It’s been a good year for funny people giving commencement addresses to the Class of 2017, a group of people who are probably going to need some humor to get through the next few years. Will Ferrell ended his recent commencement address at the University of Southern California by reminding graduating students that he’ll always love them; comic Kumail Nanjiani’s advice was more about giving love, instead.
“Have sex with an immigrant,” Nanjiani joked while searching for guidance to hand out to students at his alma mater, Iowa’s Grinnell College. “We’re going through a tough time right now, and it would just be really great for morale.” Nanjiani’s speech recounted his own journey into the world of comedy, starting with being dropped off in the middle of Iowa at age 18 after living in Pakistan for his entire life. He riffs on Field Of Dreams—i.e., the most dramatic movie ever set in Iowa—and reminds the students in the audience that, contrary to recent political rhetoric, refugees are people just like them. (He also notes that he intends to use his new honorary degree “just as much as I used the last one,” which the Grinnell administrators were presumably thrilled to hear.)