The Star Wars/Conan Crossover You’ve Been Waiting For

In these YouTube clips, Conan O’Brien visits Lucasfilm. Go ahead and just watch part 1 and part 2 yourself, but if you miss them before the network orders them offline, here are some notes (which, I’ll admit, are mostly for my future reference in the chapter about science-fiction).

In part 1, he brings around a Star Wars geek to criticize the Lucasfilm employee giving them a tour (“Well I just noticed that John had said it’s an original, and I also notice that the chest plate doesn’t have the Hebrew lettering in these three areas which the original has, which led me to believe that maybe it’s actually a replica”). In part 2, Conan is led into a room with a couple guys who do visual FX, one of whom says, “This is our nerd corner here,” to which the reply is, “‘Nerd corner’ … you said it, I didn’t!” Then Conan asks what the fan in the room is for and jokes, “This is so you never have to go outside, simulates a cool breeze.” Then he asks another fellow about his collection of wrestling figures, which the fellow admits his folks just wanted out of the house. Then they get a whole group of people to participate in a joke about the “800 to 1” male to female ratio. It ends with Conan leading the two earlier fellows outside to frolick to action-packed Star Wars music. (Also worth watching for Conan’s drunken C-3PO impersonation, with the aid of motion capture.)

There’s plenty of nerd stereotype humor here, and yet it doesn’t come across like your standard police drama about nerds gone bad. Why not? I think it basically comes back to self-identification as opposed to labeling from outsiders. The ILM guys unapologetically identify themselves as nerds and happily participate in the lighthearted and intentionally exaggerated nerd humor. That’s a far cry from the other example linked above, an episode of Raines where the only people who can read comics or play games without looking like total losers are the elementary school student and the comic book artist who gets killed in a drug-induced hallucination about himself as a superhero (though he’s not exactly a “winner” either).