Conan or Bust is the brainchild of Joe Piccirillo and Pete Jackson.
Joe and Pete became friends during a college internship in Los Angeles. They were filled with the kinds of dreams people have before the weight of the world crushes their spirits – Joe wanted to write comedy for a late night show, specifically Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and Pete wanted to direct feature films.
Long days at their internships were followed by late nights filled with beers and talk of future accomplishments. When the summer ended, Pete and Joe agreed to return to Los Angeles after graduation to pick up where they left off.
And return to LA they did, but as reality and bills set in, a job became just that – a means to an end. Joe fell into an office job. Pete found promising work as a production assistant.
Five years later, Joe moved to Boston with his girlfriend for a respectable job. Pete was happily married and working his way up the industry ladder. Slowly, late night conversations about the future changed into mid-day email exchanges about old projects that never materialized (and links to a video of a guy accidentally yet hilariously getting hit in the groin).
Joe continued to write comedy late at night, scribbling down ideas after having worked a full day, often as the show he wanted to write for played muted behind him. He also landed freelance work for comedy magazines and performed stand-up around the country.
Over time, Joe’s comedy career started taking off. As his responsibilities to his job and his relationship continued to mount, his balancing act became difficult to maintain – something had to give. Joe’s fiancée felt the same way. And so, they parted ways.
Luckily, all the late-night writing had left Joe with a sizable body of work, including a writing packet that was universally praised by comics. The only problem was his lack of a connection. Almost all television shows (even the bad ones) wouldn’t look at unsolicited material; every writing packet submitted had been returned unread.
Meanwhile, Pete stayed in Los Angeles where he carved out a place for himself in the industry. He wasn’t directing movies, but he was a successful producer and online supervisor for a production house. He and his wife bought a house, had a child, and settled into domestic tranquility, but Pete’s wife worried about him. He worked too hard, made too many sacrifices. She wanted him to find a less stressful job that afforded him the time to pursue his own projects, but Pete wouldn’t leave his job unless the right project came along.
In August, Joe visited Pete. After a handful of drinks, the conversation returned to those buried ambitions. Joe still wanted to write for Conan O’Brien. Pete still wanted to make a movie. What if this time they worked together?
The idea is simple: Joe will travel across America, performing his writing packet in clubs, colleges, churches, and bookstores, gathering recommendations from people he meets along the way and sending a new writing packet to the producers of Conan from every city. Pete will film the journey.
Conan or Bust.
Hi! My name is Alice. I’m 10. I just met Joe Piccirillo in the mall and he asked me to write his bio while he plays with the mannequins in Victoria’s Secret. He told me that he is a Boston-based comic who has performed in Boston, Los Angeles and New York -- he even writes and performs for a weekly show at Mottley’s Comedy Club. He also writes comedy for Life & Style magazine, which I didn’t even think had a comedy section!
Before giving me back my insulin, Joe told me that his writing has been featured in Details magazine. He also used to be a writer for ruckus.com, a site that once produced original, funny content for college kids but now sells slacks. He seems like a funny guy – he just pushed a fat kid down the "up" escalator, and he can’t stop laughing. Anyway, my parents are rushing me away from the mall for some reason. xoxo
People say that our country has lost its moral center. Well, those people have never met Pete Jackson. Pete spent his teenage years as model citizen – he was an Eagle Scout, lifeguard and National Honor Society member. After graduating at the top of his college class, Pete decided to pursue a life in the entertainment industry. Over the past 12 years, Pete has produced numerous films and TV segments. He has also worked on marketing campaigns for some of the highest-grossing movies of all time (all while raising a wonderful son with his beautiful wife). He just recently discovered there was another Hollywood director who shares his name. To avoid confusion, Pete has already submitted a request for that director to change his name.