Conan O’Brien (do I even need to say O’Brien here? You know who I’m talking about) delivered a great commencement speech to Harvard graduates in 2000. But a lot has changed in the ensuing decade, as Conan has gone through pretty big changes in his life and career. Thankfully, he stopped by Dartmouth to pick up an honorary degree and deliver another commencement address, and the class of 2011 heard a pretty swell speech:
But then something spectacular happened. Fogbound, with no compass, and adrift, I started trying things. I grew a strange, cinnamon beard. I dove into the world of social media. I started tweeting my comedy. I threw together a national tour. I played the guitar. I did stand-up, wore a skin-tight blue leather suit, recorded an album, made a documentary, and frightened my friends and family. Ultimately, I abandoned all preconceived perceptions of my career path and stature and took a job on basic cable with a network most famous for showing reruns, along with sitcoms created by a tall, black man who dresses like an old, black woman. I did a lot of silly, unconventional, spontaneous and seemingly irrational things and guess what: with the exception of the blue leather suit, it was the most satisfying and fascinating year of my professional life. To this day I still don’t understand exactly what happened, but I have never had more fun, been more challenged—and this is important—had more conviction about what I was doing.