John William Ferrell is an American actor, comedian, producer, writer, and a part-owner of Los Angeles FC.
Will Ferrell delivered the commencement address ‘Trust your Gut’ at USC on the morning of May 12, 2017. Following is the full transcript of the speech. You can download this speech in PDF also.
Listen to the audio version of this speech: Will Ferrell USC Commencement 2017
Will Ferrell – Speech TRANSCRIPT:
We are SC. We are… SC. We are… SC. We are… SC. Thank you. Thank you.
It is such an honor to deliver this year’s commencement address to the University of Southern California’s graduating class of 2017.
I would like to say thank you, graduates, for that warm welcome. I would also like to apologize to all the parents who are sitting there, saying, “Will Ferrell? Why will Ferrell? I hate Will Ferrell. I hate him. I hate his movies. He’s gross. Although he’s much better-looking in person. Has he lost weight?”
By the way, that discussion is happening out there right now.
Today I have also received an honorary doctorate, for which I would like to give my thanks to President Max Nikias. I would also like to recognize my esteemed fellow honorary doctorates, Suzanne Dworak-Peck, a great humanitarian and visionary in the field of social work. Dr. Gary Michelson, whose innovation as one of the country’s leading orthopedic spinal surgeons has revolutionized this field. Mark Ridley Thomas, a pillar of local and state government for over 25 years. David Ho whose work in AIDS research led him to be TIME Magazine’s Man of the Year for 1996. And one of the great actors of our time, Academy-Award winning actress Dame Helen Mirren.
And then there’s me. Will Ferrell, whose achievements include running naked through the city of Montrose in Old School. Montrose in the house, all right. Running around in my underwear and racing helmet, thinking that I’m on fire as Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights. Running around in Elf tights eating gum off the ground and playing cowbell. I think my fellow doctorates would agree based on our achievements we are all on equal footing.
I want the university to know that I do not take this prestigious honor lightly. I’ve already instructed my wife and my children, from this point on, they have to address me as Dr. Ferrell. There will be no exceptions. Especially at our children’s various school functions and when opening Christmas presents. “Yay, we got the new Xbox, thank you Dad! I mean, Dr. Ferrell.”
I’ve been informed that I can now perform minimally invasive surgery at any time or any place, even if people don’t want it. In fact, I am legally obligated to perform minor surgery at the end of today’s ceremonies, or my doctor’s degree will be revoked.
So if anyone has a sore tooth that needs to be removed or wants hernia surgery, please meet me at the ‘surgery center’. By ‘surgery center’ I mean a windowless van I have parked over by the Coliseum.
The next time I’m flying and they ask if there’s a doctor on board, I can now confidently leap to my feet and scream, ‘I’m a doctor, what can I do? Yes, no problem, I can absolutely deliver that baby.’ Hopefully it will be on United Airlines, in which I will be immediately be subdued and dragged off the aircraft, which we all know will be recorded on someone’s iPhone and put on YouTube. You will hear me say, “Call Max Nikias, President of USC. He told me I’m a doctor.” Rest assured, President Nikias, I will use my powers wisely.
Although this is my first commencement address I have delivered to an actual university, this is not my first commencement speech. The institutions to which I have spoken at previously include Bryman School of Nursing, DeVry Technical School, Debbie Dudeson School of Trucking, University of Phoenix, Hollywood DJ Academy and Trump University.
I am still waiting to get paid from Trump University. In fact, it turns out I owe Trump University money for the honor to speak at Trump University.
You are the graduating class of 2017. And by every statistical analysis you are collectively considered the strongest class ever to graduate from this university. All of you have excelled in various courses of study. All of you, except for four students. And you know exactly who you are.
If you would care to stand and reveal yourself right now, that would be great, those four students. There’s one. Two. Three, four, five, six, eight, more like 20. Very honest of you.
It is incredibly surreal, one might even say unbelievable, that I get to deliver this address to you. As a freshman in the fall of 1986, if you were to come up to me and say that in the year 2017 you, Will Ferrell, will be delivering the commencement address for USC, I would have hugged you with tears in my eyes.
I then would have asked this person from the future, “Does that mean I graduated?”
“Yes, you did,” says the person from the future.
“What else can you tell me about the future?”
Future person turns to me and says, “I can tell you that you will become one of the most famous alumni of this university, mentioned in the same breath as John Wayne, Neil Armstrong and Rob Kardashian. You will be referenced in rap songs from Kanye West, to Little Wayne to Drake. Nas will say, “Get me real bonkers like Will Ferrell on cat tranquilizer.”