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Conan O'Brien為2011年達特茅斯學院畢業生演講

Conan O'Brien Delivers The 2011 Dartmouth Commencement Address

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:Conan O'Brien

2011年6月12日演講

 

翻譯:洪曉慧

編輯:朱學恆

簡繁轉換:洪曉慧

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

影片請按此下載

MAC及手持裝置版本請按此下載

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講(來源World News.com

被《華盛頓郵報》譽為「最聰明的深夜喜劇明星」的Conan O'Brien,於2011年6月12日星期日上午於達特茅斯學院畢業典禮發表演說。

 

關於Conan O'Brien(來源Wikipedia

Conan O'Brien(生於1963年4月18日)是美國電視節目主持人、喜劇演員、作家、製作人及表演工作者,從2010年11月開始於美國有線電視台TBS主持《Conan》深夜脫口秀。

 

Conan O'Brien為2011年達特茅斯學院畢業生演講

 

(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

我在洛杉磯住了兩年,這輩子還沒這麼冷過(笑聲)。我願意花三百美元向現場任何人買一雙GORE-TEX手套。任何人(笑聲)。我是說真的,我身上有現金(笑聲)。

 

演講開始之前,我必須提一下,我身後坐著一位備受尊崇的美國總統和一位獲勳的戰爭英雄,而我,一位電視脫口秀主持人,卻獲選站在這裡、傳授智慧的話語(笑聲)(掌聲)。我衷心希望不曾目睹比這更該死的「美國到底出了什麼問題」的例子。(笑聲)(掌聲)

 

各位畢業生、教職員;各位家長、親朋好友、在校生,還有不知來做什麼的老傢伙們(笑聲),早安!恭喜達特茅斯2011年畢業生!(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

今天,你們取得某種特殊成就,只有92%的美國大學生才知道的成就(笑聲)-一張大學文憑(笑聲)。沒錯,擁有大學文憑,你對職場上8%的人來說具有壓倒性優勢(笑聲)。我指的是那種畢不了業的失敗者,例如比爾.蓋茲(笑聲)、史蒂夫.賈伯斯(笑聲)和馬克.祖克柏(笑聲)。順帶一提,談到祖克柏先生,只有在哈佛那種地方,才會有人發明一個巨型社交網路,只為了和隔壁的人說話。(笑聲)(掌聲)

 

身為畢業演講者,我的首要任務是讓你們瞭解人生並不公平。舉例來說,你千辛萬苦地拼了四年,終於在這個週末取得學位(笑聲)。這很棒(笑聲)。達特茅斯給了我同樣的學位,只因為我採訪了《暮光之城》第四主角(笑聲)。接受現實吧!(笑聲)。另一個人生不公平的例子:如果今天真的下雨,台上這些有錢有勢的人才有帳篷遮雨(笑聲)(掌聲)。接受現實吧!(笑聲)

 

我想感謝Kim校長今天邀請我來這裡。和Kim校長通過電話後,我決定搜尋一下這個傢伙的資料:一般人叫他Kim校長或Kim博士,朋友叫他Jim Kim;J到K、Special K(玉米片品牌名)、JK.羅琳(笑聲)、搞笑版Kimster,還有最令人不解的「礦工彼得」(Stinky Pete)(玩具總動員角色)。(笑聲)(掌聲)他曾經擔任哈佛醫學院全球保健和社會醫學系系主任,領導世界衛生組織全球保健計畫任務小組,榮獲麥克阿瑟天才獎,名列2006年《時代雜誌》全球100名最有影響力人物。(歡呼聲)(掌聲)天哪,老兄,你到底捐了多少錢?(笑聲)我是說真的(笑聲)。我們瞭解,你聰明過人。(笑聲)

 

順帶一提,Kim博士,你來達特茅斯是為了領導這所學校;身為世界級人類學家,學校聘用你的另一個目的是,希望你搞懂為何在座每位畢業生都曾經繞著篝火跑了111圈。(笑聲)(掌聲)

 

不過我還是感謝你邀請我來這裡,礦工彼得(笑聲)。這是一項榮譽。或許在座有些人會把我視為名人,你們應該知道我曾經坐在你們所坐的位置,萬分不假。昨天深夜我偷偷溜進這裡,在每張座位上坐了一下(笑聲)(掌聲)。我這麼做是為了證明一件事:我頭腦不好,而且閒得要命(笑聲)。但這是一個難得的機會。來到新罕布夏很棒,我可以拿到一個榮譽學位,和一堆可以塞進後車箱的合法煙火。(笑聲)

 

