Stephen Colbert’s Northwestern Commencement Speech: ‘Life is an improvisation’

In case the audience was afraid Stephen Colbert’s Northwestern commencement speech would fall into the same dry, inspirational template, Stephen reassures the class of 2011, “I’m here to inspire you by talking about me.” Colbert goes on to recall his undergraduate experience: Illinois winters so cold “your genitals could snap off like a graham cracker,” the hassle of having to fax photos of your private parts to prospective dates, and his own graduation in 1986, where a lingering incomplete translated into him receiving a scrap of legal paper and a whispered on-stage apology from the dean, rather than an actual diploma.

But if Colbert could go back and give advice to that young, kimono-clad Stephen of 25-years-ago, he would advise him, “You’ve been told to follow your dreams, but what if it’s a stupid dream?” before going on to explain that, “You cannot win at improv. And life is an improvisation.” And while it’s hard to take advice from a chinless time traveler, even if it is just yourself from the future,  if there is one thing young Stephen could remember to do above all else: “Under no circumstances should you wear white jeans.”

Stephen Colbert’s Northwestern Commencement Speech: […]