I’m perhaps betraying my age, but Conan O’Brien was my guy. I was 13 when he took over Late Night from David Letterman. I was already a huge fan of Dave, but my parents (and grandparents) liked him too. Conan was all mine. None of the adults in the house understood his comedy, but I was almost instantly drawn to his very manic, off beat, and occasionally surreal sense of humor. Most of all, I enjoyed his rapport and genuine friendship with Andy Richter, and I thought “if my friends and I had a TV show, it would be a lot like this.”
And so I grew with Conan, all through Late Night, and then to his big move to the legendary Tonight Show. That was not to last, of course, and that drama is well documented. The thing that stands out to me, however, is his farewell monologue from his last show, which ended with this:
“And all I ask is one thing…and this is…I’m asking this particularly of young people that watch…please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it’s my least favorite quality. It doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you. Amazing things will happen. (Audience claps) I’m telling you. It’s just true.”
A decade later, Conan said farewell again, wrapping up his Conan show on TBS. Once again, his farewell will stay with me:
“My advice to anyone watching right now … Try and do what you love with people you love. And if you can manage that, it’s the definition of heaven on Earth. I swear to God, it really is. So good night. Thank you very much.”
I can’t say it better than Conan has. It’s proven to be true for me time and time again in my life. Be kind and work hard and people will want to work with you. Do something you love with people you love and the work will benefit. Now, if you’ve read any of my other blogs or listened to CS Radio, you’ll know that Career Services isn’t my primary passion, but I do love what we do here. And I love the people I work with. And amazing things have happened because of it.
Here’s to you, Coco. Whatever you get up to next, I’ll be there.