Video: Conan O'Brien's Funny, Touching Trip To Armenia With His Assistant
Conan O'Brien traveled to Armenia, accompanied by his assistant, Sona Movsesian, to learn about the culture and—at the behest of Movsesian's grandmother—find her a groom.
Movsesian's family is from Armenia, and O'Brien expressed an interest in helping Movsesian, who grew up in L.A., explore her heritage, KPCC reports. O'Brien told KPCC that he had a good experience traveling to Cuba and was interested in keeping that aspect of the show going.
"Sona has been talking about Armenia and her culture for the six years we've been together. And the idea just popped in one day: What if I took Sona...back to Armenia? We had this crazy adventure, and we're really proud of the way it turned out," he said.
In the episode—which can be viewed in its entirety here—O'Brien talks about how Los Angeles has a large Armenian population, but that Sona—who frequently talks about Armenia—has never been to her home country. O'Brien tells Movsesian's family that he doesn't want her to lose sight of her Armenian roots, so he's going to take her there. He agrees to bring the family back a nice painting, dried apricots, cognac, and a rug—plus a groom for Movsesian, as is her grandmother's request. He also prepared by learning a few phrases in Armenian, such as, "I want to eat your liver."
O'Brien also appeared on some of Armenia's talk shows and an Armenian soap opera.
Through much of trip, O'Brien assumed the character of an "idiot abroad." But, he also attempted to actually dig out some touching moments interacting with other cultures. At one point, he said he was told there were some fans waiting for him in Yerevan. When he went outside, he said there was a group of teenage Syrian refuges who had fled to Armenia in the last few years.
"They could not be smarter, funnier, nicer, sharper. They know the show from YouTube. They were citing certain bits," he said.
At another point, the show stops and O'Brien says, "Any visit to Armenia must include an acknowledgment of the country's tragic history." They visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex, and Movsesian takes it in without O'Brien at her side. The two talk about it after, and Movsesian tearfully talks about finding a recording her grandfather made of his experience.
O'Brien is the first late-night host to ever travel to Armenia, the Washington Post reports.
Below is a clip where O'Brien and Movsesian visit a marketplace. Conan's "idiot abroad" comes through as he tries to speak Armenian, gets excited about recognizing a potato and learns about "Amenian Viagra."