Ken Jeong Shares Uplifting Message for 2020 Graduates: "Don't Deny Your Potential"

Ken Jeong on The Late Late Show -May 19, 2020 - CBS Publicity_H 2020
Courtesy of CBS

The actor, who was originally set to give the commencement address at his alma mater Duke University, also guessed which 'Late Late Show' employees can sing during a game on Tuesday's episode of the CBS show.

Ken Jeong shared words of encouragement for the graduating class of 2020 when he visited The Late Late Show on Tuesday.

The actor explained that he was supposed to give a commencement speech at his alma mater, Duke University. "I cultivated this love of acting at Duke and wouldn't be talking to you right now if I didn't go to Duke," he told host James Corden.

"To anyone watching this, don't deny your potential. Now more than ever we need bright minds, we need fresh minds. People who think outside the box. People who can creatively problem solve. And also just believe in you. Invest in you," he said. "You are the best investment right now in these unprecedented times."

Jeong said he's "living proof of someone who didn't deny their potential." He explained that he had no interest in pursuing an acting career, though his time at Duke inspired him.

"If I can do it, you can. I'm not that talented. I'm just a hard worker. I do the best I can in everything I do," he continued. "So anyone watching right now, don't deny your potential."

"The world needs you. And not just in medicine, entertainment, science, the arts. Anything that you have a passion for, you can contribute to this world equation," Jeong concluded.

Earlier in the appearance, Jeong put his Masked Singer skills to use in a game called "Can They Sing?"

Corden gathered six Late Late Show staff members for the game. Three can sing, while the other three do not have nice singing voices. The host informed Jeong that he had to guess which three people can actually sing based on questions he asked them.

Jeong kicked off the game by asking staff member Lou who his favorite singers are. Lou said that he enjoys music from Harry Styles and Lady Gaga. Jeong next asked Lou if he had ever gone on tour. The employee joked that he's "on the short list for Carpool Karaoke."

The actor then asked staffer Ava who her musical influences are. She answered that she's "in love with" a number of Broadway soundtracks, including Little Shop of Horrors.

Corden introduced Dave, who is known by his co-workers as "Dance Mom Dave" because he is often on the side of the stage "mouthing all of the words" during musical segments.

Staff member Dean said that he's been singing since he joined chorus in the sixth grade. "You might see me on The Masked Singer one day," he said of his goals.

As for employee Katherine, she said that she prefers to sing in private and doesn't sing as much as she used to.

Michelle was the final employee to answer questions. She said that her go-to karaoke song is "Take a Chance on Me" by ABBA.

Following the question period, Jeong guessed that Michelle has a good singing voice. "She has that kind of vibe of like a humble singer," he said. Michelle then sang the ABBA song, which revealed that she can't sing.

The actor then guessed that Ava can sing. The employee belted out a rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which both Corden and Jeong said was "great."

Jeong concluded the game by guessing that Dean can also sing, though his rendition of Bruno Mars' "Talking to the Moon" proved that he is not one of the three singers.

Katherine later revealed herself as one of the good singers with a performance of "Take Me or Leave Me" from Rent. Lou gave a poorly received performance of Styles' "Watermelon Sugar," while Dave proved that he could sing with an opera performance.