Conan is King of Comic-ConJuly 27, 2018
Lines, especially at San Diego Comic-Con, the world’s most influential pop culture convention, are a common occurrence. In fact, occasionally, you even need to line up to line up.
People are tired, frustrated, and perhaps even little grumpy from sleeping on the pavement (if they could even get some sleep at all.)
But the line for Conan O’Brien’s Comic-Con shows are completely different.
The denizens of his line are cheerful; excited even, and the energy of the crowd is tangible.
Conan, like few before him, has been able to tap into the heartbeat of geek culture at San Diego Comic-Con. His Comic-Con shows are the stuff of legend and are nearly impossible to get into; it is absolutely one of the hottest tickets in San Diego.
Four years ago, Conan taped his first series of shows at San Diego Comic-Con. His first year was my second, and try as I might, I was unable to secure a ticket. Even then, before the Comic-Con hype machine made the taping a must-see event, he was popular with con-goers.
There are a few reasons for this.
First, Conan’s Comic-Con shows are funny, and probably more than his regular tapings, resonate with his audience. He and his team of writers continually find ways to make jokes that, even when we’re the target, land softly. That’s endearing.
Sure, some of the stuff we do, and love is wacky, but by and large geeks are really smart and get that, so when he points it out we can chuckle. Or laugh. Really loud.
Usually, it’s the latter.
Second, his San Diego Comic-Con shows pick the right guests and subject matter. Usually, he features properties that have a large presence at the convention, so it’s a multi-faceted experience for con-goers: they can attend an activation, watch the taping, or see a panel. Perhaps…even do all three.
For example, on Thursday his show featured the cast and director of The Predator, which has a large footprint (but no presence because The Predator is cloaked. We kid.) at the convention this year.
The movie is much anticipated and the cast was well received.
Third, Conan gives away some of the best free stuff. San Diego Comic-Con exclusives are amongst the most sought after collectibles in the world (see an entire article on the subject here.)
Funko, whose fans ravenously devour its products and seek the rarest pieces vigourously, produces an exclusive line of rare Conan figures in its pop-vinyl collection. Conan gives these figures out exclusively to his audience, and a few to his fans online. He tapes four shows per convention, each night giving away a different figure.
These exclusive Conan figures sell for big money on the resale market, with some going for hundreds of US dollars. In fact, the figures are so sought after, than intrepid dealers stand outside the theatre and offer cash to those exiting after the taping ends. One had a Comic-Con bag full of figures he’d purchased from exiting fans.
Ultimately, Comic-Con fans love being a part of something special; about being unique.
Scoring a hard to find exclusive or getting into a much hyped panel are amongst the things that drive them.
It seems that the high demand for Conan tickets, and their relative rarity, is actually increasing the demand for tickets.
Conan’s popularity, the demand for his show, and the exclusivity of his con-swag collectively mean one thing: Conan is the undisputed King of Comic-Con.
Images are copyright Conan O’brien and TBS. Used with permission.