Conan O’Brien was on the road again; this time to Mexico. Wednesday night, the late-night talk show, Conan, aired a special remote titled Conan Without Borders: Made in Mexico. O’Brien’s entire show traveled to and filmed in Mexico. It used a Mexican staff, studio, audience, and guests (Diego Luna and Vicente Fox). And like all of O’Brien’s travel episodes, it turned out pretty great.
Conan’s greatest skill as a comedian is his ability to relate to so many different people through using himself as the point of ridicule. He makes himself the butt of jokes, rather than poking fun at a different culture than his own. By ingratiating himself to the outsiders in this way, he becomes the outsider in the foreign land, allowing the television audience to relate to the people he is meeting.
Just in recent travel episodes, Conan has made his way to South Korea, Germany, Cuba, and now Mexico. Each time, he explores the culture he thrusts himself into. In Mexico, that meant meeting a lucha libre wrestler and joining the cast of a telenovela.
O’Brien’s comedy never ventures into politics. That isn’t his thing. But it was obvious that his trip to Mexico was to help prove a point, even if it was an obvious one. These people are normal, nice people! We don’t need a wall between the United States and Mexico. One of his funnier about-town segments saw him panhandling for money for the wall, which Mexican citizens excitedly turned down. Again, he was the butt of the joke here, not the citizens he was talking to. Either that, or Donald Trump was the joke without Conan even uttering anything remotely political.