Conan O’Brien is in Mexico City, filming his latest international special, Conan Without Borders: Mexico – and from the look of all the Facebook videos he’s been posting, the whole Team Coco staff is having quite a fiesta, from learning lucha libre and playing futbol to crashing a quinceanera and bullying a mariachi band.
But Conan’s most excited about his guest spot on the wildly popular telenovela Mi Adorable Maledicion (which translates to “my lovely curse”). In his surprise appearance, he played a very American character.
O’Brien’s role is that of Joseph Robinson, a businessman looking to export dairy products to the U.S. The host shared scenes with the telenovela’s two leads, Renata Notni and Pablo Lyle.
“It was a dream come true,” O’Brien told Hoy, a Mexican morning TV program, in an interview shared Monday. “I love telenovelas. In the U.S. I watch the ones in Spanish. I love them. I wanted to be in one, and they let me turn into this mysterious man that sells cheese.”
Can you handle that moustache??
Conan’s plan for Without Borders is simple, but the gesture speaks volumes in this specific political climate: when he announced the expedition, he made it clear he’d be hiring an all-Mexican staff and crew, welcoming Mexican guests, and performing exclusively for a Mexican audience. It’s all part of his plan to “take things in a more positive direction.”
It’s not the first time O’Brien has used his show as a platform to celebrate diversity – in the past, he’s filmed editions of Conan Without Borders in Armenia, Berlin, and Korea, all locations with negative historic reputations. Equal parts travel guides and cultural primers, these specials are fun to watch – it’s impossible not to fall in love with these cities alongside an excited O’Brien – and uniquely, beautifully empathetic, focused on highlighting and humanizing the citizens who make each complicated place so great. And that’s what makes O’Brien himself so damn great, too.
Conan Without Borders: Mexico premieres March 1st on TBS.