Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Conan O’Brien, Lin-Manuel Miranda
Conan O’Brien, Lin-Manuel Miranda
Screenshot: Conan

Look, we’re all going a little wonky while responsibly self-isolating at home during this . . . unpleasantness. Some are taking up weird hobbies, writing bad novels, moving everything in our houses one foot to the left. It’s even said that doing nothing all day but watch Fox News has driven some Americans so dangerously insane that they’re out in the streets toting guns and infecting each other with coronavirus because, um, freedom? Well, sometimes cabin fever can be a good thing (like, maybe your novel isn’t so bad—keep plugging away, tiger), as when Conan O’Brien discovers Hamilton and In The Heights creator Lin-Manuel Miranda noodling around on his home keyboard.

And perhaps things do get a little weird when O’Brien asks Miranda to put his legendary freestyle skills to the test with an impromptu song about Conan’s morning ritual, but, you know, in a fun way. With Miranda listening intently to Conan’s answers to a series of questions about what he did that very morning, you could see those Hamilton wheels turning as his fingers itched to get to work on the keys. After ascertaining that stay-at-home routines at the O’Brien house are just as mundane as the rest of ours, Miranda took a deep breath, scanned his Tony-winning memory banks, and brought out an on-the-spot Broadway ballad that will no doubt be the first act centerpiece for Conan: The Musical.

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Spurred by an anecdote about Conan’s tech-savvy son mocking his old dad for daring to ask for some Zoom advice, “OK, Boomer” is Miranda’s ode to just getting through another morning penned up with your family (and your confused and put-upon dog). Pulling ingeniously from Conan’s answers to his pre-song Q&A, Miranda went on to incorporate Conan’s healthy breakfast and probably choice of mindless TV (“spinach smoothie” is a close enough rhyme for “another fucking Netflix movie”), his later-than-usual lockdown wakeup time (where Miranda posits Conan’s been dreaming about a different Broadway legend), and ultimately soars into the ironically empathetic “OK, Boomer” chorus. It’s so impressive that visions of a Middleditch And Schwartz And Miranda all-improv superstars musical theater Netflix special leaps right to mind. Of course, that might be the cabin fever talking, but it’s still a great idea. (Miranda does cop to letting a little Dana Carvey slip in to the song, just at the end there.)

As ever, Conan gave time for his guest to publicize his favorite pandemic charities, so check out Hispanic Federation, and his own EduHam At Home program, which encourages kids to use their housebound free time to come up with their own Hamilton musical numbers. Or Conan musical numbers. Anyway, it keeps ’em off the streets.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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