Graduation season is well underway. To celebrate, we chose some of our favorite commencement addresses, delivered by comedians. They’ve given poignant and hilarious speeches beyond “failing is good,” and “follow your dreams,” offering such encouraging words as “you’re shiny little very smart pieces of dust in the wind.” These will probably teach you more than 4 years at any school. Nothing prepares you for the real world like some pomp, circumstance, and comedy!

Stephen Colbert to Wake Forest University (2015)

Colbert gave many words of wisdom, but not before flattering his audience a little: “You did it and you look amazing. Although it’s a little embarrassing you all showed up in the same outfit.”

Amy Poehler to Harvard (2011)

Amy’s speech was hilarious from the moment she was introduced as “Blonde Tina Fey.”

Ed Helms to The University of Virginia (2015)

He ended his address with the ultimate motivational speech before crooning “This Little Light of Mine,” with the university’s a cappella group. Great job, Nard Dog.

Will Ferrell to Harvard (2003)

Leave it to Will Ferrell to give parts of a commencement impersonating George Bush and singing a song calling the graduates “shiny little very smart pieces of dust in the wind.”

Conan O’Brien to Dartmouth College (2011)

“Nietzsche famously said, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ What he failed to stress is that it ALMOST kills you.”


Ellen to Tulane University (2009)

“Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that.”

Eugene Mirman to Lexington High School (2009)

“Today you begin the next phase of your life. Whether it’s college, a job, or a program abroad where you build a schoolhouse for underprivileged children while hooking up with each other.”
Somehow this speech is way funnier because he’s addressing high schoolers.

Andy Samberg to Harvard (2012)

“My advice to you is simple: relax, dude! You just finished college at Harvard. You worked so hard. Trust me, you’re going to kill it. I went to Santa Cruz then transferred to film school, and I’m rich!”

Jim Carrey to Maharishi University of Management (2014)

Jim Carrey delivered a fun and unexpectedly moving speech to students in Iowa.

Roseanne Roseannadanna (Gilda Radner) to Columbia School of Journalism (1980)

In a sketch that was part of Radner’s post-SNL show, Roseanne Roseannadanna mistakenly accepted an invitation to address the Columbia School of Journalism. It’s not real, but the inspiration is.


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