Conan O’Brien delivered a virtual commencement speech to the 2020 graduating class of his alma mater, Harvard University, and it’s as hilarious as his fans would expect.
During his 12-minute address, O’Brien — standing in front of a Harvard-branded podium while wearing a traditional academic gown — addressed the fact that the grads weren’t attending a ceremony, but watching at home on a laptop.
“Now, I know for all of you, this is not the graduation ceremony you were expecting,” he said. “Right now your parents are realizing they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars just to watch you basically graduate from an online university. In fact, this speech is being simulcast right now to the University of Phoenix.”
O’Brien then ran up to the camera and yelled, “Phoenix! Phoenix gets it done, yeah! They get it done in two years, not four!”
“Anyway, I know what some of you are wondering right now,” he continued after returning to his podium. “‘How could Conan, at his age, possibly relate to me?’ Well to you I say do not think of me as someone who graduated from Harvard 35 years ago, think of me as a fellow classmate — a fellow classmate who looks like s**t. Somehow kind of wrinkled and bloated at the same time, very hard to do.”
He also recalled the previous occasion when he gave a commencement address at Harvard: “You see, I have some experience as a graduation speaker. Twenty years ago, I told the graduating Harvard students to break out of their cocoon and take chances. Well, 20 years later I’d like to amend that slightly and say, stay in your cocoon! Stay! The cocoon, stay in it! I had no idea about the virus.”
O’Brien also addressed America’s wildly diverse state-by-state responses to the pandemic, depending on whether the state is run by a Democrat or Republican governor.
“And to you students who’ve moved back home to a blue state, please continue to be patient, wear a face mask outside and trust in science,” he said. “To those of you who’ve moved back home to a red state, I’ll see you guys tonight at Applebee’s! Those onion rings.”
He concluded by telling the graduates that “I cannot wait to see what you fine people will accomplish, and I know that one day, years from now, one of you will stand where I stand. Here. In my backyard. And I will have you arrested for trespassing.”