Conan O’Brien returns to the late-night airwaves for the first time since Tuesday’s election results, and a preview of tonight’s episode finds the “Conan” host, like many Americans, trying to make sense of what just happened.
“We’ve all been through the wringer these past few months, and today is — it’s a really strange day, very strange day,” he says. “Half the country is really happy. Half the country is somewhere between despondent and furious. You may not know this about me, or you may: I’m a history buff, I love American history, and I was struck by one thought today: We have been here before. We have had bitter angry elections for 200 years — whether it was Jefferson versus Burr, Adams versus Jackson, Lincoln versus Douglas, Alien versus Predator.”
He quips: “I threw that in! I’m trying to keep it light!”
“The point is: This is our thing, OK?” he continues. “And the optimist in me chooses, today, to be happy that we have fair and free elections at all. It’s an amazing thing, I really do… In the last few years I’ve travelled to a bunch of countries — Cuba, Armenia, the Middle East — where the people would give anything — anything — to have our system. In America, we get to pick who’s going to ruin our country, and it’s up to us! We get to choose! No, seriously!”
O’Brien concludes: “I was watching President Obama and Hillary Clinton speak today about a peaceful transfer of power and it gave me chills,” he says. “Now, today, Americans have the right to feel happy, angry, pessimistic, optimistic, but everybody should feel grateful that we get to vote, and if we don’t get our way, we have the chance to try again. It is a beautiful thing. Winston Churchill, one of my favourite people, once said, ‘Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried.’…. Winston Churchill also said, ‘When healing a divided nation always resort to cheap, visual comedy.’ Now, with that in mind, let’s bring out an old friend of ours — this is silly and completely pointless, but he always cheers me up — the Really Tall Dachshund!”