Mike Mitchell, the twentysomething artist behind the viral “I’m with COCO” campaign in support of Conan O’Brien during NBC’s late-night debacle, finished his now-ubiquitous poster on Monday night and woke up the next morning to find it was literally an overnight internet sensation. “I do a lot of pop-culture based stuff,” he explains, “but nothing has gotten close to this. I got woken up by TMZ this morning.” The Los Angeles-based designer, and self-professed Conan super fan, created the almost-immediately iconic image in support of the Tonight Show host so that others would have something to rally around during the comedian’s current time-slot face-off with Jay Leno.
The “I’m with CoCo” Facebook page has almost 25,000 fans and currently gets a new wall post every few seconds. CoCo merch is not far off. A number of fans are requesting “posters to wheatpaste around town,” according to Mitchell. T-shirts with the black-and-white illustration that spotlights the host’s signature bright orange coif, are also a possibility. “If I didn’t make a single buck off this I’d be okay,” he says. “I hope that in the end it helps Conan get what he wants.”
Comedians Patton Oswalt and Paul F. Tompkins “have both stated they’re ‘with CoCo'” Mitchell shares, clearly giddy. He’s even heard from NBC insiders that CoCo himself loves the campaign. “I would love to meet Conan!” he not-quite-hints.
As for the much-maligned Jay Leno? “He’s easily my least favorite of the late-night hosts,” says the illustrator. “I’ve watched [him], but after this, I’ve taken sides on this one. I’m with CoCo.”