The Magazine

Comedy Tonight?

From Allen to Paar to Carson to Leno to just another show.

Jun 22, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 38 • By ELI LEHRER
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In some respects, the Conan O'Brien version shows promise. His show is wonderful-looking, funny, fun, and well-written. His humor, on balance, is more sophisticated than Carson's or Leno's. But on a fourth-place network, a sketch comedy-based late-night show probably won't keep its place as a cultural touchstone. The Tonight Show under Conan O'Brien is good and will probably succeed. But it's just another TV show.

Eli Lehrer is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.