Video: The greatest commencement speech ever?

posted at 10:01 pm on June 15, 2011 by Allahpundit

Haven’t had a chance yet to watch all the way through but if bloggers as diverse as Ace and The Anchoress are saying it’s a must-see, I’ll take my chances on blind-posting it. If you can’t spare the full 25 minutes, watch the last 10 or so. Turns out there’s a deep well of wisdom hidden behind that masturbating bear.

There are roughly 80 different items about this speech on Google News, and every last one of them looks to be a rave. Out: Conan O’Brien, late-night host. In: Conan O’Brien, motivational speaker?

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Funny stuff–well worth the 25 minutes.

pacard33 on June 15, 2011 at 10:03 PM

Well its much better than any commencement Obama has ever given.

TheQuestion on June 15, 2011 at 10:03 PM

Getting popcorn…

… be right back!

Seven Percent Solution on June 15, 2011 at 10:05 PM

I watched this today and I thought his shtick for the first 18min was pretty funny, he was well prepared. The last 5-7 min of heartfelt and experienced wisdom was priceless. Conan did a great job and rightly recognizes how failure can be helpful. thanks for posting this AP.

ted c on June 15, 2011 at 10:06 PM

You mean he didn’t go out and tell everyone they are no better than anyone else?

catmman on June 15, 2011 at 10:07 PM

It really was an amazing speech.

Lance Murdock on June 15, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Watched the whole thing earlier today. It really was phenomenal.

nickj116 on June 15, 2011 at 10:09 PM

Deaf, transcript needed. Thank you. :D

Vatican Watcher on June 15, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Pretty solid stuff.

My sister graduated from Drexel this weekend, and the speaker was NPR newshack Corey Flintoff. What a stinker that was.

KingGold on June 15, 2011 at 10:12 PM

I also watched all of it today.

A genuine, sincere – and funny – tribute to George HW Bush at the start, funny stuff in the middle & a wonderful message at the end.

Worth every minute.

BD57 on June 15, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Vatican Watcher on June 15, 2011 at 10:10 PM

http://teamcoco.com/content/watch-conan-give-dartmouth-college-commencement-address

Cindy Munford on June 15, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Getting popcorn…

… be right back!

Seven Percent Solution on June 15, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Bring me a beer?

TN Mom on June 15, 2011 at 10:20 PM

That was a great speech…..FOR ME TO POOP ON!!!

Doughboy on June 15, 2011 at 10:25 PM

Sometimes even vapid celebrities have the capacity to amaze. It was truly excellent, most certainly the last few minutes based on his own actual experience.

Drained Brain on June 15, 2011 at 10:25 PM

Who was the aging baby-boomer he referred to?

GardenGnome on June 15, 2011 at 10:26 PM

When they put Conan on TV, I tried really hard for months and months to find out what his talent was, and why people called him a “comedian.” I finally concluded that he was just a grown-up with a 14-year old’s brain and no other talent…and that gets old fast.

No matter how many “recommendations,” I just cannot bring myself to watch any more Conan O’Brien.

landlines on June 15, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Getting popcorn…

… be right back!

Seven Percent Solution on June 15, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Bring me a beer?

TN Mom on June 15, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Oh, and make me a sammich!

catmman on June 15, 2011 at 10:28 PM

That was very well done…

…+7% Conan!

Seven Percent Solution on June 15, 2011 at 10:30 PM

Who was the aging baby-boomer he referred to?

GardenGnome on June 15, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Jay Leno.

annoyinglittletwerp on June 15, 2011 at 10:31 PM

What president was there?

Cindy Munford on June 15, 2011 at 10:34 PM

Deaf, transcript needed. Thank you. :D

Here you go

brandozilla on June 15, 2011 at 10:35 PM

What president was there?

Cindy Munford on June 15, 2011 at 10:34 PM

Bush 41, seated next Barbara

TheQuestion on June 15, 2011 at 10:36 PM

Cindy Munford on June 15, 2011 at 10:34 PM

George H W Bush

d1carter on June 15, 2011 at 10:37 PM

Great speech!

Hope those grads were listening to the part about failure: —> The college class of 2011 faces the worst job market in our nation’s history; 21.5 applicants for every availble job.

TN Mom on June 15, 2011 at 10:37 PM

Oh, and make me a sammich!

catmman on June 15, 2011 at 10:28 PM

LOL!

TN Mom on June 15, 2011 at 10:38 PM

Very nice.

“Lace thong”

“Limezilla”

“The state beside the state that sells Ben and Jerry’s”

“Work hard. Be kind”

SouthernGent on June 15, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Amazing stuff!

