Conan O’Brien used a well-known Broadway musical to help explain the presidential election results to his two children.
“My daughter was very excited about there being a first female president,” he told reporters at an event promoting his new special, Conan Without Borders: Berlin, in Los Angeles on Friday. “She was really excited about that. She’s 13. My son is 11 [and] was also interested. We watched all the debates with them. It was actually kind of an insight to how this election was. We all know that it had dreary aspects, but you always want to think that you can bond with your kids over an election.”
O’Brien, 53, continued: “We watched the third debate with my children and at one point Hillary was challenging Trump and said ‘Go on Hillary.com and see for yourself.’ So my son, trying to be a good kid, went and got the family computer. He opens it up and was looking and the second thing was all about the Billy Bush-Trump situation. It’s just the world we live in, once you click on something all this stuff comes up. My son saw something inflammatory about Trump and bad word. I just felt attacked. It kind of hurt my heart a little bit.”
The late night TV host, who has two children – Neve, 13, and Beckett, 11 – with wife, Liza, admitted that Donald Trump‘s victory over Hillary Clinton left the two young siblings feeling confused and “upset.” But, O’Brien used the Broadway musical’s songs and storyline to explain the 2016 election outcome to his kids, who know the lyrics to Hamilton “word for word.”
“I took my son with me to vote. We were really excited,” he said of taking his youngest with him to the polling booth. “A lot of people had this experience where it didn’t go the way they thought it was going to go and they were really upset and what did help was that my kids have memorized Hamilton. They know it cold. Young kids have taken to that like it’s the Beatles. They know it word for word.”
He added: “That was really helpful because they were really upset. I sat them down and I said ‘You guys know Hamilton? This has been going on from day one. That was the beginning. Look what Jefferson said about Hamilton, look what Hamilton said about Jefferson.’ I said, ‘This is the nature of what we’ve been dealing with. This was always a part of our system. It’s always been ugly. You don’t always get what you want and this is a part of our national debate for better or for worse.’ ”
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was a vocal supporter of Clinton throughout the presidential race and joined numerous Broadway stars at The Hillary Victory Fund‘s Stronger Together Broadway for Hillary event on Oct. 17. At the event, Miranda was joined on stage by his Hamilton costar and Tony Award winner Renée Elise Goldsberry with a new, appropriate interpretation of the “Ten Duel Commandments” from the musical, rapping lyrics such as “In a world gone berserk, Hillary rolls up her sleeves and gets to work” and “I want to vote the candidate who puts our kids first.”
Conan Without Borders: Berlin airs Dec. 7 at 10 p.m. ET on TBS.