beautiful things

There’s Something So Comforting Right Now About Conner O’Malley Screaming on His Bike

The coronavirus has forced all of the late-night shows to rethink the way they release content, with most of them pivoting to segments taped and produced from the hosts’ and staffs’ homes. But if you’re a fan of comedian Conner O’Malley, you know that late-night shows filmed in weird places isn’t a new invention — it’s something O’Malley has mastered for years. Whether it’s an absurd parody of Johnny Carson or hosting a talk show while swimming in a river, O’Malley was basically born for this moment of quarantine. We’re all starved for weird and innovative content, and his latest offering, streamed live last night, gives us just that.

So, what is it, exactly? Basically, O’Malley rides his bike around a deserted Manhattan at night while screaming. He blasts Katy Perry and reads monologue jokes about a nonexistent Frasier reboot from a sheet of paper he’s holding in one hand while steering his bike down the street with the other. For some people, maybe there’s something comforting about late-night hosts working from home right now. But for others, the true comfort is in someone like O’Malley, who is embracing the chaos and confusion of a place like New York during a pandemic rather than hiding from it — while still practicing social distancing, of course. He is, in his own words, the “woke Regis Philbin but on acid and from hell” that we need right now. The long bike ride, the open spaces, the loud screaming — while you’re trapped at home you can experience all these things vicariously through O’Malley’s livestream, and it’s extremely satisfying.

The livestream is broken up into two YouTube clips, which are well worth the watch if you have an hour to spare. He rides by New York late-night landmarks like the Daily Show and Late Show studios. He yells at Greg Kinnear for trying to steal his show idea. He educates viewers about the virus (“Two ways that it is impossible for you to transmit COVID-19: random acts of kindness and paying it forward”). He “makes new money” by filling his mouth with a page from The Wall Street Journal then mixing it with mouthwash before spitting it out. But the most important part? He really, really, really just wants you to like him. “I know I look like I’m the guy on the lacrosse team that’s gonna take it too far, but I won’t, okay?” he yells at the camera. “I’m gonna be the nicest guy you ever met! I’m a good guy! Please! Like me! Don’t be afraid of me! Like me! Think that I’m okay! Think that I won’t hurt you, because it’s true!”

We believe you, O’Malley, and we are very grateful.

Conner O’Malley Screaming on His Bike Is So Comforting