你們知道,新罕布夏是一個十分特別的地方。當我抵達時,深吸一口這裡特有的新英格蘭清新空氣,心想,「哇!我在Ben & Jerry’s冰淇淋產地隔壁!」(笑聲)(掌聲)但請別誤會,我相當重視今天的任務。當我兩個月前接到擔任畢業演講者的邀請電話時,我決定以你們準備重要期末論文的態度來準備演講,所以我昨天深夜開始動筆(笑聲)(掌聲)(歡呼聲)。我喝了兩罐紅牛(笑聲),吸了一點Adderall(治療過動症藥物)(笑聲),玩了幾小時《決勝時刻》,然後打開瀏覽器(笑聲)(掌聲)。我認為維基百科寫得最好,它寫著,「達特茅斯學院是位於美國新罕布夏州Hanover的私立長春藤聯盟大學。」謝謝,祝好運!(笑聲)(掌聲)

 

為了今天能和你們這些學生溝通,我竭盡所能地試著瞭解你們獨特的語言風格(笑聲)。事實上,就在今天早上,我和新生郊遊旅伴(tripee Barry)一起離開Baker Berry(達特茅斯學院主圖書館),在Bema(校內廣場)吃煎蛋卷(Billy Bob)時,我寄給Francesca的調情電郵(flitz)被某個海外學習計畫(FSP)的渾球(d-bag)盜了帳號(Blitz jacked)。(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

沒錯,我認真做了研究。這所大學的名稱來自達特茅斯伯爵二世,他是加州大學聖克魯茲伯爵三世(笑聲)和Barbizon美容學院公爵的好友(笑聲)。你們的校訓是「Vox clamantis in deserto」,意思是「荒野中的吶喊」。這大概是我聽過最悲慘的校訓了(笑聲)(掌聲)。顯然這比「在濃密的灌木叢中啜泣」(笑聲)(掌聲)和「在潮濕的落葉中光屁股哭泣」好那麼一些。(笑聲)(掌聲)

 

你們學校的代表色是綠色,這個顏色是Frederick Mather在1867年所選,因為-這是千真萬確的,我查證過-「這是唯一還沒被選走的顏色」(笑聲)(掌聲)。我不記得曾經聽過如此悲慘的事。(笑聲)

 

達特茅斯人,你們有某種自卑情結,但你們不該有這種想法(笑聲)。畢業於這所學校的虛構美國名人比其他大學都多(歡呼聲)(掌聲)。《實習醫生》中的Meredith Grey(歡呼聲)、《廣告狂人》中的Pete Campbell(歡呼聲)、《教父》中的Michael Corleone。事實上,我期待明年的畢業告別演說由你們備受尊敬的同學Count Chocula(食品商標漫畫人物)出馬(笑聲)(掌聲)。當然,你們最著名的虛構畢業生是財政部長Timothy Geithner(笑聲)。天哪!你能想像一個真正的財政部長會做出那種決定嗎?哈哈哈……(笑聲)。我知道你們會怎麼說,達特茅斯人,你們會說,「好吧,我們有Seuss博士(美國著名童書作家)。」但你們知道嗎?我們早聽膩了Seuss博士的鬼扯(笑聲)。面對現實吧!這個傢伙用fafloozle和saznoozle來押韻(笑聲),這在文學界叫唬爛(笑聲)。

 

你們太缺乏安全感了,達特茅斯人,以至於你們甚至不認為自己應該擁有一座真正的講台(笑聲)(掌聲)。抱歉,這是什麼玩意兒?(笑聲)看起來就像你們從《Survivor: Nova Scotia》(美國實境求生節目)偷來的!(笑聲)說真的,這看起來就像某隻熊在匿名戒酒會裡用的東西(笑聲)。

 

不,達特茅斯人,你們必須挺起胸膛、抬起頭來,為自己感到驕傲。因為如果說哈佛、耶魯和普林斯頓是自視甚高、愛慕虛榮、喜歡攀權附貴的老大哥,你們就是又酷又性感、充滿自信、如曲棍球健將般的小弟,懂得如何開派對、如何將羽絨背心穿得稱頭(歡呼聲)(掌聲)。布朗大學,當然,就是你們總是宅在家裡的蕾絲邊姐妹(笑聲)(掌聲)。至於賓州、哥倫比亞、康乃爾大學-好吧,老實說,誰鳥他們?(笑聲)(掌聲)(笑聲)

 

