Conan O’Brien becomes first US talk show host to film in Cuba since 1962

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HAVANA, Cuba — Famed late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien made history over the weekend, becoming the first such personality from America to film in Cuba since the U.S.’ embargo on the communist country more than five decades ago.

The U.S. and Cuba have been working to normalize diplomatic relations since late last year, ending various restrictions that have been in place for more than 50 years.

According to Deadline, O’Brien and a small crew flew to Havana at the end of last week to film segments there over the weekend.

Deadline notes that O’Brien’s move means TBS’ program, “Conan,” will be the first American late-night show to film in Cuba since the U.S. embargo began in 1962. According to multiple reports, one of the last times it happened was in 1959, when Jack Paar, at the time host of “The Tonight Show,” interviewed Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

The Associated Press reports the segments aim to give O’Brien’s viewers “a rare glimpse into the daily life of a country not often seen by American viewers.”

“I just spent the last four days shooting my show all around the city of Havana,” O’Brien wrote on his Facebook page Monday. “I made countless friends and had one of the best experiences of my life. Many laughs, but that could also be the rum.”

The road trip was not O’Brien’s first; his program has filmed internationally in Ireland, Finland and Toronto. He has also done domestic tours in New York, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta.

“Conan” regularly airs from Burbank, California, near Los Angeles.

President Obama ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba back in December. Deadline notes that national news anchors from CBS, NBC and ABC have traveled to Cuba since then, but O’Brien will be the first late-night host to do so.

Segments from “Conan” in Cuba will reportedly air March 4.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.




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