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Conan O’Brien’s Whirlwind Tour of Israel is Exactly What You’d Expect—and That’s What Makes It So Fun

The comedian has hit Tel Aviv and Jerusalem by way of El-Al, and the results are predictably endearing, if entirely ordinary

Gabriela Geselowitz
August 29, 2017

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Despite the role of Jews in comedy in America, there tend to be very few members of the Tribe hosting late-night talk shows. So kudos to Conan O’Brien for taking his show on the road, or rather, on an El-Al flight; Conan has come to Israel.

“Conan Without Borders” is an ongoing show special; O’Brien created an episode earlier this year where he visited and produced his show in Mexico. And now, he’s in the Holy Land, eating the food, seeing the sites, and meeting, God help us, Israelis.

Conan introduced this special on his regular TV show, so if you want to know more, you can watch the clip in which he does some sort of generic gangly dance to fake klezmer music, because apparently that screams Israel.

So what sort of shenanigans has the redheaded comedian gotten into so far? While the special doesn’t come out till next month, Team Coco is sharing details of the trip (#ConanIsrael) on Facebook. After getting off to a great start with his flight (and yes, he did fly El-Al), it seems that O’Brien spent the weekend in Tel Aviv, and is currently in Jerusalem. He will also visit the West Bank soon, at least Bethlehem.

He enjoyed Goldstar beer! He loved shakshuka, even though he had trouble pronouncing it! He has noticed that Israelis are super attractive! He even visited Waze headquarters, therefore reminding Americans that the driving-directions app is an Israeli invention. Clearly, this trip is the best thing to happen to Israel’s international rep in pop culture since Gal Gadot starred in Wonder Woman.

Adorably, Coco ran into an older man named David on the streets of the Old City, and the whole camera crew ended up going to his place for a cup of coffee.

Bibi himself even made a video welcoming O’Brien to Israel (joking that he’d be more impressed if it were Stephen Colbert making the trip).

So, basically, this is Israel 101. Because boy, Conan O’Brien sure is white, both culturally, and in his complexion (stay safe in the sun, Coco). What he’s experiencing on this trip is a very basic non-Jew in Israel introduction. Tel Aviv has yummy Asian food and great beaches! Not everything is ancient ruins! Coexistence and the peace process is a complex situation!

So for anyone who’s ever actually been to Israel, known an Israeli, or had a Jewish education, it’s rather elementary, but it’s a real kick to see what we already know on TV for the general public, who don’t necessarily have another way to access what the country is like. Transparent might also have an upcoming cast trip to Israel, but let’s be real, most people who watch that show are Jewish.

Whatever, have a clip of Conan getting turnt at a Bar Mitzvah.

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Gabriela Geselowitz is a writer and the former editor of