In his commencement speech at Dartmouth College this past weekend, Conan O’Brien is at times hilarious, irreverent, and also very, very poignant. For the most part this is typical Conan tomfoolery, but near the end it takes a serious turn as he talks about failure, changing dreams, and knowing who you are. Conan has been a little higher on my radar since his final remarks at the end of his time on the Tonight Show caught my attention several months ago. It’s clear that Conan is one of the most intelligent cable talk show hosts out there.
My favorite quote comes at about 21 minutes in: “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.”
(Parental warning: Conan gets a little coarse at times, so just be prepared for that.)