4 Incredible Quotes From Stephen Colbert's Graduation Speech

May 19th 2015

Sarah Gray

It is graduation season, and with each class of newly minted grads come some stand-out commencement speakers whose advice rings true whether you're a grad or not. On Monday, former host of "The Colbert Report" and future host of "The Late Show," Stephen Colbert delivered one of those memorable speeches at Wake Forest University. It was both hilarious and poignant; goofy and politically pointed; self-referential and yet broadly applicable. Great jokes aside, here are some of the best moments from his speech:

1. The future is uncertain.

The comedian reminded the class that the challenges facing 2015's graduates are not unique: "The future is always uncertain." What's important is that these graduates are being released into the world during an election year -- "which is a technical term for two years before an election" -- and they'll have the civic duty of not just voting in 2016, but sorting through all of the rhetoric candidates will throw at them.

2.  Setting personal standards.

Colbert stated that grads must create their own set of standards and try to live up to them. (He also said that new grads -- like all of us, might fail -- but that it's alright.)

3. Use those standards to make the world a better place.

"Try to make the world good according to your standards," Colbert stated in his speech. "It won’t be easy. Get ready for my generation to tell you everything that can’t be done — like ending racial tension or getting money out of politics or lowering the world’s carbon emissions. And we should know they can’t be done, after all, we’re the ones who didn’t do them."

4. Prove naysayers wrong.

"Your job, pro humanitate, is to prove us wrong," Colbert continued. "Because if you don’t prove us wrong, then forget everything I’ve been saying, and instead I’d like to leave you with a bit of wisdom I picked up from a documentary I saw this weekend, ‘Mad Max Fury Road.’ All you young people really need to succeed in the future is a reliable source of fuel and a fanatical cadre of psychopathic motorcycle killers. May you ride eternal, shiny, and chrome." Watch the speech below: