John Krasinski, Oprah and Steven Spielberg surprise graduates with sage advice
Congratulations to the class of 2020 — especially the students who got a surprise video call from John Krasinski over the weekend.
On the latest edition of his hit web series, “Some Good News,” the “Office” alum enlisted Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Malala Yousafzai and Jon Stewart to offer sage advice to some lucky 2020 graduates whose commencement ceremonies were ruined by the coronavirus crisis.
“Class of 2020, get ready to meet your commencement speakers,” Krasinski said Sunday, donning a traditional cap and gown. “This week I reached out to all of you and asked you to send me a question that you would love to ask your commencement speaker, and a whole lot of you did. The result? How about we don’t have a commencement speech, we have a commencement conversation?”
First up was a student from the University of Texas who couldn’t stop smiling when his commencement speaker, Spielberg, hopped on the call.
“Dreams are a great test because a dream is going to test your resolve, and you’re going to know a dream from a pipe dream,” the “Jurassic Park” filmmaker told him. “The real dream is something that not only hangs onto you, but you will hang onto it. And it will power you through every obstacle that people and the environment will throw against you. Because if we’re in service of our dreams versus our dreams being in service to us, it becomes something greater.”
Another graduate wrote a paper about her hero, education activist Yousafzai, during her freshman year of high school. When the Nobel Prize winner herself appeared on the screen, the graduate could only bring her hands to her face and laugh in shock.
“Regarding what I would say to my younger self, I would just tell myself ... believe in your voice, continue speaking and don’t give up,” Yousafzai said in response to her question. “Society tries to define us and tries to limit us, so I would say just do not listen to that. Ignore all of that, and believe in yourself. Continue what you strongly believe in and what you want to do.”
Meanwhile, Harvard grad and first-ever Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, Amanda Gorman, received her call from none other than Winfrey, who recalled a low point in her life when an older male colleague tried to sabotage her career during one of her first jobs at a Baltimore news station.
“I am humiliated. I am embarrassed,” the TV mogul said of the experience. “I know that they are waiting to fire me. What they did was, instead of firing me, [they] put me on the local talk show. And the day I did my first talk show, I felt like I had come home to myself. I believe that failure is an opportunity to move yourself in a different direction. It gets better.”
As part of his hit YouTube series, John Krasinski hosted a virtual potluck with Stanley Tucci, Martha Stewart, Guy Fieri and David Chang. Yes, really.
True to form, “The Daily Show” alum Stewart took a more comedic approach, quipping, “The person on John Krasinski’s show before you — their question was answered by Oprah. So I think it’s clear, sometimes in life you’re going to get the short end of the stick.”
Krasinski also participated in each of the commencement conversations, soaking in the motivational speeches and chuckling at the graduates’ stunned reactions.
“One of the things this moment is teaching us is that truly anything is possible,” Spielberg said. “It will be imagination and innovation that gets us all to the other side. I know this is a time of huge loss, but it’s also a chance to dream big about our futures together, and your generation has something important to say.”
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