Conan O’Brien is currently facing down one of the deadliest demons he’s ever crossed: NBC, whose decision to move Jay Leno back into the coveted 11:35 PM slot has left the redheaded late night personality in an awkward predicament. Aside from crafting a strongly worded memo, what can the funnyman do in his darkest hour?
Based on the character created by Robert E. Howard, “Conan the Barbarian” focuses on the titular warrior played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, a role that is widely considered to be his breakout performance. As a boy, the young Cimmerian hopelessly watches as Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) and his thugs slaughter Conan’s family and fellow villagers. He is eventually sold into slavery, but his mind is focused on one thing and one thing only — vengeance against Doom.
With the help of Subotai the archer (Gerry Lopez) and the beautiful Valeria (Sandahl Bergman), Conan is able to bring his bloody fight to Doom — but not without a further dose of tragedy along the way.
Now, I’m not encouraging Mr. O’Brien to sneak up behind the head honchos of NBC with designs on decapitation, but he could learn a thing or two on the metaphorical level. Conan the Barbarian bided his time by learning lessons in combat and culture, ultimately turning his teachings into weapons against the man that destroyed his family.
Likewise, O’Brien — who, already an adult, has significantly less time to bide than young Conan — should carefully contemplate his chosen path of retribution. Whether he begins a new late night program, starts something entirely different or somehow sticks with The Tonight Show, the talk show host should concentrate all of his energy on bettering himself and his career.
Using that newfound focus against NBC or for their mutual betterment is a choice left to O’Brien, but he can use the fictional Conan as a guideline for what to do next — practice patience, proceed with caution, but always carry a massive weapon and do not hesitate to use it.
Alternately, he could just watch “Conan the Barbarian” and its sequel on Blu-ray while he’s in between jobs. Those are some darn good action films.
Tell us what you think Conan O’Brien can learn from “Conan the Barbarian” in the comments section or on Twitter!