Conan O’Brien investigates the Sears-Whirlpool split.

Conan O’Brien Asks: What Do You Think About the Sears-Whirlpool Split?

Conan O’Brien Asks: What Do You Think About the Sears-Whirlpool Split?

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Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 1 2017 4:50 AM

Conan O’Brien Asks: What Do You Think About the Sears-Whirlpool Split?

What do you think?


As you may or may not know, after more than a century of working together, Sears will no longer be carrying Whirlpool appliances. The troubled retail company, which hasn’t turned a profit since 2010, was unable to reach a price agreement with Whirlpool, which is raising the cost of its appliances to offset an increase in the price of raw materials. Those are the facts—but how do you feel about them? To find out, Conan O’Brien sent a camera crew out to interview civilians about the split.

It turns out 83% of the people Conan polled didn’t care very much about the split between Sears and Whirlpool one way or the other, while 17% of the people cared very much indeed. Statistically, these results may not be particularly meaningful, but what is interesting is how many different types of comedy Conan is drawing from in this segment. The clueless-man-on-the-street interview is ancient, but it’s Jimmy Kimmel’s territory these days:


Meanwhile the sudden turn into darkness, and the score, and the way it uses a television format that’s so familiar we tune it out until it goes awry, shows up in Adult Swim Infomercials like “Too Many Cooks” or “Unedited Footage of a Bear”:

And the last gag—the familiar-to-the-point-of-being-boring video format in the foreground, something truly bizarre in the background, is straight from Clickhole, where the best and funniest example of the genre stars none other than one Conan O’Brien:

And so it comes full circle: Conan O’Brien inspires Conan O’Brien with the idea for this sketch as ideas and influence spiral into each other, spinning around faster and faster into a veritable maelstrom of creativity. Meanwhile, Sears, which had 3,500 physical stores in 2010 and now has 596, is going down the drain.