Conan O'Brien's 'Tonight Show' farewell speech (transcript)

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Conan O'brien's final word as host of "The Tonight Show" were serious and eloquent. Here's a transcript of his closing thought:

"Before we bring this rodeo to a close, I think a couple things should be said. 
There's been a lot of speculation in the press about what I legally can and can't say about NBC. 
nd this isn't a joke. 
To set the record straight, and this is true, tonight I'm allowed to say anything I want. 
(Man laughs)
Um, and no it's not a joke, but thanks sir.  Tonight I really am allowed to say whatever I want and what I want to say is this. 
Between my time at "Saturday Night Live," "The Late Night Show," and my brief run here on "The Tonight Show," I've worked with NBC for over 20 years. 
Yes, we have our differences right now, yes we're going our separate ways, but this company has been my home for most of my adult life. 
I am enormously proud of the work we've done together. And I want to thank NBC for making it all possible. 
I really do. 
(Audience applauds) 
A lot of people have been asking me about my state of mind and I'll be honest with you, walking away from "The Tonight Show" is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. 
Um, making this choice has been enormously difficult.  This is the best job in the world. 
I absolutely love doing it and I have the best staff and crew in the history of the medium. 
I will fight anybody who says I don't, but noone would. 
But despite this sense of loss, I really feel this should be a happy moment.  Every comedian...every comedian dreams of hosting "The Tonight Show" and for seven months, I got to do it. 
And I did it my way with people I love.  I do not regret one second of anything that we've done here. 
(Audience applause)
And yeah. 
And I encounter people when I walk on the street now who are just uh who give me sort of a sad look. 
I have had more fortune than anybody I know. 
And if our next gig is doing a show in a 7-Eleven Parking lot we will find a way to make it fine.  We really will. 
I have no problems.  And, I don't want to do it on a 7-Eleven parking lot. 
(Audience laughs) 
But whatever, uh, finally I have something to say to our fans. 
This massive outpouring of support and passion from so many people has been overwhelming for me. 
The rallies, the signs, all the goofy outrageous creativity on the Internet uh, the fact that people have traveled long distances and camped out all night in the pouring rain. 
(Audience cheers)
It's pouring! It's been pouring for days and they're camping out to be in our audience. 
Really, you...Here's what all of you have done. 
You've made a sad situation joyous and inspirational. 
So to all the people watching I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me and I'll think about it for the rest of my life. 
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. 
As proof, let's make something amazing happen right now. 
Here to close out our show are a few good friends, led by Mr. Will Ferrell."

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2 Comments

Coco your a class act.

I thought his farewell speech was very moving. As a speech coach, I was particularly impressed with his choice to unexpectedly speak with such sincerity. I just wrote about it in my speaking advice blog: http://sarahgershman.blogspot.com/2010/01/conan-obrien-and-power-of-unexpected.html

I welcome feedback!

Sarah

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Craig Newman published on January 23, 2010 2:41 AM.

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