Will Ferrell's Commencement Speech Brings Big Laughs Along With A Dose Of Inspiration — VIDEO
Get ready to seriously smile. On Friday, May 12, the ever-hilarious Will Ferrell gave a commencement speech at the University of Southern California that was full of laugh-out-loud moments, but also was legitimately inspiring. The comedian was given an honorary doctorate, which he claimed authorized him to "perform minimally invasive surgery." Ferrell also joked that he now insisted that his wife and children refer to him as Dr. Ferrell. "There will be no exceptions," he told the crowd, "especially at our children's various school functions, and when opening Christmas presents."
Ferrell’s speech included its share of funny moments, like a section where he named other organizations that he’d spoken at during his career. "I'm still waiting to get paid by Trump University," he joked. "In fact, it turns out I owe Trump University money for the honor to speak at Trump University." But besides making the graduates laugh uncontrollably, there were also touching parts of Ferrell’s speech. For instance, when he spoke on his definition of success. The Anchorman star said,
"To me, my definition of success is my 16-and-a-half year marriage to my beautiful and talented wife, Vivica. Success are my three amazing sons — no matter how cliche it may sound, you may never truly be successful until you learn to give beyond yourself. Empathy and kindness are the two signs of emotional intelligence."
It's great that despite his success, Ferrell still remains humble and recognizes the importance of family.
Ferrell graduated from University of Southern California in 1990, according to AOL, and in this commencement speech, the comedian spoke of one professor who made a large impact in his life. He shared,
"On invitation from Professor Gottesman I would barge in on his lecture class from time to time as the guy from Physical Plant coming by to check on things, and the professor would joyfully play along. One time I got my hands on a power drill and I just stood outside the classroom door operating the drill for a good minute. Unbeknownst to me, Professor Gottesman was wondering aloud to his class, 'I wonder if we’re about to get a visit from our Physical Plant guy?' I then walked in as if on cue and the whole class erupted in laughter."
As Ferrell notes, Professor Gottesman's recognition of his comedic talent was one of the driving factors in his decision to pursue a career in entertainment. He explained,
"Moments like these encouraged me to think maybe I was funny to whole groups of people who didn’t know me, and this wonderful professor had no idea how his encouragement of me — to come and interrupt his class no less — was enough to give myself permission to be silly and weird."
Ferrell ended his address by encouraging the graduating class and explaining that they should never feel alone in life. “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…”
The comedian then busted out an epic rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” as the crowd erupted in laugher yet again.
You can check out a video of Ferrell's full commencement speech above. It's a lengthy — but totally enjoyable — address. Though, if you just want to see him singing, then skip to the 24-minute mark. Personally, I loved the speech and was glad to see that Ferrell was able to strike a balance between hilarious and super inspiring.