Jimmy Fallon may have taken NBC’s Tonight Show to Phoenix and Los Angeles – but Conan’s in Cuba.
Conan O’Brien and a small crew flew to Havana Thursday and have spent the weekend filming for his TBS late-night show’s March 4 episode, becoming the first American late-night show to film in Cuba since the US embargo began in 1962.
Jack Paar famously interviewed Fidel Castro for the Tonight Show in 1959, for which Paar got criticized in some circles.
The episode is intended to give O’Brien’s audience a rare glimpse into Cuban daily life, said show representatives in confirming the report to Deadline.
O’Brien’s show is known for its road trips, having previously filmed in Ireland, Finland, and Toronto as well as New York, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta. His remotes are a signature thing, including last week when O’Brien and Steven Yuen visited a Korean spa, and that Lyft ride Conan took through Hollywood with Ice Cube and Kevin Hart that went viral late last year.
In December, President Obama announced he would normalize relations with Cuba, despite continued criticism from hardliners particularly in South Florida’s fiercely conservative Cuban expat community.
Scott Pelley also made news that day when he anchored the CBS Evening News from Cuba, detailing for viewers the new rules loosening trade and travel restrictions that are part of the normalization push after a half-century of isolation and sanctions against the communist country. Conservatives also complained that Obama excessively used his presidential executive authority to achieve a policy goal without involving Congress.
Conan’s been talking about traveling to Cuba for a couple of months. He waited until now to go film the episode because his show does not do a live episode on President’s Day, giving him the needed travel time for the trip.