Conan O’Brien on Meeting the Pope: ‘I Don’t Speak Italian, But I Think He Probably Said I Hate You’

Chris Rock, Stephen Colbert, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and over 100 other stars gathered at the Vatican to promote the power of comedy

Mike Birbiglia, Ramy Youssef, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Stephen Colber, and Conan O'Brien at the Vatican (Credit: X/@JamesMartinSJ/)
Mike Birbiglia, Ramy Youssef, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Stephen Colber, and Conan O'Brien at the Vatican (Credit: X/@JamesMartinSJ/)

Conan O’Brien just visited the Vatican, but could only guess what Pope Francis was saying about himself and the other comedians in attendance.

“He gave a speech, I don’t speak Italian,” O’Brien told EWTN News on Friday. “He probably said, ‘I hate you Conan O’Brien. I like all of you but not Conan O’Brien,’ and I wouldn’t know.”

The former late night star was one of over 100 other comedians from 15 countries who were invited to the Vatican to hear the Pope speak. The hope for the gathering was to “establish a link” between comedians around the world and the Catholic Church.

“They did give us a translation, it was a very nice thing about humor and it’s power to bring us together,” O’Brien clarified. “I was sitting with Chris Rock and Stephen Colbert and we were all just looking at each other and thinking ‘How did this happen?’”

Other comedians from America included Rock, Colbert, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jimmy Fallon, Tig Notaro, Whoopi Goldberg and Mike Birbiglia. Two-thirds of those invited were Italian.

“In the midst of so much gloomy news, you denounce abuses of power, you give voice to forgotten situations, you highlight abuses, you point out inappropriate behavior,” Pope Francis said Friday.

“It’s nice that someone with the power of the Pope just recognized the humor just for a moment,” O’Brien added. “It’s nice, it’s a nice thing.”

Friday’s event marked the first time the Pope officially met with comedians at the Vatican despite a history of linking up with other members of the arts and entertainment fields.

“And I’m sure the last,” O’Brien quipped. “I’m sure he’s walked out and said ‘We’re never doing that again. Those are the most needy people I’ve ever talked to.’”

Watch the full interview with O’Brien in the video above.

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