There is something about humor that makes a graduation speech that much better. It is much needed to keep the participants, their friends, families and all other audience members interested in a ceremony that can last up to a few hours long. We have collected a list of the funniest and most memorable graduation speeches ever, done by comedians most of you all know.
Also see motivational graduation speeches.
Learn tips for giving a great speech: The Art of Public Speaking: Lessons from the Greatest Speeches in History (Free download from Amazon).
- Seth McFarlane
Who: Seth McFarlane, the main voice behind Family Guy. He gives his speech in the characters of Peter, Stewie and Quagmire.
Where: Harvard '06
Best Line: As Quagmire:I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment being here because I've banged chicks in every school in the Ivy League, except Harvard. You are by far the toughest to get into.
- Will Ferrell
Who: Will Ferrell. Will even includes his famous George Bush impersonation into the speech.
Where: Harvard '03
This is part one of a 5 part series: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
Best Line:I probably shouldn't use the word ain't during this day in which we celebrate education, but that's just the way I play it, holmes.
- Steven Colbert
Who: Steven Colbert
Where: Knox College '06
Transcript available here.
Best Line:And if someone does offer you a job, say yes. You can always quit later. Then at least you'll be one of the unemployed as opposed to one of the never-employed. Nothing looks worse on a resume than nothing.
- Conan O'Brien
Who: Comedian Conan O'Brien
Where: Harvard '00
A Transcript of this speech can be found here.
Best Line: Opening statement:I'd like to thank the Class Marshals for inviting me here today. The last time I was invited to Harvard it cost me $110,000, so you'll forgive me if I'm a bit suspicious.
- Jon Stewart
Who: Jon Stewart
Where: William & Mary '04
Best Line:I congratulate the students for being able to walk even a half a mile in this non-breathable fabric in the Williamsburg heat.
- Ali G
Who: Ali G, British comic who had somewhat of a controversial speech that covered topics on sex, drugs, and race.
Where: Harvard '04
Best Line:First of all, I iz got to say I iz a bit nervous speakin to so many of you - at least me would be if I weren't totally mashed. Normally de only public-speaking I does is to 12 people - and it's well easy all me has to say iz me name and de words 'not guilty'.
- Bill Gates
Who: Bill Gates. Bill may not be known for being as much as a comedian as others on this list, but the opening part of his speech is pretty funny.
Where: Harvard '07
Best Line:I want to thank Harvard for this honor. I'll be changing my job next year and it will be nice to finally have a college degree on my resume.
- Russell Baker
Who: Russell Baker, an American author and humorist.
Where: Connecticut College '95
Best Line:The best advice I can give anybody about going out into the world is this: Don't do it. I have been out there. It is a mess.
On a serious note, one of the more highly respected graduation speeches was the speech Steve Jobs gave to the 2005 graduating class of Stanford. While not on the same humor level as these other speeches, Jobs really gave a very motivating speech.
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