Will Ferrell Jokes About 'SNL,' Breaks Into Song at USC Commencement Address

Screengrab/USC
Will Ferrell

The actor/comedian ended his speech with a rendition of "I Will Always Love You."

He's been a race-car driver, a Santa's elf and a TV anchorman in the movies.

And now, Will Ferrell says, with an honorary doctorate degree in hand, he's ready to deliver a baby on an airliner, adding that he hopes it's United Airlines.

Ferrell, who on Friday delivered the keynote address at the University of Southern California's 134th commencement, had graduates roaring with laughter throughout the nearly 30 minutes he stood at the podium after receiving his honorary degree.

As he shyly made his way to the stage in traditional graduation garb earlier, Ferrell joked with the students and parents in the audience: “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?"

He continued, "All of you excelled in various courses of study — all of you, except for four students, and you know exactly who you are."

Ferrell told a few stories from his early days on Saturday Night Live: “After my first show, one review referred to me as ‘the most annoying newcomer of the new cast.’ Someone showed this to me and I promptly put it on the wall of my office, reminding myself that, to some people, I will be annoying. Some people will not think I’m funny. And that’s OK.

“Even now, I still lose out on parts that I want to desperately," said Ferrell. "My most painful example was losing the role of Queen Elizabeth in the film The Queen. Apparently it came down to two actors, myself and Helen Mirren. The rest is history. Dame Helen Mirren, you stole my Oscar!”

The actor/comedian ended his speech with a rendition of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You." One of USC's most successful graduates, Ferrell occasionally turned serious to exhort students to never be afraid to pursue their goals. He added that he struggled for several years after his 1990 graduation from USC before breaking through in comedy.

Watch the speech below. 

comments powered by Disqus