Maria Bamford’s Commencement Speech Is a Valuable Lesson for Graduates on Getting Paid
It’s graduation season, which means we’re seeing lot of celebrity speech go viral, like Will Ferrell breaking into song at USC or Pharrell emphasizing the need to uplift women. These graduation speeches are meant to inspire and excite students about entering the adult world.
Since it’s a moment of celebration, it’s not too often the speaker will get into some unfortunate and grounding truths (see: Robert De Niro’s “Yeah, you’re fucked“), but comedian and actor Maria Bamford did exactly that at her keynote speech at University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts, leaving graduates with a true, concrete lesson for the outside world.
Bamford, the creator of Lady Dynamite, goes into detail about negotiating her fee for the speech and how the university initially asked her to do it for free. Her alma mater had low-balled her. Jokingly referring to herself as a “crass, money-grubbing comedian from Duluth,” the 11-minute speech is all about Bamford journey, continuously messing up, and trying anyway. Bamford details her many adventures, and leaves the graduates with a lesson about taking risks and a second lesson about ensuring they are paid what they are worth.
At the conclusion, she gives a theater arts student $5,000 to help with her student debt, and says “Now I could’ve given you more, but I did not negotiate for myself a higher salary.” What did you think about Bamford’s speech?
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