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Analysis Of Conan O’brien Commencement Address

933 words - 4 pages

In June of 2011,Conan O’Brien gave the commencement address to the 2011 graduating class of Dartmouth College. O’Brien uses humor and anecdotes to deliver a powerful speech which resonated with most viewers. O’Brien also used many literary devices for the graduates to better understand his primary points. Conan O’Brien delivery of his commencement address was effective because of his use of pathos, ethos, and antidotes, which contributed to his fantastic speech.
I found O’ Brien’s speech to be extremely educational as well as entertaining. He used his profession as a comedian to incorporate pathos (humor), which positively affected the graduates. “When I got the call two 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 (O’Brien, 2011)”. O’Brien is making a joke, based on the common stereotype that college students procrastinate on papers till the day before the deadline. “Behind me sits a highly admired President of the United States and decorated war hero while I, a cable television talk show host, have been chosen to stand here and impart wisdom. I pray I never witness a more damning example of what is wrong with America today (O’Brien, 2011).” O’Brien regularly uses humbling humor that supports the delivery of his speech. O’ Brien portrays himself as humble because he feels as if he isn’t worthy of giving a commencement speech due former president Bush, a decorated war hero was sitting behind him. O’Brien seems puzzled that they choose a television comedian, over a president and war hero because he is arguably much more qualified and respected. O’ Brien then jokingly states, that there’s a problem with America if they are choosing comedians over president and war hero’s. This is a prime example of how O’Brien structures his speech. Right after throws serious statement jabs at the audience, he then cushions his jabs with humor so it lightens and eases the audience. I found it quite impressive how O’Brien constantly uses comedy as relief for his audience, even when he is giving intelligent and significant advice. Structuring his main points around humor was a cunning way for O’Brien to captivate and make his audience grasp his message much easier.
If a random unknown comedian was selected to repeat the same speech as O’ Brien; the speech wouldn’t be as effective because they have no credibility with the audience. Ethos contributes greatly to the success of O’Brien commencement speech. Conan O’Brien is a prestigiously known talk show host, as well as comedian. Conan is very recognizable due to the fact that he has been on a various amount of shows and...

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