Tonight we will have drinks and celebrate what I am calling my False Goodbye, because I’m back next week to finish Jersey Floor. So I’ll see all of you, often I hope. But my life and the way I spend my every day will change drastically. To be honest, emotionally I’ve been a bit numb as my final day draws near, but my back has been killing me. Every day it’s been getting worse. Then I read this new agey kind of book about the faults of western medicine and the basic premise is that some people create back pain as a way to distract themselves from emotional pain. All I know is, saying goodbye to you people is murder on my back. I even had to get a referral from Bronson’s dad.
I remember how dazed I was my first month at Late Night. I left my wife in Los Angeles, rented a room with two 25 year old girls in Hell’s Kitchen, and walked to 30 Rock every day. One of them was in a bad relationship at the time, though I hear they are still together. Not important. Anyway, I remember watching the last Conan in Jimmy’s office, and on my way back to the girls that night, it really clicked that this was going to be one of those experiences I would talk about for the rest of my life. And that’s what it has been.
From now until the day my mind crumbles, or decays, or is merged with a synthetic consciousness then accidentally erased by the collapse of the nearby star which was supplying power to the small moon which housed that synthetic consciousness, I will relive the successes we had and Shoemaker’s speech about civility. I will remember our first shoot, standing in the bitter cold on the corner of 51st and 11th with Jed and Chad, neither of whom were even remotely dressed for the weather. We pulled an office chair down deserted streets with black twine. Then we put a feather boa on the chair and placed it next to a prostitute and had them stand in traffic. Then we put the chair in a crude cardboard shelter in the lee of a building and scattered old needles and empty beer cans around to make it look like the chair was addicted to heroin and living on the streets. We buried Gerard in Cocoa Puffs. We made Jeselnik act. We spent a lot of money on Real Animals Fake Arms. Go into Brian McDonald’s office and ask him for the exact dollar amount. It will make him uncomfortable, but don’t let him laugh it off. Push it until he gives you at least a ball park figure. We made Miles look fuckable. We put Robert Pattinson in a tree, and made Questlove have to figure out a comedy alternative to doing the limbo. We made Jimmy look like a woman and a vampire, put him in blue tights, in a Bieber wig, in a bar dressed as Roger Federer, in a gay bar, in the freezing cold, and in a rodeo arena with 72,000 people waiting to watch Selena Gomez. We spread the pages of Sarah Palin’s book and asked a human being in the art department to slam the Twilight book repeatedly against the spread pages of the Sarah Palin book to simulate intercourse. In 2 years and 2 months we shot 117 short films.
And we did Kickin’ Stuff.
But not only will I brag about the successes. I will brag even more about the difficulties, and the personal bullshit, and the cramped quarters, and the endless hours. I will brag about having slept in my office, the days I only ate froyo from the commissary, how when the interns came around asking if we wanted Hale and Hearty I called it Stale and Farty, how Ozols and I cried to each other in my office more than once, and how Tartaro had a blowout when he came for his first interview. Those are also things that were good. Those are the things that forced us to huddle together in the conference room, or in our offices, come up with creative solutions, and find the joy in what we were doing. Those are all the things that made me love you people, and I am going to miss everything that made this job hard.
For the rest of my life, I will brag about having been here.