Popular American comedian and TV presenter films in Cuba
U.S. TV host and comedian, Conan O'Brien went on a short four-day holiday to Cuba last month and shot a full episode in the streets of Havana for his late night TV programme; making him the first late night American host to visit the previously 'forbidden' Caribbean nation since 1959.
U.S. TV host and comedian, Conan O’Brien went on a short four-day holiday to Cuba last month and shot a full episode in the streets of Havana for his late night TV programme; making him the first late night American host to visit the previously ‘forbidden’ Caribbean nation since 1959.
Conan O’Brien, an American comedian and host of a late night show named after himself, recently set foot in Cuba to film a special episode that aired last night on U.S. TV channel, TBS.
The filming of the episode took place over a last-minute arranged four-day trip to Cuba, which quickly followed President Obama’s lifting of travel restrictions to visit Cuba.
The special episode, simply titled "Conan in Cuba" was shot continuously over Conan’s four-day stay in the island in a somewhat hap-hazard, unplanned way that worked out brilliantly to reflect the island’s real vibe and Conan’s sometimes clumsy attempts at speaking Spanish, improvising some salsa-dancing and general poking fun of himself as the classic tourist idiot.
This light comedic take on rediscovering Cuba from an American’s perspective aimed to shine a light on the island’s culture through the comedian’s characteristic approach. He explained how he wanted to purposefully avoid anything politically-geared or that could be interpreted as condescending or sarcastic.
“I felt strongly that I do not want this to be a smart, snarky American comedy take,
“I don't want this to be political. A lot of my remotes are me as a fish out of water, the jokes are usually on me, I want to go as a comedian making fun of myself and make Cuban people laugh. In that regard, I think I was successful.”
The episode shows a lot of Conan simply walking around the streets of Havana, attempting to strike up conversations with locals, and generally making it up as he goes along.
“I try to learn salsa dancing, I try to learn to play authentic Cuban music and sing using fractured eighth-grade Spanish. They let me into a cigar factory where they hand-make cigars, 400 people in a room. Obviously, I'm no good at it. "
He explains how easygoing and helpful Cubans were in helping him set-up the occasional props for some scenes and how the whole shooting turned out to be a very enjoyable process that went smoothly without a glitch.
"We borrowed a café table, put an old microphone on it, and a band of three or four women were playing (nearby), so I asked them if they'd be my house band. And then we found a guy to be Cuban Andy, who I actually have better chemistry with."
O’Brien is the latest pioneering American celebrity to have broken the ice in visiting the island shortly after Obama lifted travel restrictions to Cuba. Starlets like Paris Hilton have made a much-publicised trip to Cuba in recent weeks, clearly showing the advanced stage of the thawing process between Cuban and American relations.
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