Charlie Day

Most people know Charlie Day for the zany character he plays on “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” and all of the over-the-top, madcap shenanigans he gets into on the show. Soon to enter its tenth season, the comedic sitcom is representative of Day’s impressive acting chops, and, as the 2014 graduating class of Merrimack College recently found out, his ability to take major risks.

Day, an alumna of Merrimack College in Massachusetts, became the school’s 64th commencement speaker earlier this month when he took to the podium to bestow some wisdom on the graduates. As you can imagine, his speech was full of hilarious anecdotes, references to his college days, and lots of unconventional wisdom. “You are graduating from an excellent school today. Alumni have gone on to be CEO’s doctors, politicians, professional athletes,” he said to the graduates. “However this year you get to receive wisdom, knowledge, and life lessons, from a man who has made a living pretending to eat cat food.”

In the commencement address, Day was able to use his personal experiences, all of which are as seemingly eccentric as his persona, to not only keep the mood light, but to provide the graduates with some truly good advice. “I don’t think you should just do what makes you happy,” he said. “Do what makes you great. Do what’s uncomfortable and scary and hard but pays off in the long run. Be willing to fail. Let yourself fail. Fail in the way and place where you would be proud to fail. Fail and pick yourself up and fail again. Without that struggle, what is your success anyways?”

Day described confronting his own fears and risk-taking opportunities post-college, detailing how being afraid of taking those kinds of risks would never have led him to “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” Humorous and energetic, his speech was also genuine and valuable. After all, despite his major professional accomplishments, Charlie Day still seems like the kind of guy most people can relate to.

He left the graduates and their families with one final piece of advice: “Live like this as best as you can and I guarantee you will look back at a life well lived. You are capable of greatness in your profession and more importantly in your quality of self. Stay young at heart. Stay hungry. Take those risks.”

What do you think of Charlie Day’s commencement speech?

Featured Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr CC

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Sarah is a freelance writer with a wide variety of interests, including international relations, politics, education, humanitarianism, women's rights, yoga, mental and physical health, and natural remedies.