I’ve been taking advantage of my free month-long Netflix trial by watching a lot of comedy shows (and the entirety of Twin Peaks in one week, which has made me real weird, real fast), as I am conveniently also unemployed. Right now, I’m watching Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, the documentary about the making of Conan’s post-Late Show tour. It’s very funny, and very raw – Conan speaks candidly about the anger and sadness he felt after being betrayed by NBC after working for the company for decades. He and his crew of writers, musicians and techs create a touring stage show after being banned from appearing on TV/radio/internet for six months (part of the severance deal with NBC).
What struck me, very early into the movie, is a supercut of footage from the “I’m with Coco” rallies held at the NBC offices in LA, Chicago, and NYC’s Rockefeller Center. And in the sea of young, silly protestors huddled in the cold outside 30 Rock, I spotted myself. It’s an incredibly tiny blip in the screen, but there’s my little white hat that I wore every day that winter, with my dumb, wonderful Conando sign still tucked under my arm.
I had moved to NYC by myself about a month before this moment. I didn’t know anybody yet, and I didn’t know where anything was located still; I got desperately lost trying to find 30 Rock after I got off at the wrong subway stop. But I made it (the in-unison chanting and police barricades were a big tip-off). It was a dumb, goofy protest that probably did nothing of significance, but it was a fucking blast.
So naturally, when I saw that blurry little white hat bobbing in the background of the documentary, I cried. Just a bit. Because I may be struggling to make sense of my life right now and get my footing in the real world, and it’s frankly miserable at times. But I remember how happy I was, and how relieved, and how still very lost, but unable to give another fuck I was at this moment in time. Blowing off class to attend a fake protest for my favorite comedian. The world is small and sometimes bright.