TEL AVIV (JTA) – Conan O’Brien first trip to Israel has so far been a love fest.
Since arriving in the country Friday to film a special episode of his TBS talk show, he has schmoozed with locals in Tel Aviv, calling them “fantastic, really funny, nice people.” And they have reciprocated the affection.
In a Facebook video shot Saturday evening in Jaffa, in south Tel Aviv, O’Brien flirts with a young blonde woman, despite the presence of her husband.
“Is this music you’re hearing right now making you fall in love with me?” he asks, referring to a droning tune in the background.
“I already did,” she replies.
But it’s not just the women.
“All the men are incredibly buff, and the women are beautiful,” O’Brien says. “A lot of men in speedos, if that’s your thing. Fortunately for me, it is.”
O’Brien also gushes about the food. He recommends shakshuka, the Middle Eastern breakfast dish of eggs poached in tomato sauce, advising, “You gotta get yourself some shakshuka, and get it today.”
He also endorses Gold Star lager, Israel’s best-selling beer, deeming it “amazing, terrific.”
Although O’Brien describes Tel Aviv as “absolutely gorgeous,” and says he went for a run along the waterfront, one thing he is not a fan of is the heat. “I’m like a vampire. When the sun comes up here, I just start shrieking and hissing,” he jokes.
With the temperature in the city reaching a humid 90 degrees over the weekend, many Israelis can relate to that criticism.
O’Brien will reportedly spend five days in Israel shooting his international special “Conan Without Borders.” In announcing the trip, he joked that he was coming “to help Jared Kushner,” U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and aide, who arrived in the country Wednesday to advance peace talks.
In his video Saturday, O’Brien said he would visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and employees at the new Setai hotel on the Sea of Galilee told JTA he had booked rooms there for later in the week.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) August 26, 2017
Not content just to watch O’Brien’s video about them, which has been viewed more than 400,000 times, some Israelis have been posting photos of their interactions with the comedian on social media, too.
An Israeli entertainment journalist shared on Facebook photos of O’Brien taking shots Friday night with the chef at a high-end Asian restaurant. And on Saturday afternoon, O’Brien appeared to charm Israelis enjoying Shabbat on Tel Aviv’s central Rothschild Boulevard.
“Every second word cracked everyone up.. He really knows how to be a celebrity, so accessible and friendly,” one man wrote in a Facebook post that included photos of him with O’Brien. “He stops cars in the streets and starts talking to the drivers, shouting Shabbat shalom to passersby in broken Hebrew.”
Another Tel Aviv resident went so far as to give O’Brien the shirt off his back — in exchange for O’Brien’s blue button-down. The man explained that he had stepped out of his apartment to get a cup of coffee hoping no one would see him in the ripped up old army shirt, but “from here to there Conan liked the shirt.”
“What a king,” a commenter wrote.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) August 25, 2017
However, at least one Israeli may have been less than charmed. In a video O’Brien shot in a restroom on his inbound El Al flight, someone can be heard aggressively shaking and banging on the door.
“Peace, peace, l’chayim, l’chayim,” O’Brien shouts. “Please, please, there’s a peaceful solution here.”