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Conan O’Brien Solicited Border Wall Donations During His Mexico Special

Conan O’Brien’s latest international trip got political.

The comedian and host of Conan on TBS recently took his show to Mexico City and filmed a special episode that aired on Wednesday night, called “Conan Without Borders: Made in Mexico.” During the show, O’Brien walked onstage to do his monologue, saying “Buenas noches, Mexico!” before telling a few jokes in Spanish. The comedian then welcomed guests such as Rogue One actor Diego Luna, former Mexican president Vicente Fox, and Mexican musical group Calibre 50.

“My mission here in your beautiful country is to tape a show made by a Mexican staff and crew, made in a Mexican television studio, and starring the Mexican people,” O’Brien told the crowd.

O’Brien announced plans for the special episode at the end of January, roughly a week after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. O’Brien said at the time that he hoped filming in Mexico—with an all-Mexican staff and crew—could offer up some positivity to offset the preponderance of “negative news about the relationship between the United States and Mexico.” The comedian was referring, of course, to the Trump administration’s plans to build a $25 billion U.S.-Mexico border wall as well as the president’s repeated pledges to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, some of whom Trump has described as “bad hombres.”

The episode aired on TBS at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, an hour earlier than when O’Brien’s show typically airs. (Another new episode of Conan, filmed in Los Angeles, aired at 11 p.m.)

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The new “Conan Without Borders” special kicked off with a cold open sketch that found O’Brien at a desert section of the U.S.-Mexico border trying to cross into Mexico. In the sketch, the comedian is stopped by three Mexican customs officers who are reluctant to allow his entry into their country, noting that Americans are now subject to “extreme vetting” when crossing the border. O’Brien replies, “You can’t lump all Americans into one group—that’s not fair, that’s stereotyping.” The officers then all break into laughter and declare, “He really is a comedian!” while deciding to let him pass.

Later, the episode featured segments in which O’Brien co-starred in the Mexican telenovela Mi Adorable Maldicion, tried out the Mexican professional wrestling form lucha libre, and one in which the comedian even took to the streets of Mexico City and unsuccessfully tried to solicit donations for the border wall (referencing Trump’s repeated claims that Mexico will pay for the multi-billion dollar wall),


Once O’Brien sat down with the show’s guests, the comedian drank mezcal with Luna while discussing the inflaming rhetoric coming from the Trump administration—which O’Brien called “a misrepresentation of how people feel,” noting that many Americans love Mexico. Meanwhile, Fox came on the show bearing the gift of boots inscribed with the message, “No f—ing wall,” a message that the country’s former president repeated out loud in a statement aimed at Trump.

O’Brien has a history of taking his TV show on the road—a practice that dates back to the comedian’s time at NBC, on Late Night and The Tonight Show. And, in 2015, O’Brien was the first late-night television host to film an episode in Cuba since 1962, as he traveled to the island nation to mark the thawing of U.S.-Cuban diplomatic relations.