NEW YORK – "Late Night" host Conan O'Brien has joked that no one watches his talk show. That's certainly not the case in Finland, where he has become an unlikely cultural icon — and soon a visiting one.
The quirky, self-deprecating NBC host, along with a camera crew, will visit the Nordic country next week. He'll meet with newly elected Finnish President Tarja Halonen and receive an award on Feb. 14 at the Telvis Awards in Helsinki for being "the most surprising and entertaining TV personality in Finland."
"Once I conquer Finland, I'll head south through the Baltics and on to Belarus," O'Brien joked. "Soon, all the world will find me mildly amusing."
Last year, O'Brien caused a political stir in Finland for endorsing Halonen during her presidential campaign, broadcasting mock campaign ads promoting her and attacking her opponents.
O'Brien has joked that "Late Night" is highly popular in Finland because of his resemblance to the fair-skinned, red-haired Halonen, the country's first female president.
Lately, an increased number of Finns have been sitting in the show's studio audience, said a network spokesman in a statement.
Finland will become just another stamp in his passport: O'Brien has filmed past segments in Canada, Ireland, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands.