Conan Without Borders: Made in Mexico tickets border patrol and challenges ideals in the wake of Donald Trump’s wall proposal. O’Brien’s skit showed that you don’t have to look Hispanic to be stopped and questioned, which could be seen as a positive message.
Conan O’Brien is not a celebrity to hide behind the social norm like other late show hosts often do. Even “nice guy” Jimmy Fallon has taken more of a brutal edge with politics in his sketches, as has Stephen Colbert. This is due to the fact that their ratings have grown since they started doing so. Possibly closing in on rivaling Johnny Carson for his time spent in a late night TV slot, Conan apparently feels he needs to get the facts as they are, instead of the facts as audiences want to see them.
The Atlantic states that O’Brien’s greatest draw is the fact that he takes a proverbial page out of predecessors’ playbook and leaves the studio for live segments with actual citizens. Jay Leno and David Letterman both did this and it made them legendary among late show hosts. Jimmy Fallon occasionally does this, but it’s usually to play pranks on the public and promote something.
There have been rumors that TBS is planning to cut Conan O’Brien down to a weekly show, possibly ticketing Without Borders episodes like “Made in Mexico” and focusing more on what audiences allegedly want more. It isn’t stopping him from going to the source for actual answers instead of catering to the popular opinion like many younger hosts now do.
The Hollywood Reporter opined that Conan outshines actual news reporters such as one who went to Chinatown to poke fun at Chinese culture, making himself look stupid in the process.
O’Brien took to the actual streets of Mexico, his fluent ability with the Spanish language apparent, and took part in their culture. He toured with a Mariachi band, donned a mask to compete in a “Lucha Libre” match, and walked around getting answers from the citizens of Mexico City. His fame was obviously not as great in Mexico, as one citizen thought he was Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Power Rangers). Conan’s scripted jokes didn’t go over as well as some of the things the citizens had to say, which is one thing his fans love about him. He keeps it real, aside from his sketches.
Wednesday’s episode also featured interviews with former Mexican President Vicente Fox and actor Diego Luna, now famous for his role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The latter revealed his deep pride in playing a character with a Spanish accent in the long-running film franchise.
During Conan’s interview with Fox, the former president once again made his intentions very clear that Donald Trump’s wall proposal won’t be getting any funding from him or his nation. Fox made it clear that Mexicans were migrating to simply make a better life for themselves and have more value than Donald Trump claimed.
The cold open for the episode poked fun at Trump’s infamous statement in 2016 about Mexican immigrants. The border patrol asked Conan for his passport, and the late night host showed them his ID, as well as a clip from the show, to which one of the agents stated that “clearly, they’re not sending us their best.” They followed it up with other classic Trump lines, including “extreme vetting” and “bad hombres.”
Then, after the dog sniffed at his luggage, they opened it to find several bottles of sunscreen, a bag of Taco Bell takeout, and a “stolen” towel from Trump Hotel and Casino. The cold open ended with Conan running past the gate and the dog chasing him.
What did you think of Conan O’Brien’s Mexico special on Wednesday?
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