是的,我和這所學校有某種特殊的淵源,事實上這是我第二次來到這裡。1980年秋天,17歲的我進行大學參觀之旅時,曾經來過達特茅斯。當時的達特茅斯和現在大不相同,我騎著一頭騾子從波士頓出發(笑聲),在West Leb向一位鐵匠問路之後,來到這座美麗的校園(笑聲)。當時學生宿舍尚未建成,因此我借宿在White River Junction一位皮草商人家中(笑聲)。我拜訪此地期間碰上大雪,我受困在這裡整整四個月(笑聲),我不得不吃了那頭騾子,牠一星期前不得不吃了皮草商一家人(笑聲)。儘管如此,我依然深愛達特茅斯,發誓一定會重返此地。但命運給了我沉重的一擊,兩袖清風的我被迫前往當地一所小學校就讀(編註:他是哈佛校友),位於Charles河淤泥遍布的河灣中一個令人頭痛的地方(笑聲)。

 

我是個命運悲慘的可憐蟲,直到今天,我依然忍不住想,如果我當年就讀達特茅斯,現在會有什麼不同?如果我當年就讀達特茅斯,大學期間我至少會花一些時間進行戶外活動,或許今天我就不會對所有植物和大部分種類的石頭過敏(笑聲)(掌聲)。如果我當年就讀達特茅斯,現在我會穿羊毛內褲,而不是蕾絲內褲(笑聲)。如果我當年就讀達特茅斯,或許我依然不知道Dear Old Dartmouth(達特茅斯校歌)第二段(笑聲)。承認吧!在座沒人知道,你們全都是含糊混過(笑聲)。如果我當年就讀達特茅斯,我現在會有一個像懶骨頭一樣巨大而柔軟的肝臟(笑聲)(掌聲)。最後,如果我當年就讀達特茅斯,今天我將獲得哈佛大學榮譽學位,想像一下這有多麼驚人。(笑聲)(掌聲)

 

這是一所很棒的學校,你們應該擁有一場具有歷史意義的畢業演講。沒錯,我希望今天的演講能流芳百世,因為它將會改變世界。為了達成這個目標,我必須提出一些開創性政策。1946年,邱吉爾在西敏學院發表了著名的「鐵幕」演說;1963年,甘迺迪在美國大學闡述了裁減核武政策;今天,我想在達特茅斯推動我的政策,我稱之為「Conan宣言」。(笑聲)

 

根據「Conan宣言」,所有學士學位直接升級為碩士學位(歡呼聲)(掌聲);所有碩士學位直接升級為博士學位(歡呼聲)(掌聲);所有MBA學生直接送往白領罪犯監獄(笑聲)(掌聲)。根據「Conan宣言」,Winter Carnival(冬季嘉年華)將改名為Winter Carnivale(Carnival的拉丁字),並移往里約熱內盧舉行(歡呼聲)(掌聲)。是否穿衣自行決定,所有花費均由校友會支付(掌聲)。你們的暱稱,the Big Green(大綠)將改為更炫的稱呼,例如「碧玉寶劍」(Jade Blade)(笑聲)、「綠海復仇者」(Seafoam Avenger)(笑聲),或不妨直接改成「綠吉拉」(Lime-Zilla)(笑聲)。達特茅斯學期計畫和「四學期制」將改為「六十四學期制」(笑聲),一學期只有3天(笑聲),並鼓勵學生休假48學期(笑聲),但他們在大二那年的七月四日(美國獨立紀念日)必須留校(笑聲)(掌聲)。

 

根據「Conan宣言」,我將重新舉辦TubeStock(乘筏漂流活動)(歡呼聲)(掌聲),並懲罰試圖用Fieldstock(草地競賽活動)取代它的人(歡呼聲)(掌聲)。漂流和啤酒的組合比草地和啤酒的組合棒得多(歡呼聲)。我碰巧得知,兩年後他們打算把Fieldstock改成Deskstock(笑聲),靜靜地在書桌前呆坐7小時(笑聲),千萬別讓那些渾球得逞!(笑聲)

 

最後,根據「Conan宣言」,所有無恥地刻意用彆腳內部笑話嘩眾取寵、試圖騙取幼稚掌聲的畢業典禮演講者將被迫道歉-向史上最偉大的畢業生道歉-達特茅斯2011年畢業生!(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

除了政策之外,偉大畢業演講的另一個特徵是意味深長的忠告,例如「伸手將星星摘下」(笑聲)。好,今天我不打算用陳腔濫調浪費你們的時間,相反地,我打算給你們一些真正實用、如果你打算在往後幾年順利存活就必須知道的忠告。

 

