Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Conan O'Brien's Dartmouth Commencement Address
I've always enjoyed Conan O'Brien. He wrote a disproportionate share of The Simpsons' greatest episodes ("Monorail" foremost among them), and, from high school through law school, I regularly watched his Late Night show on NBC. Without taking anything away from the canonical television he has given us over the years, I think his real genius is in the meaningful, well-crafted addresses he has given us over the years. The commencement address he gave at Harvard in 2000 (Pt. 1 and Pt. 2), the "People of Earth" letter he wrote upon resigning as the host of Late Night in January 2010, his "work hard and be kind" speech during his last Late Night broadcast, and last week's Dartmouth commencement are all intelligent and funny and really well-done; some of them are almost 'canonical' texts for my generation in the same way that David Foster Wallace's "This Is Water" commencement address has, and will, hopefully, endure well after most people have forgotten about Vomiting Kermit and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.