We live in sour times, which means that the best contemporary comedy often has an undercurrent of anger. The reason is obvious: In comedy, like any kind of writing about humans, the really great work comes from careful observation and understanding, and carefully observing and understanding the kinds of things people are up to in the United States in 2020 inevitably leads to mad-scientist-grade conclusions about humans as a species. All of which means that producing a work of genuine sweet, good-natured surrealism under these conditions must require heroic efforts, and watching a work of genuine sweet, good-natured surrealism can be an absolute tonic. So this behind-the-scenes look at the daily routine of Kellan Rameka, one of the unsung heroes of Conan O’Brien’s staff, arrives not a moment too soon:
It is probably not possible for something to be more to my (admittedly terrible) taste in comedy than “take an existing format—one of those behind-the-scenes looks at television production, say—and carefully duplicate its structure and rhythms as precisely as you can while making one high-concept change at the center that renders the entire exercise absurd.” Still, there’s a big difference between feeling pandered to and feeling expertly pandered to, and the sketch’s dogged refusal to acknowledge in any way that there is anything strange about a late-night sidekick who ages from infancy to adulthood every single day is expert-level. This is the first episode in a web series from Conan’s team about the people who make his show possible, and if subsequent episodes hit the same tone of straight-faced nonsense, we can all look forward to learning a lot of wildly incorrect things about television production in the weeks ahead. All of us except Andy Richter, anyway—you can’t teach that guy anything for very long!