Janene Otten / Retna Ltd. 1 / 8
Janene Otten / Retna Ltd. 1 / 8

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Conan O'Brien, who counted his viewers in the millions on NBC's "Tonight," is playing to a small-town crowd of 2,500 — and no TV cameras — as he opens a two-month, nationwide comedy tour Monday.

For fans, it's a chance to see the star in person and discover how he performs unfettered by network broadcast standards. For O'Brien, who joked he's trying to avoid helping around the house since leaving "Tonight," barnstorming 30 cities may help build the case for his return to TV.

He'll have a chance to hone his stage act in the Northwest and Canada before he hits bigger U.S. cities (Los Angeles, April 24-25; New York, June 2-3; the tour ends in Atlanta on June 14). With tickets priced from $40 and up, "The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour" is virtually sold out.