While the world’s powers play their political games, issuing sanctions and threatening violence, late-night host Conan ‘O Brien isn’t letting these countries’ borders stop him. ‘O Brien uprooted himself and his crew from the comforts of his cozy studio set in America and set off on the road. So far, the late-night host has broken barriers by shooting live from Cuba, which was once closed off to the United States, last year. Now, for his fifth trip away from home, the Conan crew ventured to one of the most policed-communications-wise, viciously anti-American, closed-off nations in the world–North Korea.
For Saturday’s episode, ‘O Brien broadcast his show from overseas, initially in the far-safer, far-friendlier borders of South Korea, Deadline reports. Joining him on his journey was The Walking Dead star Glenn Rhee, otherwise known as his real-world name Steven Yeun, who originally hails from Seoul, South Korea, where the Conan show camped out.
The episode, titled “Conan in Korea,” did not exactly begin steeped in political strife, as someone might expect of a North Korea-themed special. ‘O Brien and Yeun, after landing in the airport to a crowd of fans, traveled to the least perilous stop in their adventure–a Korean market. ‘O Brien, who ended up buying an octopus he named Samuel rather than food to keep him from hunger, then prepared himself for his debut in a Korean soap opera, where he admittedly had some troubles with the language and keeping his resolve.
‘O Brien, alongside Yeun, also starred in a music video with K-Pop J.Y. Park, performing their new hit, “Fire”.
Eventually, ‘O Brien got down to business, addressing the massive elephant in the room–or, rather, next door. At a relatively underwhelming-looking Joint Security Area, the two sat down at a conference table to converse about Yeun’s life and career, and of course, The Walking Dead. Fairly soon, the discussion turned towards North Korea, and what was so significant about what the two television faces from America were doing. After all, in this JSA, the room is split into two halves, not unlike the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul Turkey that lies above the border between Europe and Asia; one half of the room was South Korea, and the other, the one ‘O Brien and Yeun were speaking in, was North Korea.
Said ‘O Brien to Yeun, according to the Hollywood Reporter, ” “We’ve been kidding around a little bit, but this is a serious thing, the idea that you and I could be in North Korea talking and communicating freely, seems like kind of a cool message.”
Overall, though flavored with sincere political hints, the Korean Conan special was fun. However, though the late-night host spent most of his episode spent most of his time naming octopi, dancing around, and pretending to act, he was right; the fact that an American host and the star of an American TV show were able to have an unregulated, government-free conversation technically within the borders of North Korea is a massive blow to leader Kim Jong Un’s rigid grasp on his nation’s communications. Whether or not the leader will threaten the United States in the way he did before the release of The Interview, the James Franco and Seth Rogen movie “set” in North Korea, last year is yet to be determined.