第一,成人青春痘持續的時間比你想像中還長(笑聲)。兩天前我幾乎取消這場演講,因為眼睛上長了一顆青春痘(笑聲)。男性同胞們,這一點非常重要:你不能在穿著襯衫時直接熨它(笑聲)。還有一點,如果你長期靠速食拉麵維生,你的雙手將失去所有知覺,糞便將會變成白色膠狀物(笑聲)。最後-在畢業禮袍下穿著彩色Converse高筒帆布鞋,是告訴同學這是你接下來所做的眾多糟糕決定中的第一個的絕佳方式。(笑聲)(掌聲)

 

當然,現場有許多家長,我也有給他們的忠告。各位家長,你們應該做個筆記:你們當中有許多人四年不曾見過自己的孩子,現在你每天都會見到他們,當他們從地下室衝出,告訴你收不到wi-fi訊號時(笑聲)。如果你孩子主修藝術或哲學,你確實有足夠理由擔憂。現在他們唯一能找到工作的地方就是古希臘(笑聲),祝這些畢業生好運(笑聲)。今天East Wheelock的交通令人抓狂,所以,當他們開始頒發文憑時,你應該在唸到「K」開頭的名字時溜之大吉。還有,我得告訴你們:接下來六個月,他們賺的錢會比你花在替畢業證書裱框的錢還少。(笑聲)現實世界十分殘酷,所以請保持耐心。現在唯一徵人的地方是Panera麵包店和墨西哥毒品走私集團。(笑聲)

 

是的,各位家長必須有點耐心,因為就業市場的情勢確實十分嚴峻,工作如此難找的其中一個原因是,嬰兒潮時期出生的老傢伙們拒絕讓出工作機會,請相信我的肺腑之言(笑聲)(掌聲)(指Jay Leno當年讓他接班脫口秀,最後卻反悔回鍋的事件)。即使他們承諾五年後會退休,還在電視上大放厥詞(笑聲),我的意思是,你現在就可以上YouTube看看那傢伙當時是怎麼說的(笑聲)。你無法保證他們不會去而復返(笑聲)(掌聲)。當然,我只是泛指而已。(笑聲)

 

到此為止,現在不是展現悲觀或負面情緒的時候。不,我今天來這裡是因為-信不信由你,我確實有一些真正的體驗想對你們說。11年前我曾經在哈佛發表過畢業演講,之後我再也不曾發表過任何畢業演講,因為我認為已經沒什麼好說的了。然而,2010年到來,現在我站在這裡,離家3千英哩,因為去年我得到一個痛苦而深刻的教訓,希望與你們分享。2000年,我告訴畢業生,「別恐懼失敗。」好,現在我想對你們說的是:雖然你不該恐懼失敗,但你應該竭盡所能地避免失敗(笑聲)。尼采有句名言:「任何殺不死你的苦難將使你更加堅強。」但他忘了強調的是-它幾乎能殺了你(笑聲)。失望令人痛不欲生,對你們這種自我要求甚高的成功人士來說,這令人茫然失措。尼采應該這麼說:「任何殺不死你的苦難將使你看遍卡通頻道、在早上11點猛灌平價白酒。」(笑聲)

 

現在,根據一般看法,擔任常春藤聯盟大學的畢業演講者被視為一項成就,但一年多前我經歷了一場刻骨銘心且眾所皆知的挫敗:我沒有獲得我想要的東西,我離開了那個曾經孕育我、在過去17年中大半時間定義我的體系。身處媒體網路中心的我不僅離開了這個網路,甚至被壓在網路所在的咖啡桌下、淹沒在咖啡桌下的破地毯裡(笑聲)。這是每況愈下的職業生涯災難,也是一個爛透了的比喻(笑聲)。但不久後,某些意想不到的事發生了。身處迷霧中、失去方向、隨波逐流的我開始嘗試新事物。我留了一把怪異的肉桂色鬍鬚;我沉浸於社群網路世界;我開始用Twitter表演喜劇;我參加一場全國巡迴演出;我開始玩吉他;我嘗試表演單口相聲、穿緊身藍皮西裝、灌了一張唱片、製作了一部紀錄片、嚇壞了朋友和家人。(笑聲)最後,我拋開所有對職業生涯和個人成就的既定看法,接受了某個有線電視頻道的工作。這個頻道以不斷重播舊片聞名,還有一位高大黑人創作的情境喜劇,他總是穿得像個老女人。(笑聲)

 

