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Conan's New Travel Show: May The Norse Be With You

As I sat down to begin previewing Conan O’Brien’s new show on Max, the first question I asked myself while glancing at my watch was this: OK, how long is this gonna take?

It took just over 45 minutes to watch Conan cavort with Norwegians in Episode One of “Conan O’Brien Must Go,” premiering Thursday on Max.

O’Brien, 60, found a new vocation in far-flung travel as his last late-night show, “Conan” on TBS, was slowly on its way out. It faded to black in June 2020.

Back then, his adventures were titled “Conan: Without Borders.” In all, there were at least 13 of those, including journeys to Armenia, Australia, Berlin, Cuba, Ghana, Greenland, Haiti, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Qatar and South Korea.

“Conan O’Brien Must Go” encompasses four trips -- Norway, Thailand, Argentina and Ireland. 

I will admit that I laughed many times during Conan’s tour of Norway, where he made fun of everyone he met.

Some of Conan’s “fun” did come across as more mean than mirthful. But no matter what he said to them, however, the Norwegians he encountered were a stoical, monosyllabic, impervious lot.

Though they spoke very little, I formed the impression at times that they really would rather be anywhere else than talking to Conan O’Brien.

In “Conan O’Brien Must Go,” Conan travels to these other countries -- ostensibly to meet one or two of his fans.

These are people who Zoomed into his podcast, “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” to tell him they are fans of his, even in Norway (if true).

So, he goes to Norway to visit two of them, one totally by surprise. This Norwegian is a young Scandinavian rapper who lives a sparse, bachelor’s existence in a small apartment in Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, after Oslo.

In the man’s apartment, Conan sets about making fun (bordering on cruelty) about the way the guy lives, pointing out that his bread is stale, he only owns one spoon and the like.

Others who Conan visits in Norway include a group of knitters, a clan of Viking re-enactors who live in the manner of their hardy ancestors, a salmon fisherman (the other fan) and a sex therapist.

Conan has a gift for improvisational, off-the-cuff conversation, which is why he succeeds at these comedic travelogues. It also helped that everyone he encountered in Norway was fluent in English.

“Conan O’Brien Must Go” premieres Thursday, April 18, on Max.

1 comment about "Conan's New Travel Show: May The Norse Be With You".
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  1. Robert Rose from AIM Tell-A-Vision, April 17, 2024 at 2:57 p.m.

    Celebrity fronted "travel" shows are usually thin on the travel, thick on the celebrity. Yet, I always enjoyed "Conan without Borders" and look forward to this new effort. Regarding your final observation - "It also helped that everyone he encountered in Norway was fluent in English." - Chances are not everyone he encountered spoke fluent English but that is what made the final cut. Personally, my most gratifying moments in travel are often when the people don't fluently speak English... and we must "improvise" amongst ourselves to communicate (and usually bond). Final thought - Travel is NOT a spectator sport. 

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