The 6 TV Stars Who Gave Great Commencement Speeches (Video)

Now that Mindy Kaling and Charlie Day have effectively ruined it for anyone else trying to give a speech to the graduating class of 2014, we’re wondering: why are we continually surprised by how awesome TV stars at public speaking? Most of the time, we think of celebrities as not the most intelligent group, because how else would our precious little egos make it through the day? But with the rise of smart TV and alternative role models like Ms. Kaling and Mr. Day (both of whom happen to play characters less clever than themselves) and the one-upmanship of higher learning institutions to live stream their speeches, television is the new field to mine for breakout speakers.

Below, we look at 2014′s six best commencement speakers (so far) from TV:

Mindy Kaling

Who She is: Celebrity, Author (and celebrity author), creator of The Mindy Project.
Where She Spoke: Harvard Law
Choice Quote: “What does that quadruple threat know about the law? Sure, she’s down to earth in this really accessible way, and she was on People’s Most Beautiful list in this year and also 2008, but what intelligent remarks could she possibly make about the law?”
And: “Just please, try to be the kind of people that give advice to celebrities, not the other way around.”

Charlie Day


Who He is: Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and the voice of Ben (who loves spaceships) in The Lego Movie.
Where He Spoke: Merrimack College
Choice Quote: “I don’t give a shit. You cannot let a fear of failure, or the fear or comparison, or the fear of judgment stop you from doing what’s going to make you great.”
And: “Don’t wait for your break; make your break.”

Ed Helms:


Who He is: Star of The Office and The Hangover, banjo player.
Where He Spoke: Cornell, ever heard of it?
Choice Quote: “I’m here to tell you that good sense and judgment are highly overrated.”

Jay Leno:

Who He is: Former Tonight Show host.
Where He Spoke: Emerson College
Choice Quote: “Work hard. Remember, anybody can have a life. Careers are hard to come by.”

Katie Couric:

Who She is: Yahoo News anchor
Where She Spoke: American University
Choice Quote: “It didn’t help that I started in the business when ‘harass’ was considered two words instead of one.”

Bill Nye

Who He is: Dancer, comedian, the science guy
Where He Spoke: UMass Lowell
Choice Quote: If you smell fresh paint, don’t walk under the ladder. Don’t wear shoes from a thumbtack factory and don’t try and smoke in the rain. In fact, don’t try and smoke at all.