The hilarious performance arose after Martin explained that, as a child, his lack of singing ability shot down his aspirations to perform musical theater. “I did one audition, which that didn’t go so well because I couldn’t dance,” he said. “And I got one part in a musical, but they said, ‘You can’t sing.'”
Martin eventually landed the role of Cockney chimney sweep Alfred in a production of My Fair Lady. O’Brien, meanwhile, grew up impersonating Dick Van Dyke’s extreme accent from Mary Poppins.
“I don’t do it perfectly,” the host said of his Cockney take. “I do it horribly, and it’s offensive to many people in the U.K.” Nevertheless, the pair united for a ridiculous version of “Yellow,” with Martin employing a thick vibrato and O’Brien crooning like a cartoon character.
Martin suggested the duo should tour under the banner “Conan and Chris’ Cockney Classics,” an idea O’Brien encouraged: “We could do all of Jay Z’s songs,” he joked. “Everything: Beyonce. We could do it all.”