Will Ferrell delivered an epic commencement speech to the University of Southern California’s graduating class on Friday.
The 49-year-old actor received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater and imparted some words of wisdom — and lots of jokes — to the youthful crowd. Ferrell graduated in 1990 with a degree in sports information before he got the courage to try comedy.
“I wasn’t extremely confident that I would succeed, and after moving back to L.A., I would sit down to a meal of spaghetti topped with mustard with only $20 in my checking account,” he said. “I thought, ‘Oh well, I can always be a substitute schoolteacher.’ Yes, I was afraid — you are never not afraid. I am still afraid.”
He continued, “Even as I left SNL, none of the studios were willing to take a chance on me. It took us three years to shop Anchorman around before anyone would make it. I only had a movie called Old School that wouldn’t be released for another year, and a subpar script about a man raised by elves at the North Pole.”
While Ferrell had his serious moments, he certainly knew how to lighten the mood. One crowd-pleasing joke involved his saying that he had given a commencement speech at Trump University.
“I’m still waiting to get paid by Trump University,” he quipped. “In fact, it turns out I owe Trump University money for the honor to speak at Trump University.”
The tidbit that got the loudest laughs was a dig at United Airlines.
“The next time I’m flying and they ask if there’s a doctor onboard, I can now confidently leap to my feet and scream, ‘I’m a doctor, what can I do? Yes, no problem, I can absolutely deliver that baby,’” Ferrell began. “Hopefully it will be on United Airlines, in which [case] I will immediately be subdued and dragged off the aircraft, which we all know will be recorded on someone’s iPhone and put on YouTube.”
We must admit that “Dr. Will Ferrell” has a nice ring to it, and the actor agrees.
“I’ve already instructed my wife and my children from this point they have to address me as Dr. Ferrell,” the star deadpanned. “There will be no exceptions, especially at our children’s various school functions, and when opening Christmas presents.”
An epic speech deserved an epic ending. Ferrell left the crowd with a rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”
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