Conan O'Brien's biggest regret at Harvard: skipping economics

BOSTON -- Conan O'Brien was a prankster during his Harvard years, but he also credits his success to hard work in the classroom.

See Full Article

The late-night TV host spoke to an audience of Harvard University students on Friday about the value of a liberal-arts education and about his time at the Ivy League school. Harvard President Drew Faust hosted the discussion with O'Brien, who graduated from Harvard in 1985 with a concentration in history and literature.

O'Brien sharpened his comedy chops while working for the Harvard Lampoon, the school's storied humour magazine. Among his college pranks, O'Brien says he stole the outfit worn by Robin in the '60s TV show "Batman" when it was displayed on campus. But he also fondly recalled classes on city planning and U.S. history.

"College is when you should actually get about as lost as you can get, in terms of expanding what you know," he told the audience.

He's still an avid reader of history books, he said, with an interest in figures like Winston Churchill and Andrew Jackson.

O'Brien encouraged students to try new pursuits without worrying about mistakes. But he warned students that, even after gaining success, insecurities don't go away.

"It's an illusion that people in my situation have figured something out. It is a constant struggle," he said.

The conversation ranged from his Harvard thesis to the status of women in comedy, who he says are "dominating." He joked with Faust, once saying that his studies did "absolutely nothing" for his career, and added a quip about the high cost of tuition at Harvard (he joked that it's $26,000 a year; it's actually $45,000).

Asked about his biggest regrets, O'Brien said he still kicks himself for shying away from an economics class because it intimidated him.

"That was knowledge that I don't have, and I've always regretted it," he said. "I wish I had taken that course."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Oscars look to 'La La Land,' Jimmy Kimmel for ratings boost

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- If the Oscars had doubled down on nominating films with actors named Ryan, the ceremony's chances for a ratings bounce might be as likely as host Jimmy Kimmel's Trump jokes. Saluting a blockbuster like Ryan Reynolds' "Deadpool" is the surest way to lure viewers. Source
  • Hearing in Roman Polanski's long-running case delayed

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A hearing to unseal testimony in Roman Polanski's long-running underage sex case has been delayed. The Los Angeles Superior Court sent out a notice Wednesday stating that a hearing scheduled for Friday has been delayed a new date has not yet formally been set. Source
  • Johnny Depp blames years of tax problems on ex-managers

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Johnny Depp has accused his former managers of costing him more than $6 million in tax penalties and fines as part of their ongoing legal battle. The Pirates of the Caribbean star sued bosses at The Management Group (TMG) for fraud last month , alleging they mishandled his finances by collecting $28 million in fees he never agreed to, repeatedly failing to file his taxes in a timely manner, and loaning roughly $10 million of his money without being authorised to do so. Source
  • In Oscar winners about Hollywood, undercurrents of anxiety

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Hollywood is ready for its close-up. Again. If Damien Chazelle's "La La Land" is to win best picture at Sunday's Academy Awards -- and just about everyone thinks it's going to -- it will surely go down as another in a run of movies about Hollywood to be celebrated by Hollywood. Source
  • David Bowie, George Michael honoured at Brit Awards [Photos]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LONDON — The Brit Awards recognized big international stars including Drake and Beyonce and a cross-section of home-grown talent Wednesday — but the ceremony was overshadowed by the much-missed David Bowie and George Michael. Bowie, who died in January 2016 at age 69, was crowned British male artist of the year and won British album of the year for “Blackstar,” released days before his death. Source
  • Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman' heading to Netflix

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro’s long-awaited mob movie The Irishman is heading to the small screen thanks to a distribution deal with streaming service Netflix. The longtime collaborators, whose previous hits together include Raging Bull and Goodfellas, were first linked to the biopic about real-life union official-turned-mafia hitman Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran in 2008, but production plans with Paramount Pictures executives in 2011 stalled due to scheduling issues. Source
  • Oscars 2017: Andrew Garfield reflects on trading Spider-Man for 'Hacksaw Ridge'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES – In Hollywood – if you’re lucky – when one door closes, another opens up. Just ask Oscar-nominee Andrew Garfield. The rising American-born, British star cut his teeth with dark dramas like David Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) and Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go (2010) before landing the coveted lead in the 2012 reboot of Spider-Man. Source
  • Director Kenneth Lonergan reacts to ‘Manchester by the Sea’ success

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Oscar-nominee Kenneth Lonergan reacts to the heartbreaking success of Manchester by the Sea Manchester by the Sea started life as a conversation between Matt Damon and John Krasinski. Damon took the project to award-winning playwright and filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan, who wrote a screenplay and eventually directed the movie himself. Source
  • Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams spotted singing karaoke in Calgary

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Maisie Williams, a.k.a. Arya Stark, has been spotted in Calgary and Banff over the last couple of days, apparently taking a break from shooting scenes with Alberta wolves for the seventh season of Game of Thrones. The 19-year-old actress reportedly sang karaoke at Ducky’s in Calgary and has visited various areas in Banff. Source
  • David Bowie, Emeli Sande among winners at 2017 Brit Awards

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Brit Award for album of the year has been awarded to David Bowie for Blackstar. It is the latest posthumous honor for Bowie, and the second Brit Award he won Wednesday. His son, film director Duncan Jones, accepted the award on his behalf, noting that his father died the same year Jones became a father. Source