Looking for a little inspiration? Need someone to light a fire in your life and lead you on a more aspirational path?
Comedians and Entertainers often make the best Graduation speakers. They’re often full of life and can add sparks of fun and creativity into anything.
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Comedian/Talk Show Host
Conan O’Brien hilariously makes fun of Dartmouth for its school motto, colors, podium, alumni, and more with heart and creativity before delivering a thoughtful message of hope he has learned from his own life. He reflects on falling short of achieving his life-long dream of becoming the host of The Tonight Show and how this perceived failure became the catalyst that would ultimately define his unique and liberating path to a satisfying life.
Jon Stewart reflects on his personal experience at William and Mary, and how when he was a mediocre and unattractive student, he never could have predicted that becoming a successful celebrity would be his life’s path. He recalls his experience on 9/11 and how he thought the world was broken forever, but reminds the graduates that life can get better and that they can be a part of what will fix this world.
Will Ferrell brings a warm and humorous approach to the stories of his time at the University of Southern California where he graduated with a degree in sports information while ultimately discovering his more important passion of making people laugh. His craving for comedy led to him taking risks despite fear and uncertainty and becoming successful in life by being able to find kindness and love with his marriage, sons, and charity work.
Alan Alda asks graduates of Carnegie Mellon University to avoid doing everything everyone advises them to do and to start paying attention to how their own brains work and learn to get the most out of their brains. After sharing personal stories and quoting advice from other speakers, he emphasizes the need to embrace uncertainty by staying steady and responding with your own principles.
Aaron Sorkin tells the Syracuse graduates that they will screw up a lot in life and shares with them many of his life’s obstacles including failing a freshman class, struggling as an actor, and being addicted to cocaine for ten years. He reminds them that they will find success, but they have to dare to fail and be sure to show up if they want to make a difference in this world and lift up the human spirit.