SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Korea Bizwire) – American talk show host Conan O’Brien attracted hundreds of fans at a cafe in Seoul on Monday after receiving a boisterous welcome usually reserved for K-pop idols at Incheon International Airport the previous day.
Dozens of fans who had failed to reserve a spot at the guerilla-style meet-and-greet gathered around the building in southern Seoul to welcome the redhead comedian. They swooned as O’Brien entered from a minibus and shouted “Annyeonghaseyo,” or “Hello” in Korean.
At the meeting, O’Brien answered questions from more than 200 fans who had beaten a 1,000-to-1 chance to share the space with a man whose show isn’t even broadcast in South Korea.’
A 17-year-old attendee who only gave her surname Cho said she was inspired by O’Brien’s positive attitude when he was taking a year-long break from talk shows in 2010. She had brought a hand-drawn portrait of him to the event.
An 18-year-old girl surnamed Yoo had also brought a shopping bag full of Korean snacks and toiletries.
“Because I don’t know when O’Brien will revisit Korea, I prepared this as a mother would for a daughter leaving for marriage,” she said.
To the fans’ disappointment, the event was cut short from two hours to 30 minutes. A few hours after O’Brien made an abrupt exit, a photo of him with U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Mark Lippert surfaced on Instagram, giving rise to rumors that he “ditched” his fans to spend time with the envoy.
The U.S. Embassy in Seoul refuted the claim, saying the meeting was shortened due to “O’Brien’s private reasons” and “his exit has nothing to do with Amb. Lippert.” A local fan community on the portal website Naver also posted a statement, explaining that the two hours scheduled had actually not been confirmed by the Conan team.
On Tuesday, O’Brien is scheduled to record a cameo appearance on the MBC soap opera “One More Happy Ending.”
He will meet with JYP Entertainment founder and musician Park Jin-young on Thursday to work on a collaboration project, though the details remain under wraps.
His five-day journey in South Korea will end on Friday.
O’Brien had said on his show “Conan” that a letter from a Korean named Sunny Lee inspired him to book a trip to South Korea. Along with the letter, Lee had sent him a box of local snacks.
“Here is my motto, and I want this to get out all around the world: If you send me free snacks from your country, I will travel there in person to thank you. That’s what I do,” he said on the show.’