Really good. I never knew how smart he was.

Kempermanx on June 15, 2011 at 10:40 PM

No, he is an idiot. He lost me when he made a “all too easy” slam against Palin in his monologue. Hey Conan, you are a douche. Suck it.

carbon_footprint on June 15, 2011 at 10:40 PM

It was pretty good but I wouldn’t rate it as phenomenal or best ever, then again I’ve attended exactly two commencements so I don’t have much to compare it with.

Bishop on June 15, 2011 at 10:40 PM

I agree. Best commencement speech I have ever heard.

katy the mean old lady on June 15, 2011 at 10:41 PM

Great stuff. Probably went right over their heads. He’s talking about life schisms.

John the Libertarian on June 15, 2011 at 10:45 PM

TheQuestion on June 15, 2011 at 10:36 PM d1carter on June 15, 2011 at 10:37 PM

Thanks, I thought that’s who it probably was but you never know that someone from Hollywood might classify Carter as a hero of some sort.

Cindy Munford on June 15, 2011 at 10:45 PM

How much did Conan reap as a “get outa herepackage from NBC?

30-40 million clams?

He knows failure?

profitsbeard on June 15, 2011 at 10:46 PM

When they put Conan on TV, I tried really hard for months and months to find out what his talent was, and why people called him a “comedian.” I finally concluded that he was just a grown-up with a 14-year old’s brain and no other talent…and that gets old fast.

No matter how many “recommendations,” I just cannot bring myself to watch any more Conan O’Brien.

landline 15, 2011 at 10:27 PM

I think he was one of the original writers for “The Simpsons”, so you’ve hit the nail on the head.

rwenger43 on June 15, 2011 at 10:46 PM

I’m not a big fan of his comedy (probably too old) but at least he isn’t hateful like Letterman. I think the graduates were very lucky, great advice.

Cindy Munford on June 15, 2011 at 10:46 PM

Oh, and before everyone calls him a comical genius, do not forget his 12 strong writing team. I know, he is a writer as well, but he is also a water carrier for Obama and liberals. Hey CoCo, I hope you choke on your liberalism and ideology.

carbon_footprint on June 15, 2011 at 10:47 PM

profitsbeard on June 15, 2011 at 10:46 PM

They say money isn’t everything. I’d like to find out myself but that’s what they say.

Cindy Munford on June 15, 2011 at 10:47 PM

Great stuff. Probably went right over their heads. He’s talking about life schisms.

John the Libertarian on June 15, 2011 at 10:45 PM

I don’t have a college degree and I understood it…’course I’m going on 41.
At 22 I probably wouldn’t have ‘gotten it’ either.

annoyinglittletwerp on June 15, 2011 at 10:48 PM

carbon_footprint on June 15, 2011 at 10:47 PM

How have you been?

Cindy Munford on June 15, 2011 at 10:48 PM

Amazing stuff!

Really good. I never knew how smart he was.

Kempermanx on June 15, 2011 at 10:40 PM

I believe he did go to Harvard. Granted, so have some not-so-smart individuals, but Conan’s been producing some solid comedy for a long time. I used to watch his Late Night show all the time in the mid-to-late 90′s and he did some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen on TV.

Doughboy on June 15, 2011 at 10:53 PM

3/4 of it entertaining but silly (I’m not objecting! just observing), the last quarter very profound. Well worth the time, and very appropriate to some things I’m going through in my life right now. Thanks for posting this, AP.

theotherone on June 15, 2011 at 10:56 PM

Great speech, well worth the time.

FloatingRock on June 15, 2011 at 10:57 PM

Incredible speech.

englishqueen01 on June 15, 2011 at 10:59 PM

How have you been?

Cindy Munford on June 15, 2011 at 10:48 PM

Not great Ms. Munford. But I am a survivor. 90 plus weeks of unemployment and the future does not bode well for my profession. Despite Texas being the jobs state, the architecture industry in DFW is -60 percent. I am going to have to change careers and not looking forward to it at my age.

carbon_footprint on June 15, 2011 at 11:01 PM

Awesome, and well worth the time!

WhoU4 on June 15, 2011 at 11:01 PM

Hehe, pretty good – worth watching the whole thing for sure.

Midas on June 15, 2011 at 11:03 PM

I saw this earlier and actually laughted out loud to myself. Very poignant with 41 and Babs there. He’s in a wheelchair now. :-(

TxAnn56 on June 15, 2011 at 11:07 PM

carbon_footprint on June 15, 2011 at 11:01 PM

I’m sorry to hear that. Hopefully it will be a temporary change. It’s hard to think about doing something you don’t love. Your new pictures are stunning.

