Conan O’Brien goes off to buy Greenland

If there is an unofficial good will ambassador for the US, it may well be late night talk show host and comedian Conan O’Brien. On an occasional series on his show called Conan Without Borders that can be seen on Netflix, he has gone to places that have been demonized by the US over a long period (such as Cuba) as well as those that have been brutally exploited by the US and more recently insulted by Donald Trump (like Haiti and Mexico) and in his interactions with the people and his description of the country shows Americans how mistaken these views are and that we would be a lot better off having good relations with the people of those nations.

In Haiti especially, he had to overcome some anger among a group of people who were sick and tired of American journalists whose sole purpose for their lightning visits seemed to be to show the negative side of the country, such as the poverty and corruption and chaotic conditions, with scant attention paid to the many, many positives of the country and its people. The crowd at an open air venue initially saw him as just the latest visitor seeking to perpetuate this pre-existing story line and it is to his credit that rather than fleeing the scene, he engaged with the crowd and managed to overcome their antipathy. You can see the full show on Netflix, some clips of his visit here, and the scene where he responds to local anger at American journalists below..

On his latest trip, he goes to Greenland in the wake of Trump’s insulting offer to buy that country. Unlike Trump’s other recent statements, Conan thinks this is actually a good idea and thinks that he can pull off the deal by talking directly to the people of that country. This episode provides a delightful look at a country and people that I knew nothing about. Conan’s trademark self-deprecating style, goofiness, and willingness to be the butt of jokes are used to frame the travelogue.

It is a fun half hour that you can watch here.


  1. says

    I love that one thing Conan has outright said is that when he does these shows, the butt of the joke is never going to be the country that he’s visiting or the people who live there. It’s usually him, but American ignorance and the Hamberdler are fair targets as well.

    If I recall correctly, one of the reasons he took his show to half an hour is that it frees up more resources to do these travel episodes and more Conan Without Borders is a good thing.

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