The talk show host’s statement was “translated” into French.

NEW YORK (AP) – Talk show host Conan O’Brien apologized Wednesday for offending any French Canadians during his NBC show’s visit to Toronto last week, but not before trying to wring some laughs out of the flap.

“People of Quebec, I’m sorry,” O’Brien said on NBC’s “Late Night” telecast early Wednesday.

He had his remarks “translated” into French and subtitled: “People of Quebec, I’m an albino jackass.”

“We meant no harm with our comedy piece the other night,” O’Brien said.

The translation: “The other night, I wet the bed like a little girl.”

And so on.

O’Brien’s cantankerous sock puppet, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, drew the ire of French Canadian separatists with some of his jokes last week. O’Brien did a week of shows from Toronto to try and pump up the SARS-disrupted economy.

“You’re in North America, learn the language,” the puppet hollered at one couple encountered at a visit to Quebec City’s Winter Carnival.

“It’s too late, but it’s better than not giving his apology,” said Madeleine Meilleur, Ontario’s minister of culture and francophone affairs on Wednesday. “The comments should never have been made.”

AP-ES-02-18-04 1645EST

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