Seeing Jack Black hobble out onto the Largo stage that’s been Conan’s temporary but ultimate home for a year raised several questions. Firstly, when is the Lord Of The Rings series featuring Black as Gimli and Conan O’Brien as a towering Gandalf coming out? (Seriously, the pair’s hug looked like some serious Peter Jackson/Weta forced perspective was in use.) Second was the sneaking suspicion that Black, cane at the ready, was going to reveal that his appearance at the very last of O’Brien’s 4,368 or so late-night episodes as host was pulling a fast one in preparation for one acrobatically epic big finish to pal Conan’s run.
After all, this final stretch of O’Brien’s late-night tenure has seen Paul Rudd exquisitely troll Conan (and us) just one last time. And there’s still the matter of Conan’s “did he or didn’t he?” toke of Seth Rogen’s no-doubt potent joint. (Consensus there seems to suggest O’Brien never pulled the smoke from mouth to lungs, although Andy Richter sure as hell did.) So why wouldn’t longtime Conan friend, son of heroes, and heavy metal showman extraordinaire Jack Black pull a Willy Wonka and tumble his way out of his cane and walking boot to reveal that he’s just been playing opossum before blasting out the last of his singularly rock-operatic odes to Conan. (A quick peek back at Black’s caped and soaring musical recap of O’Brien’s career up until that point sees the younger and less-hirsute School Of Rock god looking more Frodo than Gimli as he swooped around an NBC stage.)
Alas, such was not to be. That’s because, unfortunately for us, Conan, and, sure, Black himself, the noted rock belter and sometime actor sprained his mighty ankle while filming a bit about Jack Black injuring himself—while preparing to sing Conan a farewell song. Luckily for Black, the bit in question had some EMTs and an ambulance on site to film Jables’ fake injury. Less fortunate was the fact that both the paramedics and the ambulance were actually just show biz window dressing for a celebrity injury gag, although Black said that the actors in EMT outfits were surprisingly quick taking their fake ambulance to CVS for an ace bandage.
O’Brien chalked up the life-imitates-art catastrophe as simply fitting for his 28-year tenure of occasionally off-the-rails silliness, while Black, slumped dejectedly in his easy chair, could only offer Conan, Andy, and the assembled audience for the last Conan ever a somber and subdued farewell. Oh, wait, this is Jack-freaking-Black we’re talking about, so, after portentously assuring O’Brien that his doctor’s admonition of “no dancing, no running, no physical craziness” did not extend to singing, Jack Black rose like the phoenix (or Fenix) and delivered the ultimate goodbye anthem. And if Black didn’t soar as is his wont (the guy really is injured), he did effortfully strike all the right righteous frontman poses as he tossed aside his cane, hurled his tuxedo jacket into the adoring Largo crowd, and boomed out something that sounded an awful lot like a Jack Black-ified “My Way.” (Rest assured, there were original lyrics about, among other glorious things, Conan’s liberal use of “lotion” in there.) Long live rock, long live J.B., and long live Conan. Goodnight, everybody!