The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien touched down Monday night—and O'Brien's irreverent, self-deprecating humor and puppet-string dance landed along with it.
For those wondering whether the lanky funnyman would be changing his tune much for his new, Jay Leno-accustomed audience, the answer is...
From the opening montage showing Conan checking off his pre-Tonight to-do list, only to end up running and swimming all the way from New York to Los Angeles at the last minute, to his vow that he'll never give up his 1992 Ford Taurus just because he's living in SoCal, the overall tone of the show was very Late Night-esque.
And that familiar laugh picking up the slack when one of the monologue jokes went flat (and a few did) is none other than the new Tonight Show announcer, Andy Richter, doing his best Ed McMahon impression behind a stage-adjacent podium.
"Thank you very much—please!—it's coming across as angry now," O'Brien greeted the standing-O audience at his new studio on the Universal lot. "At least we know the applause sign works, that's nice."
After introducing Richter and longtime bandleader Max Weinberg, O'Brien added, "It's like a Backstreet Boys reunion here—only not as good."
"I have to admit," he said, "I think I've timed this moment perfectly—I'm on a last-place network, I've moved to a state that's bankrupt and tonight's show is sponsored by General Motors."
No "If They Mated" or Walker, Texas Ranger lever yet, but all was very familiar.
Fittingly, O'Brien's inaugural guest was Will Ferrell, who made a low-key entrance in a sedan chair held aloft by four shirtless manservants.
"Conan O'Brien, everyone! Tonight Show—amazing, right?" Ferrell said. "This is so incredible and thank you for having me. It's so cool, because no one thought you could do it...not one person, and you're here!"
The actor then proceeded to talk up his upcoming action-adventure movie, Land of the Lost, before closing his segment with a special song he had prepared for the occasion, à la Billy Crystal when he sat down for the first (and, last week, the penultimate) Tonight Show With Jay Leno.
"This is not a goodbye show!" O'Brien reminded Ferrell when he launched into "Never Can Say Goodbye."
"Don't get me wrong, I'm pulling for you, man," Ferrell said. "But this whole thing's a crapshoot at best."