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Will Ferrell Belts “I Will Always Love You” at USC’s Graduation Ceremony

Will Ferrell Belts “I Will Always Love You” at USC’s Graduation Ceremony

I have to imagine that giving practical advice to a talented, inexperienced bunch of young people entering the workforce in 2017 has to feel like a wholly unfeasible task. There are only so many times you can repeat “this is water” to yourself when the foundational rules of society no longer seem to apply. So perhaps the best lessons right now are found in humor, which I have to imagine is the reason that USC enlisted alum Will Ferrell to deliver some words of wisdom and a shot of absurdity as the commencement speaker for USC’s graduating class of 2017.

Ferrell has some pretty thoughtful words on the process of growing into your talent and the kinds of challenges that presents, but if you want to get straight to the singing (we don’t blame you), you can go ahead and forward to the 23:20 mark when things take a more typically Ferrell-esque turn.

“If you do have a moment where you feel a little down…imagine me. Literally picture my face,” he advises the sea of graduates, “singing this song gently into your ear.” He then delivers a really ridiculous, shaky rendition of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” straining very hard to hit the notes that Whitney Houston knocked out without a problem. It’s a really refreshingly dumb note to end on, especially in a genre of speeches that tends toward speciously inspirational. And really, it is a good lesson: a dumb joke is sometimes worlds more useful than vaguely helpful advice.

What’s your favorite inspirational dumb joke? Share your best with us in comments.

Image: USC

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