Cindy Munford on June 15, 2011 at 11:08 PM

Deaf, transcript needed. Thank you. :D

Vatican Watcher on June 15, 2011 at 10:10 PM

I attended Galludet University, the University related to the Hearing Impaired, back in 1981. I’ve studied ASL (American Sign Language), and Signed English, and I’ve interpreted for the hearing imparied, and hung out with the hearing impaired community virtually every day for years, back during the late 1970s through the 1980s and early 1990s.

Do you sign? ASL?

I’d translate for you if you could

Otherwise, I hope you find a transcript.

William2006 on June 15, 2011 at 11:14 PM

The best commencement speech I saw was Ronald Reagan giving the commencement speech to the Citadel in 1993…and I was lucky enough to see it in person. But this one was good too.

HawaiiLwyr on June 15, 2011 at 11:14 PM

Very cool!

sMack on June 15, 2011 at 11:15 PM

They better laugh while they can, because it’s going to be a long step down.

Oh, wait, Dartmouth? Nevermind.

Christien on June 15, 2011 at 11:16 PM

Not as dumb as it seemed.

Jaibones on June 15, 2011 at 11:16 PM

William2006 on June 15, 2011 at 11:14 PM

Two of us found and linked transcripts for him, I hope he came back and found them.

Cindy Munford on June 15, 2011 at 11:19 PM

That was a pretty good speech.

terryannonline on June 15, 2011 at 11:20 PM

They better laugh while they can, because it’s going to be a long step down.

Oh, wait, Dartmouth? Nevermind.

Christien on June 15, 2011 at 11:16 PM

I don’t know. I bet in this horrible economy even Ivy League graduates will have a difficult time finding a good job.

terryannonline on June 15, 2011 at 11:23 PM

I loved it and would have been thrilled to have had him for my commencement speaker instead of the ones I was stuck with. Bachelor’s degree was some old guy whose name I couldn’t remember even if you put a gun to my head.

For my master’s degree, I had to sit through I don’t remember how many minutes of Gloria Steinem. It felt like an eternity! The worst part was that I think I lost IQ points when she said “Feminism doesn’t cause divorce, marriage causes divorce.”

Kim Priestap on June 15, 2011 at 11:35 PM

His speech was fun. But is a commencement the time for fun? I am against these honorary degrees. As Conan himself alluded to, they make a mockery of all the work the actual students put into their school work. Some guy breezes in, says some funny one liners and he gets a degree? Preposterous.

Warner Todd Huston on June 15, 2011 at 11:37 PM

carbon_footprint on June 15, 2011 at 10:40 PM

Wah.

Reaps on June 15, 2011 at 11:37 PM

Graduations are such inspiring events. Especially at ivy League schools such as Dartmouth where, often, getting selected in the first place is more grueling than the four (or more) years of drudgery that follows. The young people are triumphant and joyful at the receipt of a Dartmouth (Harvard, Yale, Princeton)diploma. Their parents are bursting with pride. The ebullience felt is matched only by New Year’s eve crowds revelling in Times Square.

Unfortunately, like the somber gray dawn and piles of refuse following each New years’ celebration,the lives of recent graduates can metaphorically become piles of refuse themselves. It is ironic that Ivy League professors taught these students their skills while other Ivy League professors in the Obama Administration created an environment that made it impossible for said students to apply these skills.

But who is to blame? The “wise and learned” Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has the answer. “The Democratic Party takes credit for the economy.” Of course she didn’t mean it that way but that’s what makes this particular irony so delicious.

MaiDee on June 15, 2011 at 11:54 PM

To good for TV………yep!

dmann on June 16, 2011 at 12:06 AM

That was awesome, I have a very short attention span for speeches but found myself sitting through the whole thing.

Sharke on June 16, 2011 at 12:15 AM

The worst part was that I think I lost IQ points when she said “Feminism doesn’t cause divorce, marriage causes divorce.”

Kim Priestap on June 15, 2011 at 11:35 PM

Did you boo?

AshleyTKing on June 16, 2011 at 12:28 AM

What really makes this speech great is that despite the jokes, you can tell he’s 100% sincere in his words. This wasn’t just a gig to him, and he didn’t phone it in like Letterman would’ve.

Jim-Rose on June 16, 2011 at 12:46 AM

One of the most important lessons to learn in life is humility. Conan has achieved that.

Obama has not; in fact, even when he loses in 2012 he will not learn it. I don’t believe he will ever learn it, but I could be wrong. Unlike Rush, I’m wrong way more than 0.4% of the time.

disa on June 16, 2011 at 12:57 AM

“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 become a catalyst for profound re-invention.”

