Saturday Night Live” standout Adam Sandler recalled peeing his pants in first grade (so his teacher, on whom he had a crush, would have to help him change them) and pumped his new flick, and Chicago-trained comic TJ Miller capped things off with a set that saw him stuff his mouth with one Italian beef sandwich and smear his head with another.