Will Ferrell: USC Commencement Speech Includes Whitney Houston Song, And Talk Of Early Career Struggles
Comedic actor Will Ferrell gave the commencement speech at the University of Southern California today and staying true to form, the comedian made sure to make the crowd laugh by cracking some jokes and singing lyrics from Whitney Houston’s classic hit song “I Will Always Love You” (originally written by country superstar Dolly Parton).
According to CNN, the 25-minute long address began with the actor being awarded an honorary doctorate from the University, to which he wittingly responded, “I’ve already instructed my wife and my children from this point they have to address me as Dr. Ferrell, no exceptions,”.
As is the case with any commencement speech by a big-name celebrity, the address delivered by Ferrell was a huge hit with the crowd and the graduates, as well as fans of the actor. Even people who may have been confused by his appearance at the celebration were acknowledged when Ferrell gave an apology to “all the parents who are sitting there saying ‘Will Ferrell? Why Will Ferrell?… ‘I hate his movies!”.
In between the countless jokes and audience laughter, some words of advice and inspiration from Ferrell really resonated. Talking about a time in his life when he was so poor that his diet consisted of spaghetti with mustard and eventually, he had to move back home with his parents for two years after college. Also, the Daily Mail reports that one of the most poignant moments of he address came with the words, “class of 2017, I just want you to know you will never be alone on whatever path you may choose,’.
— USC (@USC) May 12, 2017
Having received a bachelor’s degree in sports information in 1990 from the Californian university, Will knew he did not want to pursue a career in sports broadcasting shortly following his graduation and followed his instinct to pursue a career in comedy.
Furthermore, the comedian continued, “For many of you who don’t have it all figured out it’s okay, that’s the same chair that I sat in. Enjoy the process of your search without succumbing to the pressure of the result. Trust your gut, keeping throwing darts at the dart board, don’t listen to the critics and you will figure it out,” CNN reports.
Two minutes before the end, Will brought out his inner musician and recited the first few lines of the classic Whitney Houston song, to roaring applause. With quite the vocal range, the actor even took a swing at the high octaves of the song’s chorus, ending the address on a hilarious note, literally.
Also in attendance at the ceremony was Oscar-winning actress, Helen Mirren. The actress was also awarded an honorary degree from the institution and Ferrell referenced her in his speech, joking about the fact of him losing the role of Queen Elizabeth in the Academy Award-winning film The Queen, a role that Mirren played and won the Oscar for. The actor claimed that “Dame Helen Mirren stole [his] Oscar!”.
Overall, the speech was the perfect mix of humor and inspiration, giving the USC class of 2017 parting words of advice in between some wise-cracking jokes and downright hilarity.
Watch the entire address below to check out the actor’s vocal ability and Whitney Houston impression! In the coming months, you can find the actor in The House, an R-rated comedy film alongside Amy Poehler being released in June. Following that, you can catch him starring alongside James Franco and Megan Fox in the comedy Zeroville, due to be released later this year.
What were your thoughts on the actor’s commencement address? Sound off in the comments below!
[Featured Image by Andy Lyons/ Getty Images]