Conan O’Brien’s special episode from Armenia aired on TBS earlier this week, and in case you missed it, there’s a wonderful moment in the Yerevan Day segment where O’Brien and his assistant Sona come out of their hotel to greet fans who were waiting outside to meet them, only they weren’t just Armenian fans – they were young Syrian-born Armenians who left their country three years ago. Speaking to John Horn on The Frame, O’Brien looked back on the experience as a highlight of not just the Armenia trip, but his entire career:
There’s a part of this episode that was really touching to me. I’m in Armenia, in Yerevan. I’m told there are a bunch of fans waiting for me outside, and I’m thinking, Armenian fans? That’s interesting. I go outside — they’re all Syrian refugees. There were about seven or eight teenagers. They fled to Armenia and took shelter there a couple of years ago when things really got rough. It’s heartbreaking. They could not be smarter, funnier, nicer, sharper. They know the show from YouTube. They were citing certain bits. They were so happy to see me that we wound up going out to the Village Square and just dancing around because there was some sort of disco celebration going on in Republic Square in Yerevan. I remembered, I called my wife — it was an 11-hour time difference, but I said, that was one of the great experiences of my life. Connecting with these Syrian refugees who liked the show on YouTube. They never get to see someone they know from YouTube, especially from the West — and then they’re with him. In those moments, I’m so grateful for the internet. It’s so incredible that I can have a connection with people from Syria who are living in Armenia and they just like some bits I do on the show, and we actually meet, and they get to be on the show. That’s magical to me.