Comedian and talk show host Conan O’Brien delivered the Class of 2011 Commencement address at Dartmouth College on June 12th. O’Brien, who hosted NBC’s Late Night from 1993 to 2009, currently hosts his self-titled show on TBS weeknights. O’Brien was infamously ousted from his position on NBC’s The Tonight Show in January 2010, just months after succeeding Jay Leno as host in June 2009.
Humor is a matter of taste, of course, but I found this speech to be hilarious. And judging from the laughter from the audience, and the luminaries on stage (and even the snickering secret service guys in the back), his tone was right the mark.
Conan is a comedian so we expect laughs, but he also had a personal and heartfelt message in his talk. His advice was based on his experience with a very public “failure.” Conan’s key takeaway message was this: “It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can be a catalyst for profound re-invention.”
Via Presentation Zen