Friday, February 14, 2014
North Texans can attend a taping of Conan when he’s in Dallas for Final Four
You can learn more about how to get a seat on Tuesday.
From the historic Majestic Theatre in beautiful downtown Dallas, it’s Conan O’Brien.
The late-night talk-show host is bringing his TBS show to town for four days, from March 31 through April 3, to coincide with the NCAA Men’s Final Four, which tips off April 5 at AT&T Stadium. O’Brien did the same thing last year, when he taped four shows at The Tabernacle in Atlanta during the week leading up to the college-basketball tournament finale.
Locals can score free tickets to the tapings, but not until Tuesday. Requests will be taken online at www.teamcoco.com/dallas. Right now, all you can do now is sign up for an email that will tell you when the virtual line is open.
In Atlanta, O’Brien welcomed the likes of Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Charles Barkley and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. But TBS says it’s far too early to announce possible guests for the Majestic shows.
Conaco, O’Brien’s production company, has been looking at venues in Dallas for months. Mike Schwedler, general manager of the Majestic, says he started talking with Team Coco back in August.
“We’ve been sitting on this for a long time,” says Schwedler.
O’Brien came to town to scout the Majestic with executive producer Jeff Ross in December, which explains why the talk-show host was spotted eating barbecue at Smoke in West Dallas on Dec. 13.
“We had a great visit,” says Schwedler. “When they got here, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was in the middle of their run, and we had to work around the set. We were backstage, and I was nervously pointing to a table full of puppets. I said, ‘That’s the Island of Misfit Toys.’ He said, ‘You don’t need to tell me what that is.’ He was quite taken with the whole thing. And then we sat around and talked about lunch.”
O’Brien was last in Dallas on May 13, 2010, when he brought his “Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television” tour to McFarlin Memorial Auditorium on the SMU campus. That was just a few months after O’Brien had been ousted as host of The Tonight Show, a stint that lasted all of seven months before the slot was handed back to Jay Leno.
This time around he’ll certainly see more than just the inside of the venue (and various barbecue eateries). In Atlanta he visited a “Southern charm school,” for instance, and The Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church, while one of his staffers took a tour of Atlanta’s strip clubs. And myriad unannounced guests stopped by, including Hank Aaron (who helped the host pass his Georgia citizenship test) and some cast members of The Walking Dead, which shoots in Atlanta.
And there’s no doubt downtown will notice his presence beyond the confines of Elm Street. In downtown Atlanta, for instance, TBS dropped a huge inflatable basketball “adorned with Conan’s orange pompadour,” according to Atlanta magazine last year.
Frank Librio, spokesman for Dallas City Hall, says he was contacted by TBS’s marketing department “a while back” about several ideas, some of which he had to nix and some of which he’s not able to discuss. But this much is certain: “They’ll make a huge splash with this whole orange thing,” says Librio. “I think they’re going to put on a show for sure.”
Schwedler, of course, is thrilled about O’Brien’s weeklong stint — which is being announced at the very time Morrissey finally confirmed he’s playing the historic Elm Street venue on May 22. He vowed last July to bring the venue back to life, and given an increasingly crowded calendar and acts ranging from the Pet Shop Boys to Kids in the Hall to Eddie Izzard, it would appear its resurrection is in full swing.
“The Conan thing has been very complex,” Schwedler says. “There are a lot of moving parts, and it’s very high maintenance. But their guys are pros and all over the project and making it easy to get things done. We just couldn’t be happier about it. The perception that the Majestic is quiet and sleepy is something we’ve been on a mission to change for a while, and this is certainly an opportunity to show that off.”
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