Learning from disappointment

When I quoted from Conan O’Brien’s commencement speech at Dartmouth this past Sunday, I hadn’t yet watched it through to the end. It is 24 minutes long. The first 18 minutes are funny and beautifully performed. The tribute to President Bush, sitting on the stage with Mrs. Bush, is funny and unironic, respectful in a way that reflects well on O’Brien himself. The rest of the 18 minutes are funny and ironic.
The final six minutes of the speech “impart” O’Brien’s “wisdom,” as he refers to it in his tribute to President Bush, with a deft touch on a personal note. Elizabeth Scalia finds it “brilliant.” It is surprisingly good.
UPDATE: Emily Esfahani Smith provides an eyewitness report.