I love Conan O’Brien. The “In the Year 2000” sketches, the Masturbating Bear, that time he sold Springfield a Monorail–I celebrate his entire catalog. In his most recent exploits for Conan, O’Brien takes Associate Producer and whipping-boy-nemesis Jordan Schlansky to a tour and cupping at the Los Angeles roastery of our partners at Intelligentsia Coffee as some sort of Bizarro World punishment for purchasing an espresso machine on the company dime without permission.
Like in his Clueless Gamer sketches, O’Brien acts as the Uninitiated, cracking wise about bean probes and his love of coffee creamer in his embarrassing, bad Dad-joke way (if your dad committed heart and soul to the joke and was a genius). Schlansky, one part Italian coffee traditionalist and one part Dwight Schrute, plays the neurotic nattering coffee type to a T, making longwinded, coffee-normative proclamations rife with jargon. Yet, given some of his seemingly unscripted takes on the faults with single origin coffees and “American style” espresso, it’s hard to tell exactly how much is an act. He may just be that annoying.
O’Brien and Schlansky’s coffee excursion begins with a tour of the roastery, led by Samuel Sabori, Intelligentsia LA’s roaster and buyer, where the gang gets to watch the Gothot coffee roaster in action and we get to see O’Brien’s tall red coif struggling against a hairnet, which is never not funny.
The real fun begins when the guys meet up with Eden-Marie Abramowicz, who just took second place at this year’s Big Western barista competition, for a cupping and subsequent espresso tasting. Schlansky really lets his hair down and gives some unadulterated coffee opinions, and Abramowicz gets to live with the odd and singular experience of having been called “beautiful” by Conan O'Brien.
O’Brien lets him prattle on at the cupping table, giving Schlanksy just enough rope to hang himself before siccing Abramowicz on him to drop some knowledge, much to O’Brien’s delight. The expression on O’Brien’s face during the extraction debate is priceless and elicited my biggest laugh; I must have re-watched that part at least 10 times. The exchange goes like this:
Schlansky: “I'm getting some papaya.”
Abramowicz: [laughs] “I'm definitely not getting some papaya.”
O'Brien: [to Schlansky] “You are having a small stroke.”
Later, O'Brien inquires about how Intelligentsia feels about adding flavorings to coffees, and introduces a bottle of his favoring, Chocolate Chip Cookie Coffee-Mate.
This is Eden-Marie Abramowicz's Chocolate Chip Cookie Coffee-Mate face:
Like all good Conan segments, this one ends with great shame for the host, in the form of a Chocolate Chip Cookie Coffee-Mate con panna disaster, and much spinning of the cupping table's Lazy Susan mechanism. Abramowicz makes them some espressos, Schlansky does some Giorgio Milos schtick, and O'Brien compliments here for having “ripped him a new A-hole”, which, again, this is not something one is told every day by Conan O'Brien.
So what did video teach us? 1. Conan is still hilarious, 2. Jordan Schlansky is a pretty funny annoying straight man foil, and 3. if you buy an espresso machine without asking, the only consequence is a tour and cupping at a top-notch roastery.
BRB, gotta go buy a custom GS/3 on the wife’s credit card. [NOTE TO EDITOR: Please don’t post article until after transaction clears].
Zac Cadwalader is a Sprudge.com staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.
All screen caps ganked from Team Coco.