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Jerry Seinfeld: ‘The Uncomfortable Feeling of Awkward Humor Is Okay’


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The Free Press

In a sure sign that fun is back, Jerry Seinfeld took the stage at Duke’s commencement ceremony Sunday to give the keynote address. There was observational humor about the Titan submersible—“If the fish where you are have eyes like Shelley Duvall and a bendy straw with a work light hanging off of their head, you do not belong there”; life advice—focus on work and fall in love; and a defense of feeling uncomfortable. 

“The slightly uncomfortable feeling of awkward humor is okay,” Seinfeld advised. “It is worth the sacrifice of an occasional discomfort to have some laughs. Don’t lose that. Even if it’s at the cost of occasional hard feelings, it’s okay.” It got big applause from both students and faculty onstage. On the subject of privilege he mused, “My point is we’re embarrassed about things we should be proud of and proud of things that we should be embarrassed about.”

His words feel true, and funny, and you’ll benefit from listening whether you graduated from college yesterday, fifty years ago, or never. 

Click to watch the whole thing—we especially think you’d benefit if you’re one of the Duke graduates who missed the remarks!—or read a full transcript below. 


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