Ryan Chartrand

Two things come to mind whenever somebody mentions the name Conan. The first, embarrassingly, is the governator’s 1982 action-adventure flick “Conan the Barbarian.”

The second is the lanky, red-headed funnyman who happens to host “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” on NBC.

At the end of his show in San Francisco last week, I squeezed through a sea of crazed fans up to the stage so I could get a closer look at the six-foot-four-inch comedian.

Waving my blue-green ticket stub, I reached as far as I could, and hoped that he would provide me with an autograph.

“Conan, please,” I said. “It’s for my sister! Please sign it for my sister.”

I had to shout over hundreds of other voices yelling nearly the same thing. Then, like an angel descending from heaven, with a spotlight on his thin, pale face, he signed my ticket stub.

After thanking him over and over, he grasped my hand, looked me straight in the eye and said, “We do what we can.”

I just about died.

Two weeks earlier, while watching a recorded episode of “Late Night” on my DVR, I received a phone call from my sister Alisa telling me that O’Brien was moving his show to San Francisco. for a week. The show, normally taped in New York City, is a family favorite.

I, too, am a major fan. I knew I was going to be there.

One week later, I got a shrieking phone call from Alisa telling me that she got ticket reservations for the last show in San Francisco on May 4. Rapper Snoop Dogg and musician Tom Waits were the guests that night.

We left San Luis Obispo at 6 a.m. that Friday morning, pumped and ready for a great show at the famous Orpheum Theatre on Market Street. The show didn’t actually begin until 4 p.m., but the e-mail confirmation suggested that we be there at noon.

After a nearly four-hour car ride and a 30 minute search for parking, we found an expensive parking garage about eight blocks from the theater.

Here are a few tips I picked up while waiting for the show to begin:

First, if you know you’re going to be in a big metropolis like San Francisco, don’t bring your car. Park it at a friend’s or relative’s house, or at your hotel. This will save you money and grief. Instead, use public transportation (trolleys, buses, subway, etc.).

Second, don’t wear thin, flat shoes when you know you may be standing up and walking around for hours on end. It’s a very bad idea. I suggest tennis shoes or something equally comfortable and durable.

Third, get to know the people in line around you. This tip is especially helpful if you need to get something to eat or must go on a restroom break, which is inevitable.

Fourth, if the suggested arrival time is noon, try to get there around 11 a.m. or earlier. There will probably be people waiting in line long before you arrive, but this will at least ensure that you get good seats.

When we finally got inside the Orpheum, after more than four hours of waiting, Alisa and I sat relatively close to the stage. Cameras, lights, and The Max Weinberg 7 were all waiting for us.

OK, maybe they weren’t waiting for us, specifically, but it was still an incredible show. And Conan? Well, he was hilarious as usual.

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