我做了許多愚蠢、脫軌、隨興和看起來不太理性的事。你猜結果如何?除了那套藍皮西裝,這是我職業生涯中最令人滿意、最多彩多姿的一年(歡呼聲)(掌聲)。至今我仍不太明白這是怎麼回事,但我從未如此開心過,從未面對過如此多的挑戰。最重要的是,我從未如此投入我所做的事情。怎麼會這樣?好,原因很簡單:沒有什麼比最深的恐懼成真更能解放一個人。

 

大學時期,我身邊有許多同學對瞭解自己的定位及未來志向感到自豪。在哈佛求學時,班上有五個人告訴我,他們有一天會成為美國總統。其中四個在汽車旅館槍戰中喪命(笑聲),另一個短暫主持過《Blues Clues》,後來在另一場汽車旅館槍戰中莫名其妙地喪命。(笑聲)

 

你22歲時的人生道路不一定等於32或42歲時的人生道路,夢想總是不斷演進、起伏不定、變化莫測,這在任何行業中都可能發生。但因為我在喜劇界待了25年,或許最好以這個領域的情形為例。回顧1940年代,有位名叫Jack Benny的搞笑傢伙,他是一位巨星,毫無疑問是當時最偉大的喜劇明星之一。有位十分年輕、名叫Johnny Carson的小伙子立志成為Jack Benny。以某些方面來說,他辦到了,但以其他方面來說則不然。他模仿Jack Benny,但他特有的風格和不斷變化的表演方式,將他引領到一條不同的道路。雖然他並未達成目標-成為自己嚮往的偶像,卻使他成為當時最紅的喜劇明星。

 

大衛.賴特曼想成為Johnny Carson,但並未如願以償;而我們這一代的喜劇演員都想成為大衛.賴特曼,但沒人達成目標。我和同行們全都在千百種不同的情況下偏離了這個目標,但重點是:無法成為理想中的自我這個事實,最終定義了我們,使我們顯得與眾不同。這並不容易,但如果你能接受不幸的遭遇、妥善地處理,你將會領悟到失敗能成為再次創新的催化劑。

 

所以,在47歲的年紀(掌聲)-所以,在47歲的年紀,經過25年孜孜不倦地追夢歷程後,那個夢想改變了。過去幾十年,在演藝界中,每位喜劇演員的終極目標都是主持《今夜秀》,它是喜劇界的聖杯。和許多人一樣,我認為達成那個目標將定義我為成功人士,但事實並非如此;沒有任何工作或職業成就能定義我,對你們來說也是如此。

 

2000年時-(掌聲)2000年時,我告訴畢業生不要恐懼失敗,至今我依然相信這句話。但今天我要告訴你們,無論你是否恐懼失敗,終究無法避免失望,其中的美妙之處在於,你可以藉由失望認清自己,藉由認清自己,你將擁有堅定不移的信心和真正的創新潛力。

 

在座許多人今天將獲得常春藤聯盟大學文憑,因為你致力追尋這個夢想、並努力達成。在畢業演講中,沒有比「追尋夢想」更陳詞濫調的勉勵了。好,我想告訴你們,無論你現在認為自己的夢想是什麼,它或許終究會改變,這無關緊要。四年前,許多人對大學生涯和自己的未來抱著某種憧憬,我敢說今天大多數人會承認,你們真正的經歷與之前的想像天差地遠。你的室友變了、主修科目變了,有些人甚至連性向也變了(笑聲)。我敢肯定有些人從演講開始後就改變了性向(笑聲),這是我的經驗談(笑聲)。但經過某些好的、尤其是不好的改變,現在的你是2007年秋天的你無法想像的。

 

我今天跟你們談了很多,大多是愚蠢的笑話,但有些是真正的體驗,我打算用打破行規的方式結束演講-引用我17個月前說過的話(笑聲)。我在NBC頻道最後一集節目結尾-就在收工之前,我說,「努力工作、心懷慈悲,美好的事將會發生。」今天,我獲得這項榮譽,站在一根樹幹後,向達特茅斯2011年畢業生演講,這句話令我更深信不疑。

 

謝謝各位,恭喜大家。(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this talk

Conan O'Brien, whom The Washington Post has called "the most intelligent of the late-night comics," delivered the main address at Dartmouth College's 2011 Commencement exercises on Sunday morning, June 12.
 
About Conan O'Brien
Conan O'Brien (born April 18, 1963) is an American television host, comedian, writer, producer and performer. Since November 2010 he has hosted Conan, a late-night talk show that airs on the American cable television station TBS.
 
Transcripts
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, has been chosen to stand here and impart wisdom.  I pray I never witness a more damning example of what is wrong with America today.
 
