We’ve heard the impassioned speeches of going forth and fighting for noble causes.
But wisdom doesn’t only come in one form. Life lessons can be learnt from unexpected places as well, like through humour.
So, taking a leaf from the Jimmy Kimmel Live! tradition of getting celebrities to give commencement speeches on the late-night show, here are some of the funniest messages actually given to the Class of 2017 in real life:
1. “… Imagine me, literally picture my face, singing this song gently into your ear” – Will Ferrell at University of Southern California
“Class of 2017, I just want you to know you will never be alone on whatever path you may choose. If you do have a moment where you feel a little down just think of the support you have from this great Trojan family and imagine me, literally picture my face, singing this song gently into your ear: If I should stay, I would only be in your way. So I’ll go, but I know, I’ll think of you every step of the way. And I will always love you, will always love you, will always love you, Class of 2017. And I will always love you,” Ferrell said. Read the full speech in TIME.
2. “Have sex with an immigrant” – Silicon Valley actor Kumail Nanjiani at Grinnell College
“So here’s another concrete piece of advice I can give you. Have sex with an immigrant,” Nanjiani, who boarded the plane from Pakistan to Grinnell 20 years ago as a foreign student, told the 2017 graduates at his alma mater.
“We’re going through a tough time right now, and it would just be really great for morale. And it’s one way to ensure you will definitely be on the right side of history”. Watch the full speech here.
3. “Oh yes, here comes the anti-Trump stuff” – Stand-up comedian Maz Jobrani at University of California at Berkeley
Using humour to discuss Trump’s immigration policies, the Iranian-American said: “Now before I go any further, I know that some of you are thinking, ‘oh no, here comes the anti-Trump stuff’. And this being Cal, many of you are thinking ‘oh yes, here comes the anti-Trump stuff’. Let me say this is not about Democrats or Republicans or Independents or Greens. There’s only love for everyone here today. Even if you voted for Trump, we still love you. Hell, I know some immigrants who voted for Trump. Yes, some of my immigrant friends voted for Trump because they wanted fewer taxes. They ended up with fewer relatives, but still.” Read the full speech in TIME.
4. “Never again allow a group of old, rich, white men to define the health care of a country where 50.8 percent are women and 37 percent other races” – Oscar winner Helen Mirren at Tulane University
The Queen has spoken: “Today’s speech will contain advice for any of you born in England who decide to become Shakespearean actresses, and end up doing nude scenes in 10 films. I mentioned that just to see if any of your fathers are getting out their cellphones now to Google me. Dads. Stop. Inappropriate. Put it away. I mean the phone!”
5. “Don’t date a Vulcan and get an STD”, “Don’t move to Adelaide, Australia for a year in hopes of marrying a clown” – Stand-up comedian Maria Bamford at University of Minnesota
Bamford gave some straight talk about money to graduates, giving example of her negotiation with her alma mater regarding her speaking fee: “Was the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts suggesting I couldn’t get paid for the exact job I paid them to teach me how to get paid to do?”
According to Forbes, the university’s email initially said they don’t compensate speakers, but later both party agreed on US$10,000. The gifted comedian ended her speech by giving away her net speaking fee to a theater arts grad in the audience!