I never really had an enforced bedtime growing up which meant that I began watching late night talk shows at a very young age. I started to tune into all the late night shows people talked about but was never really impressed. I thought Arsenio Hall was annoying. David Letterman and Jay Leno were both extremely lame. It wasn’t until 1993 that I enjoyed late night television. That was the year “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” debuted. I could go on and on about how Conan O’Brien rules and Letterman and Leno drools but that’s not what this article is about. This is about Conan’s pudgy sad sack sidekick, Andy Richter.
Andy Richter was always enjoyable on the Conan O’Brien show. The reason Andy Richter was so enjoyable was because he was a loser, or at least he played one on television. Andy Richter was just the ordinary guy. You loved him because you felt sorry for him. At times Conan O’Brien would play tricks on Andy or make fun of him almost like Andy was trying to join a fraternity so Conan punished him by making a fool out of him all the time. Eventually all good things must come to an end and Andy Richter left the “Late Night Show with Conan O’Brien.” This could be a good thing though right? Andy Richter could get his own show!
Andy Richter did get his own show called “Andy Richter Controls the Universe”. “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” was a very funny, quirky show and was critically acclaimed. Unfortunately “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” appeared on Fox where “critically acclaimed” means “being cancelled”.
Andy Richter’s next show was a show called “Quintuplets”. “Quintuplets” was not nearly as good as “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” but just seeing Andy Richter on a weekly basis was worth it. The critic panned “Quintuplets” and at Fox “panned by the critics,” means, “being cancelled”. Since then Andy Richter has popped up as guest roles on shows like “Arrested Development”, “Monk” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”
In 2007 Andy Richter finally returned with his own show called “Andy Barker, P. I.” The best thing of all is that “Andy Barker, P. I.” was co-written and produced by Conan O’Brien. Andy Richter plays the part of an accountant who is just starting out his own firm. Andy moves his firm into an office that used to be the office of a private detective. On his first day of work in his new office someone comes in mistaking his firm as the private detective agency and hires Andy to solve a crime. Andy begrudgingly agrees to help and afterwards realizes that being a private detective is a lot more exciting than being an accountant. Much to the chagrin of his wife, Andy decides to be come a private detective permanently.
“Andy Barker, P. I.” is very humorous because Andy is the least likely private detective you’ll meet. Andy Barker is actually kind of dumb, not in a totally clueless way like Maxwell Smart many years ago, but just in a sense that you know he’s in over his head at all times. Andy Barker also doesn’t look the part of a private detective and often has to stop to catch his breath in the middle of chasing a criminal.
Co-star Tony Hale who you might know as Buster Bluth from “Arrested Development” doubles the hilarity. Tony Hale plays the part of Simon, the owner of a rental store. Simon is a big movie buff. He is one of those guys who can quote all kinds of random trivia facts from any movie imaginable. Simon’s favorite type of movies just happen to be film noirs so he bestows his knowledge on Andy, because naturally the movies have to be just like real life, right?
Together Andy Richter and Tony Hale are funniest crime-solving duo in a long, long time and “Andy Barker, P. I.” has gotten some good reviews from critics, which like “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” means it has been cancelled. Fortunately if you are interested in seeing the six episodes of “Andy Barker, P.I.” that did air, you can watch them on NBC’s website.