Graduates, faculty, parents, relatives, undergraduates, and old people that just come to these things ----Good morning and congratulations to the Dartmouth Class of 2011.  Today, you have achieved something special ----- something only 92 percent of Americans your age will ever know:  a college diploma.   That’s right, with your college diploma you now have a crushing advantage over 8 percent of the workforce.  I’m talking about dropout losers like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg.   Incidentally, speaking of Mr. Zuckerberg, only at Harvard would somebody have to invent a massive social network just to talk with someone in the next room.
 
My first job as your commencement speaker is to illustrate that life is not fair.  For example, you have worked tirelessly for four years to earn the diploma you’ll be receiving this weekend, and Dartmouth is giving me the same degree for interviewing the fourth lead in Twilight.  Deal with it.  Another example that life is not fair: if it does rain, the powerful rich people on stage get the tent. Deal with it.
 
I would like to thank President Kim for inviting me here today.  After my phone call with President Kim, I decided to find out a little bit about the man.  He goes by President Kim and Dr. Kim.  To his friends, he’s Jim Kim, J to the K, Special K, JK Rowling, the Just Kidding Kimster, and most puzzling, “Stinky Pete.”  He served as the chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, spearheaded a task force for the World Health Organization on Global Health Initiatives, won a MacArthur Genius Grant and was one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2006.  Good God, man, what the hell are you compensating for?  Seriously.  We get it; you’re smart.  By the way Dr. Kim, you were brought to Dartmouth to lead, and as a world-class anthropologist, you were also hired to figure out why each of these graduating students ran around a bonfire 111 times.  
 
But I thank you for inviting me, Stinky Pete, and it is an honor to be here.   Though some of you may see me as a celebrity, you should know that I once sat where you sit.  Literally.  Late last night I snuck out here and sat in every seat.  I did it to prove a point ---- I am not bright and I have a lot of free time.
 
But this is a wonderful occasion and it is great to be here in New Hampshire, where I am getting an honorary degree and all the legal fireworks I can fit in the trunk of my car. 
 
New Hampshire is such a special place.   When I arrived I took a deep breath of this crisp New England air and thought, “Wow, I’m in the state that’s next to the state where Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is made.”  
 
But don’t get me wrong, I take my task today very seriously.  When I got the call 2 months ago to be your speaker, I decided to prepare with the same intensity many of you have devoted to an important term paper.  So late last night, I began.  I drank two cans of Red Bull, snorted some Adderall, played a few hours of Call of Duty, and then opened my browser.  I think Wikipedia put it best when they said “Dartmouth college is a private Ivy League University in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States.”  Thank you and good luck.   
 
To communicate with you students today, I have gone to great lengths to become well-versed in your unique linquistic patterns.  In fact, just this morning I left Baker Berry with my tripee Barry to eat a Billy Bob at the Bema when my flitz to Francesca was Blitz jacked by some d-bag on his FSP.    
 
Yes, I’ve done my research.  This college was named after the Second Earl of Dartmouth, a good friend of the Third Earl of UC Santa Cruz and the Duke of the Barbazon School of Beauty.  Your school motto is “Vox Clamantis in Deserto,” which means “Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness.”  This is easily the most pathetic school motto I have ever heard.  Apparently, it narrowly beat out “Silently Weeping in Thick Shrub” and “Wimpering in Moist Leaves without Pants.”   Your school color is green, and this color was chosen by Frederick Mather in 1867 because, and this is true, “it was the only color that had not been taken already.” I cannot remember hearing anything so sad.  Dartmouth, you have an inferiority complex, and you should not. You have graduated more great fictitious Americans than any other college.  Meredith Grey of Grey’s Anatomy.  Pete Campbell from Mad Men.  Michael Corleone from The Godfather.  In fact, I look forward to next years’ Valedictory Address by your esteemed classmate, Count Chocula.  Of course, your greatest fictitious graduate is Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner.  Man, imagine if a real Treasury Secretary made those kinds of decisions.   Oh, I know.  You’re going to say “We’ve got Dr. Seuss.” Well guess what, we’re all tired of hearing about Dr. Seuss.   Face it: The man rhymed fafloozle with saznoozle.  In the literary community, that’s called cheating.  
 
Your insecurity is so great, Dartmouth, that you don’t even think you deserve a real podium.  What the hell is this thing?  It looks like you stole it from the set of Survivor: Nova Scotia.  Seriously, it looks like something a bear would use at an AA meeting.   
 
No, Dartmouth, you must stand tall.  Raise your heads high and feel proud.  
 
