That time I visited the NBC Store because Conan told us to

“Don’t forget to buy $10,000 worth of useless crap, right here, at NBC Experience,” Conan once encouraged at the end of his virtual desk ride video.

On April 27th 1999, a wondrous land full of over-priced TV memorabilia emerged in the heart of midtown Manhattan. The NBC Experience Store opened its doors to legions of peacock groupies who (presumably) stormed the front doors and smothered themselves with mugs, shirts and more mugs. As expected, Conan visited the store not long after it opened and “featured” some of his own Late Night goods.

Sit back and enjoy the best commercial this store ever had:


This clip aired just days before my first trip to NYC in May of 1999. After seeing this, I was compelled in my giddy teen youth to visit the store and yes, I bought some of the very products Conan made fun of. Who said good ol’ fashioned advertising doesn’t work?

Walking around a TV-themed store was actually kinda fun for this Canadian teen whose biggest trip before this had been to Niagara Falls. Buying some of the same stuff Conan had just smashed and mocked a few days earlier made it that much better.

The two things I just had to buy:

The “Conan Latte” mug
After Conan smashed several of these, I felt the need to have one of my own. These are actually pretty heavy. I never actually drank any latte’s from mine, so I can’t tell you if the mug can do what it advertises.

It does make a nice pen holder though.

The Late Night with Conan O’Brien Gay Diary
(or “Conan Journal” as the price tag claims)
I finally opened this a few years later when they shot a week of Late Night here in Toronto and got ConanJoel, La Bamba and Pender to quickly scribble their names in it. By this time, I actually forgot that Conan once advertised this as the “Late Night with Conan O’Brien Gay Diary.” Really.

Note how thin and translucent the paper is.  Pretty sure no one ever actually used this as a notebook. Or diary.

I also couldn’t resist buying:

Toonces magnet: It was hard to resist buying something Toonces related, especially in 1999. Quite the random find.

In the end, I didn’t have a horrible time. Though I know it was more enjoyable due to the fact this piece aired just days before I visited the store.

I don’t remember ever coming across the Leno strap-on chin though.

Perhaps they were sold out.

I’ll leave you with that awkward thought.


Leave a Reply