8:07pm PT by Lauren Huff
Conan O'Brien Survives the Outback and Learns Local Slang in Australia Special
Conan O'Brien has traveled to the likes of Cuba, Korea, Mexico, Japan, Israel, Haiti, Italy and many others for the sake of entertainment, and now he's taking over the land down under.
In Conan Without Borders: Australia, which aired Wednesday night on TBS, the late-night host learned how to speak like a native Aussie, survive the Outback, become a Bondi Beach lifeguard and play Australia Rules football, or "footy."
His surprise inspiration for the trip came from none other than famous Hollywood Aussie Hugh Jackman, who sent him a "threatening" video in which Jackman mentioned that O'Brien has been "everywhere around the world — except Australia. It's almost like you're going out of your way not to go to Australia."
O'Brien, in response, told the audience about an old rule of show business: "When Hugh Jackman tells you to do something, you do it."
Embarking on his trip, he sat down first with voice and dialect coach Gabrielle Rogers, who explained the ins and outs of an Australian accent, and introduced the late-night host to key Australian slang terms like "brekkie," "budgie smugglers" and "root rat" (that's "breakfast," "Speedos" and "someone who enjoys sex" for U.S. viewers).
In addition to the dialect expert, O'Brien sat down with some locals to try out their speech patterns. They informed him that Aussies frequently add the letter "o" to the end of their names when talking about friends. "Would I be Conan-o?" he asked them, to which they replied that he'd be "Con-o." The three men then pretended to be friends and used as much local slang as they could — complete with O'Brien's exaggerated Australian accent.
Dusting off his his vest from the New York '80s club scene, O'Brien met up with wildlife expert Kevin Newton to learn about the nation's deadly spiders, insects and snakes before (mostly unsuccessfully) venturing out to find some of the creatures themselves. Other wildlife he encountered included a Tasmanian devil, a wombat, kangaroos, emus and wallabies.
Later, he prepped for a day at Bondi Beach by trying out sun gear, including a giant tub of SPF 50, at a Cancer Council shop. At the beach, he found a kid who looked like him "in 1969" and jokingly warned him "this is what you're going to look like when you get older" if he continued to hang out in the sun. O'Brien then met up with a trio of Bondi lifeguards to "get a good rescue montage" out of them in which O'Brien needed rescuing while attempting to surf.
During his trip, he was also invited to the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence to take part in a traditional "Welcome to Country" ceremony. He also met up with Briggs, an indigenous rapper and activist. "It's about changing the perceptions of what an indigenous artist can be," he told O'Brien of what he hopes to accomplish with his work.
He closed out his trip to the land down under with a live show featuring Australian comics Steen Raskopoulos, Becky Lucas and Rhys Nicholson.
Watch some highlights from the special below.