Because if Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are your self-involved, vain, name-dropping older brothers, you are the cool, sexually confident, Lacrosse playing younger sibling who knows how to throw a party and looks good in a down vest.  Brown, of course, is your lesbian sister who never leaves her room.  And Penn, Columbia, and Cornell …..well, frankly, who gives a shit.
 
Yes, I’ve always had a special bond with this school.  In fact, this is my second time coming here.   When I was 17 years old and touring colleges, way back in the fall of 1980, I came to Dartmouth.  Dartmouth was a very different place back then.  I made the trip up from Boston on a mule and, after asking the blacksmith in West Leb for directions, I came to this beautiful campus.  No dormitories had been built yet, so I stayed with a family of fur traders in White River junction.  It snowed heavily during my visit and I was trapped here for four months.  I was forced to eat the mule, who a week earlier had been forced to eat the fur traders.  Still, I loved Dartmouth and I vowed to return.
 
But fate dealt a heavy blow.   With no money, I was forced to enroll in a small, local commuter school, a pulsating sore on a muddy elbow of the Charles River.  I was a miserable wretch, and to this day I cannot help but wonder:  What if I had gone to Dartmouth?
 
If I had gone to Dartmouth, I might have spent at least some of my college years outside and today I might not be allergic to all plant life, as well as most types of rock.
 
If I had gone to Dartmouth, right now I’d be wearing a fleece thong instead of a lace thong.
 
If I had gone to Dartmouth, I still wouldn’t know the second verse to “Dear Old Dartmouth.”  Face it, none of you do; you all mumble that part.
 
If I had gone to Dartmouth, I’d have a liver the size and consistency of a bean bag chair. 
 
Finally, if I had gone to Dartmouth, today I’d be getting an honorary degree at Harvard.  Imagine how awesome that would be.
 
You are a great school, and you deserve a historic commencement address.   That’s right, I want my message today to be forever remembered because it changed the world.   To do this, I must suggest groundbreaking policy. Winston Churchill gave his famous “Iron Curtain” speech at Westminster College in 1946.  JFK outlined his nuclear disarmament policy at American University in 1963.  And today, I would like to set forth my own policy here at Dartmouth: I call it The Conan Doctrine.  Under The Conan Doctrine:
 
All bachelor degrees will be upgraded to masters degrees, all masters degrees will be upgraded to PhD’s, and all MBA students will be immediately transferred to a white collar prison.
Winter Carnival will become Winter Carnivale and be moved to Rio.  Clothing will be optional and all expenses will be paid by the Alumni Association.
Your nickname, the Big Green, will be changed to something more kick-ass like “The Jade Blade,” the “Seafoam Avenger” or simply “Lime-Zilla.”
The D-Plan and “quarter system” will finally be updated to “the one sixty-fourth system.”  Semesters will last 3 days and students will be encouraged to take 48 semesters off.  They must, however, be on campus during their Sophomore 4th of July.
I will re-instate Tubestock.  And I will punish those who tried to replace it with Fieldstock.  Rafting and beer are a much better combination than a field and a beer.  I happen to know that in two years, they were going to downgrade Fieldstock to Deskstock ---  7 hours of fun sitting quietly at your desk.  Don’t let those bastards do it!
And finally, under the Conan doctrine, all commencement speakers who shamelessly pander with cheap, inside references designed to get childish applause, will be forced to apologize…..TO THE GREATEST GRADUATING CLASS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.   DARTMOUTH CLASS OF 2011 RULES!!!
 
Besides policy, another hallmark of great commencement speeches is deep, profound advice like “reach for the stars.”  Well today, I am not going to waste your time with empty clichés.  Instead, I am going to give you real, practical advice that you will need to know if you are going to survive the next few years.   
 
First, adult acne lasts longer than you think.  I almost cancelled 2 days ago because I had a zit on my eye.
Guys:  this is important -- you cannot iron a shirt while wearing it
If you live on Ramen Noodles for too long, you lose all feeling in your hands and your stool becomes a white gel.  
And finally, wearing colorful Converse high-tops beneath your graduation robe is a great way to tell your classmates that this is just the first of many horrible decisions you plan to make with your life.
Of course there are many parents here and I have real advice for them as well.  Parents, write this down:
 
Many of you haven’t seen your children in four years.  Now you are about to see them every day when they come out of the basement to tell you the WiFi isn’t working.
If your child majored in Fine Arts or Philosophy, you have good reason to be worried.  The only place where they are really now qualified to get a job is ancient Greece.
The traffic today on East Wheelock is going to be murder, so once they start handing out diplomas, you should slip out in the middle of the K’s.
You will spend more money framing your child’s diploma than they will earn in the next six months.  It’s tough out there, so be patient.  The only people hiring right now are Panera Bread and Mexican drug cartels.  
Yes, you parents must be patient because it is indeed a grim job market out there.  And one of the reasons that it’s so tough finding work is that aging baby boomers refuse to leave their jobs..  Trust me on this.  Even when they promise you for five years that they are going to leave….and say it on television --- I mean you can go on YouTube right now and watch the guy do it…there is no guarantee they won’t come back.   Of course I’m speaking generally.
 
