Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A Star is Born: Finnish Style

Multi-talented Finnish musician/storyteller/performer Ulla Suokko just added one more line to her resume: TV personality. I was alerted by intrepid Finnish-American reporter Diane Saarinen that she had heard (by way of Gerry Henkel) that Ulla had appeared on Conan O'Brien's Late Night show. I was aghast to have missed Ulla's television debut, but fortunately, I am married to a very clever man and within minutes, Gene had located a clip on the internet.

Apparently this all came about because Conan's show is now broadcast in Finland, and Finnish fans have started showing up at the tapings in NYC, which delighted Conan -- even more so when he decided that he had a more than passing resemblence to Finland's President Tarja Halonen (note that Finland's president has no qualms about posting her resume on line). He has decided to help in her re-election effort for that very reason (although as an extremely popular president she doesn't really need much help).

So, they prepared a "campaign advertisement" for Finnish television, with Conan and Ulla portraying a couple at the dinner table. Ulla did most of the talking, since the ad was in Finnish (much of it very silly but positive things about Halonen's presidency, like "now we have more carp!"), but Conan repeated the final lines about voting for her "because she looks like me!" in Finnish. Very funny.

Undoubtedly, after this performance Ulla will be much in demand for television roles -- and who knows? Are movies next? I wouldn't be at all surprised. [In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that not only am I a friend of Ulla, but I also worked with Conan's dad at Harvard Medical School.]

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