If you follow entertainment headlines or are a fan of late night talk shows, you know the strange adventures of Conan O’Brien. He was a comedy writer who landed his own show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, on NBC for several years, after which he was promoted to the dream of a lifetime for any comedian – hosting the Tonight Show. Jay Leno was moving to primetime, and Conan would be his successor.
He sat behind the famous desk for less than a year when the network announced Leno would be reclaiming his Tonight Show spot. With Saturday Night Live alum Jimmy Fallon already doing Late Night, Conan was out in the cold.
Having to rediscover his way in the entertainment business taught the comedian a lot about success, failure and the pursuit of what matters. He recently shared these thoughts (along with plenty of jokes) with the 2011 graduating class of Dartmouth College. “There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized,” he said as the commencement speaker.
Watch his funny and inspiring speech. If you’ve experienced a sudden detour while chasing your dreams, Conan has some advice for you.