But enough.  This is not a time for grim prognostications or negativity.  No, I came here today because, believe it or not, I actually do have something real to tell you.
 
Eleven years ago I gave an address to a graduating class at Harvard.  I have not spoken at a graduation since because I thought I had nothing left to say.  But then 2010 came.   And now I’m here, three thousand miles from my home, because I learned a hard but profound lesson last year and I’d like to share it with you.   In 2000, I told graduates “Don’t be afraid to fail.”  Well now I’m here to tell you that, though you should not fear failure, you should do your very best to avoid it.   Nietzsche famously said “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  But what he failed to stress is that IT ALMOST KILLS YOU.  Disappointment stings and, for driven, successful people like yourselves it is disorienting.  What Nietzsche should have said is  “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you watch a lot of Cartoon Network and drink mid-price Chardonnay at 11 in the morning. “ 
 
By definition, Commencement speakers at an Ivy League college are considered successful.  But a little over a year ago, I experienced a profound and very public disappointment.  I did not get what I wanted, and I left a system that had nurtured and help define me for the better part of seventeen years.  I went from being in the center of the grid to not only off the grid, but underneath the coffee table that the grid sits on, lost in the shag carpeting that is underneath the coffee table supporting the grid.  It was the making of a career disaster, and a terrible analogy.
 
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 and started tweeting my comedy.  I threw together a national tour.  I played the guitar, 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 re-runs, 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.
 
How could this be true?  It’s simple: there are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized.  I went to college with many people who prided themselves on knowing exactly who they were and exactly where they were going.  At Harvard, five different guys told me that they would one day be President of the Unites States.  Four of them were later killed in motel shoot-outs.   The other one briefly hosted “Blues Clues,” before dying senselessly in yet another motel shoot-out.   Your path at 22 will not necessarily be your path at 32 or 42.  One’s dream is constantly evolving, rising and falling, changing course.  This happens in every job, but because I have worked in comedy for twenty five years, I can speak best about my own profession.
 
Way back in the 1940’s there was a very funny man named Jack Benny.  He was a giant star and easily one of the greatest comedians of his generation.  And a much younger man named Johnny Carson wanted very much to be Jack Benny.  In some ways he was, but in many ways he wasn’t.  He emulated Jack Benny, but his own quirks and mannerisms, along with a changing medium, pulled him in a different direction.  And yet his failure to completely become his hero made him the funniest person of his generation.  David Letterman wanted to be Johnny Carson, and was not, and as a result my generation of comedians wanted to be David Letterman.   And none of us are --- my peers and I have all missed that mark in a thousand different ways.  But the point is this: 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.
 
So, at the age of 47, after 25 years of obsessively pursuing my dream, that dream changed.  For decades, in show business, the ultimate goal of every comedian was to host The Tonight Show.  It was the Holy Grail, and like many people I thought that achieving that goal would define me as successful.   But that is not true.  No specific job or career goal defines me and it should not define you.  In 2000, I told graduates to not be afraid to fail, and I still believe that.  But today I tell you that whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come.  The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.
 
Many of you here today are getting your diploma at this Ivy League school because you have committed yourself to a dream and worked hard to achieve it.  And there is no greater cliché in a commencement address than “follow your dream.”  Well I am here to tell you that whatever you think your dream is now, it will probably change.  And that’s okay.  Four years ago, many of you had a specific vision of what your college experience was going to be and who you were going to become.  And I bet, today, most of you would admit that your time here was very different from what you imagined.  Your roommates changed, your major changed, for some of you your sexual orientation changed.   I bet some of you have changed your sexual orientation since I began this speech.  I know I have.  But through the good and especially the bad, the person you are now is someone you could never have conjured in the fall of 2007.
 
I have told you many things today, most of it foolish but some of it true.  I’d like to end my address by breaking a taboo and quoting myself from 17 months ago.  At the end of my final program with NBC, just before signing off, I said “Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen. “ Today, receiving this honor and speaking to the Dartmouth Class of 2011 from behind a tree-trunk, I have never believed that more.
 
Thank you very much, and congratulations.

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