With all of the controversies this month over commencement speakers being protested on campuses for having done controversial things in the past, it’s a wonder that Charlie Day, the most insane of the insanely offensive cast of characters on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia made the cut. We’re really glad he did, because he’s a goddamned genius. He gave the keynote speech at Merrimack College in Massachusetts this week, earning an honorary PhD.
Amid the laughs, and there are plenty, he actually gives some good advice. Degrees, he says “basically do nothing. But, he goes on:
You cannot exchange your degree for cash, you cannot have your degree do an audition or interview for you. You cannot eat it. Please, do not make love to it. I think you could probably smoke it, but I wouldn’t advise it. A college degree does nothing. It collects dust. It does however mean something. It tells something to your community. It says, “I have expanded my mind, and destroyed my liver, but I didn’t give up.” … Now, all jokes aside, you should be very proud. This is an impressive chapter in your lives.”
He goes on to tell his own post-college story, when he had to choose between moving to New York City to try his hand as ana actor, or going to work for Fidelity Investments.
“I didn’t take the job,” he says. “I moved to the city. I bussed tables. I lived in a basement apartment next to a garbage shoot that was filled with cockroaches. And I could not have made a better decision.”
Like all commencement speeches, he ends on an uplifting note, saying “You cannot let a fear of failure, or a fear of comparison, or a fear of judgement stop you from doing what’s going to make you great. You cannot succeed without this risk of failure, you cannot have a voice without the risk of criticism and you cannot love without the risk of loss.”