– Conan O’Brien

commodore on June 16, 2011 at 12:58 AM

That was good. But this was much better: 1974 West Point

AshleyTKing on June 16, 2011 at 12:59 AM

The true character of a man is not determined when he’s sitting on top of the world. The true character of a man is determined when the world takes a huge dump on him. ~ NOT Conan O’Brien

Roy Rogers on June 16, 2011 at 1:07 AM

Tim Russert was the speaker at my daughter’s college graduation. I hate to speak ill of the dead, but I suspect he had a stock speech which was tailored only by changing the name of the school.

Conan obviously put in a lot of time making this speech not only entertaining, but also specific to Dartmouth. I’d wager that the students will remember it for a long time. I couldn’t tell you one thing Russert said. And I can’t even remember who my commencement speaker was.

Meredith on June 16, 2011 at 1:09 AM

My vote for comedic commencement speech goes to Rodney Dangerfield in “Back to School”.

Worst commencement speech probably goes to Moochelle or to the moronic Old Media reporter who gave the speech a couple years ago at a Midwestern college which was ghost-written for her in great detail about the college with the same name a thousand-plus miles away in New England.

viking01 on June 16, 2011 at 1:26 AM

Much better than I would have expected. Conan can be absolutely hilarious, but a lot of his comedy is both lame and silly.

But that observation applies to a whole lot of comedians.

I wouldn’t look for Conan for advice on much of anything, but when he talked about his personal life and confronting failure, I think he learned a lot, and it shows.

And full credit to him for giving honor to Bush 41. I’ve never thought he was a great president, but he always deserved more respect than he was often given. If he’d been just a little more conservative and a little better politician, he would have refused to raise taxes to placate a Democratic Congress, the economy would not have hit that soft recession in 1991, and President Clinton would have never happened.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 16, 2011 at 1:34 AM

RE: My 1:26 AM post.

It was only a little over a year ago that NBC’s Ann Curry was the one dolt who gave the commencement address at Wheaton College of Norton, Massachusetts making various references to notable persons and places of the Wheaton College of Wheaton, Illinois. A fairly obvious indication Curry carelessly cut and pasted from wiki or similar without bothering to check the sources or the state. A skill Brian Williams probably taught her.

viking01 on June 16, 2011 at 2:16 AM

I was not a fan of Conan and in fact I was pleased that he had left. This speech was not given by the same man, I found the last portion to be insightful and some of the best advice for young University Students who are venturing out with that Diploma. I salute Conan O’Brian for one of the best Commencement Speeches I have heard, and I have heard several.

old war horse on June 16, 2011 at 3:32 AM

I read the speech, wasn’t impressed, but I’m not a fan and didn’t enjoy most of the jokes. I guess we all have different ideas of “great”.

Rose on June 16, 2011 at 4:12 AM

Couldn’t sleep. This was amazing. I’m going to link it to my kids. Very worth it from the beginning.

Although, Allah the last 10 is the serious stuff… the first part is very funny. So depending on your mood you might want the first 15 the most.

petunia on June 16, 2011 at 4:23 AM

That was great. And the applause at the end/shaking hands was the best—he’s so adorably awkward!!!! I’ve always loved Conan.

Bee on June 16, 2011 at 4:38 AM

Wow, Conan really still hates hates hates Jay Leno

georgealbert on June 16, 2011 at 5:30 AM

How much did Conan reap as a “get outa here” package from NBC?

30-40 million clams?

He knows failure?

profitsbeard on June 15, 2011 at 10:46 PM

Motivated, hard working people don’t measure their success by money. I understand what he is saying. When you have had a dream your whole life, reach the summit of that dream, your whole identity is wrapped up in that dream and then to have it taken away is devastating, no matter how much money you get out of the deal.

Money does not define you.

No, he is an idiot. He lost me when he made a “all too easy” slam against Palin in his monologue. Hey Conan, you are a douche. Suck it.

carbon_footprint on June 15, 2011 at 10:40 PM

I must have missed that. Where did he say something about palin?

ramrants on June 16, 2011 at 7:18 AM

I have never been a Conan fan, but after this speech I can say I have respect for him.

Elchasebo on June 16, 2011 at 7:24 AM

Thanks for posting. I never thought I would sit and listen to Conan for 25 minutes but this was some good stuff! Filled with wit and wisdom.

LonelyMassRepublican on June 16, 2011 at 7:41 AM

I read the transcript, since I didn’t have time for the video. What a great speech! I think he’s a funny man, and the end is quite profound.

