Anyone familiar with Andy Daly’s singularly impressive body of work knows there’s no one better at portraying outwardly chipper everymen whose beaming geniality barely conceals an existential cistern teeming with all manner of squirming, submerged frustrations, insecurities, and outright madness. From his cavalcade of garrulous loons that make up the would-be broadcast stars of The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project, to his various in-character appearances on Comedy Bang! Bang! and elsewhere, to his turn as perhaps the most hilariously tragic figure in TV history on the darkly brilliant Review, Daly is the master of long-form, improvisational character comedy.
So when Tuesday’s Conan saw Conan O’Brien’s monologue inexplicably interrupted by a boisterously oblivious, catchphrase-spouting, be-blazered former game show host, there was really no question who it could be. As Reed Newport (“Just like the cigarettes!”), Daly ignored O’Brien’s annoyed bewilderment at the intrusion in favor of doing some splay-legged crowd work with the Conan audience (“I understand you run a honey farm—what’s that like?”) and throwing to a nonexistent announcer for help with a very confused jumble of game show rules. (Newport’s long-defunct game appears to have incorporated elements of Family Feud, Press Your Luck, The Price Is Right, The Joker’s Wild, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, and a half-dozen others.) Promising the winners of his 1980s-era game show the grand prize of a somehow illegal jet ski (only to be used in international waters), Daly’s maniacally dedicated host steamrolled right on past the sputtering Conan before finally being crated up by a pair of stagehands, presumably to be warehoused next to Wink Martindale and the ashes of Bert Convy. Or maybe to resurface with his own fledgling Earwolf podcast.