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Home » Jerry Seinfeld’s Speech At Duke’s 2024 Commencement (Transcript)

Jerry Seinfeld’s Speech At Duke’s 2024 Commencement (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of award-winning comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s commencement address at Duke’s 2024 university-wide commencement ceremony in Wallace Wade Stadium on May 12, 2024.

Listen to the audio version here:


Thank you. Oh my God, what a beautiful day. What a beautiful class. We love you guys.

I am here today at the gracious invitation of President Price and the Duke Board of Trustees. Because after spending four years at what is considered one of the finest institutions of higher education in the world, they apparently feel that perhaps some light entertainment will get you all to the final realization. You know, I think I’ve really had enough of this place. Let’s bring in a comedian.

Let’s bring the sophistication and erudition of the Duke experience down a couple notches. And I thought, maybe that does make sense. Maybe the thinking was, what we really want is to just get these kids the hell out of here. What would give them that last final push?

Because what you might not be fully aware of is that the entire time you have been at this wonderful university, we have been meeting and talking to other kids that we would like to replace you with. Not because we weren’t happy with you. Not at all. You have been great. It’s just, you know, we want you to see what’s out there. I don’t want to say exactly how many kids we talked to. It’s roughly this many. And we met a lot of wonderful kids a lot.

Was there a time when we were thrilled to have you come here to learn, grow and flourish? Of course, there was… that time has passed. We do offer graduate programs in a number of different disciplines. If you and your parents want to stall your ultimate uselessness for a few more years.

I can’t imagine how sick you are of hearing about following your passion. I say, the hell with passion. Find something you can do that would be great if you try something and it doesn’t work. That’s okay too.

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