I too looked for a slam against Palin. I couldn’t find one – but his resentment towards Leno is as strong as ever. Can’t say I can’t see where the man is coming from on that one.

Anna on June 16, 2011 at 8:00 AM

He knows failure?

profitsbeard on June 15, 2011 at 10:46 PM

He knows humiliation, it’s almost like failure but it pays better.

Fallon on June 16, 2011 at 8:16 AM

Great speech.

I’d like to add that for all the praise Letterman got for his first how after 9/11, it was Conan’s show that I thought was really great. It was poignant and funny in a comforting way. Liked it much better.

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on June 16, 2011 at 8:17 AM

At least they got a good speaker. My brother’s college could have had Jerry Seinfeld but the faculty overruled the student vote and brought in some nut job feminist who’s whole speech was about social justice and her distorted, hallucinogenic view of equality. Oh, and she had just written a book or something and seemed to be plugging it the whole speech…weak sauce.

It was the longest 30 minutes of my life and i was much dumber after listening to it.

Conan did a great job and im glad i got to hear it.

alecj on June 16, 2011 at 8:19 AM

At about 7:40 he leads into jokes on Geithner, lol.

jeffn21 on June 16, 2011 at 8:50 AM

ramrants on June 16, 2011 at 7:18 AM

I think he meant in a monologue on his show.

Cindy Munford on June 16, 2011 at 9:00 AM

SPeech = meh.
Except for the part about his struggles after Lenogate.
The rest was pandering fluff with nothing to offer.

Honorary degrees are bullsh*t.

Dave Rywall on June 16, 2011 at 9:21 AM

Great speech. Parts of it were rofl funny … the last part really pretty good stuff.

Fun moment: watching some of the parents in the front row when he tells them – accurately – that most of their kids will soon be living in their basements.

Professor Blather on June 16, 2011 at 9:27 AM

+1

skydaddy on June 16, 2011 at 10:02 AM

censored in NYC for the gal smoking in the background at 05:20

SlimyBill on June 16, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Nice. Not thrilling, but nice.

Pablo Snooze on June 16, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Excellent stuff. Funny and a great message.

crazywater on June 16, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Deaf, transcript needed. Thank you. :D

Vatican Watcher on June 15, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Hit the “CC” button on the video, it works well enough and you get to see the visual cues as well.

Sqrl on June 16, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Didn’t like it. He said everything they wanted to hear.

He could have saved the graduates 25 minutes by just summing it up with “Believe in yourself and I’m funny.”

shick on June 16, 2011 at 2:57 PM

My opinion of Conan just went up about 100 notches.

One of the best commencement speeches I’ve every heard.

Only similar speech I can think of that parallels this was Dick Chenney speaking at my commissioning ceremony. And that was pretty dang cool.

Lawrence on June 16, 2011 at 3:32 PM

William2006 on June 15, 2011 at 11:14 PM

I have a friend who signs big time. I don’t think he went to school for it, maybe.

He’s working with Wycliffe translating the Bible in Kenya. He also spends time in India with the Deaf community.

Plus he’s got five kids.

He and his family are on furlough right now. I think he is at NDU working on his Master’s.

Jason and Linda are special people.

davidk on June 16, 2011 at 5:19 PM

While I agree that Conan O’Brien was funny and he had obviously worked hard to customize his speech for Dartmouth College, the most important point Conan made in this speech is:

Before I begin, I must point out that behind me sits a highly admired President of the United States and decorated war hero while I, a cable television talk show host, have been chosen to stand here and impart wisdom. I pray I never witness a more damning example of what is wrong with America today

It is a shame that after spending 4 years and more than $150,000 on tuition and having the opportunity to attend what is supposed to be one of the best schools in the country, the Dartmouth College class of 2011 valued being entertained by a comedian more than what they would have learned by inviting a former President of the United States to be their Commencement Speaker.

Watching Former President George H.W. Bush sitting silently on Dartmouth’s stage behind Conan O’Brien is an incredibly sad waste of a historic learning opportunity.

wren on June 16, 2011 at 5:59 PM

My son graduated high school today. We all came home afterward and watched this. Wonderful speech. Perfect end to our day!

I could not disagree more with the above poster. What words of wisdom could an 88-year-old fornmer President, who left office before some of these kids were born, have to impart to them? Conan O’Brien is an Ivy League graduate who had one of the most spectacular rises and falls of their generation of entertainers. I thought his remarks about his last year thought-provoking and inspiring. And he did give very proper respect to President Bush.

rockmom on June 16, 2011 at 8:15 PM

Comment pages: 1 2