Conan goes to South Korea – Recap


Some of Conan’s best episodes of the year have been when he heads out of the comfort zone of his studio and into a foreign country. He ventured into Armenia with his assistant Sona Movsesion last year. This year, his big trip was to South Korea.

Conan received fan mail from a fan in South Korea. Even though his show doesn’t air there, he’s built a following thanks to the internet and YouTube. That’s what sparked this visit. The footage of him arriving at the airport in South Korea is absolutely wild. It looked like The Beatles were arriving; all four of them.

The first stop was an attempt to learn the language and culture of South Korea. The instructor told him not to use too much eye contact and use a natural smile. She didn’t believe his smile was genuine. Conan’s unique brand of funny/creepy was perfect for this type of meeting. The instructor learned more about Conan than Conan learned about South Korea. He seemed like he was a little too much for the instructor at times, especially when he requested that he be punished with her wooden stick.

Like Conan’s visit to Armenia, he visited a local market to get in touch with the local food culture. His cultural instructor came along for the trip. Much of the seafood cuisine in the market was quite literally alive. Some people eat the food raw. He bought a small octopus and took it to an aquarium to live out its life. Unfortunately, it may be placed among its natural predators in the aquarium.

Also like his trip to Armenia, Conan got to star in a South Korean soap opera. Of course, that also meant he had get a better handle on the language. The behind-the-scenes look showed numerous takes of him flubbing his lines. It wasn’t quite as hilarious as his Armenian appearance when they changed his hair color to black, but it was still solid.

The next stop was a PC Bang. They’re computer cafes where people can play computer games for 24 hours. This was similar to his Clueless Gamer segments. He learned to play StarCraft and CounterStrike. It didn’t go well, but he did get a kick out of insulting other players in the in-game chat.

After playing video games for several hours, he wanted to do something more active. He went to a Taekwondo studio. The athletes there showed incredible displays of martial arts. Conan did better than expected and broke several boards with ease. At Conan’s request, the instructor attacked a cardboard cutout of his associate producer.

After learning Taekwondo, he met up with star of The Walking Dead Steven Yeun. He has worked with Conan before on similar segments. The two played a crane game to win a stuffed animal, and then went to have some food. After some solid banter about how Steven doesn’t really know anything about the culture, they then went to a Buddhist temple of monks and spent some time with one of them. He didn’t think the monks would know who he was, but monks are different in this day in age. They have television and phones. The monk had a Samsung Galaxy and an iPhone.

The final visit for Conan and Stephen was the Demilitarized Zone, or the DMZ, which divides North Korea and South Korea. The two countries occasionally visit there for diplomatic talks. There was never a peace treaty signed by the two countries. Only a ceasefire. Like his trip to Armenia, this portion was more serious than the rest of the show. The two actually crossed into North Korea in one of the diplomatic buildings. He interviewed Steven at a desk within North Korea. It was only a few feet into North Korea, but in North Korea nonetheless.

The hour in South Korea concluded with Conan and Steven meeting up with one of the biggest K Pop stars in the country. The three shot their very own music video for a song called “Fire.” You have to see it to believe it.