'Office' Actor Ed Helms Delivers Cornell Address (Video)
"I directly embarrassed this school for eight years on national television," said the actor who portrayed the Cornell alum Andy Bernard.
In last year's series finale of The Office, the Dunder Mifflin employees briefly gathered around a computer to watch a clip of their former colleague, the hapless Andy Bernard, give an unlikely commencement address at his alma mater, Cornell University.
On Saturday, Ed Helms, who portrayed Bernard on the NBC sitcom, addressed students at Cornell. His convocation speech alternated between playful mocking of his Office character, telling his own history as a struggling actor auditioning for roles (including The Daily Show) and dispensing advice to the graduating class.
"I directly embarrassed this school for eight years on national television, and no protests," Helms said, laughing.
"All right guys, let's cut to the chase," the actor stated, before riffing on the unlikely nature of the invite. "You do realize I'm not actually Andy Bernard, right? That he is not a real person, he is a character from a TV show and I'm the actor who played him. Or did you actually invite a fictional person to give this speech? Because that would be very strange. That would be like the Naval Academy inviting Captain Crunch, or Notre Dame inviting a leprechaun or Rice University inviting Uncle Ben."
The Office completed its nine-season run on NBC on May 16, 2013. In the finale of the series, it's revealed that Bernard gets his "dream job" -- working at the admissions office of Cornell.
"Andy Bernard's zealous embrace of Cornell is well-documented, but I can't tell you how meaningful and just plain cool it is to see Cornell embrace him right back," Helms told students. "And I'm not alone, our entire Office family -- cast, crew, writers -- we all think this is pretty cool."
During the address, the actor also delved into the psyche of Bernard. "In a nutshell, Andy was conniving, obnoxious, desperate for attention, he had an anger management problem and a very questionable fashion sense," he explained, later adding: "Andy was, by all accounts, a fool, a glorious, vulnerable fool."
Watch Helms 28-minute address below: