Jenny Slate Gave a Commencement Speech to One Graduate on an Island

Jenny Slate Gave a Commencement Speech to One Graduate on an Island

October 28, 2019 34 By Stanley Isaacs


-Last time you were here,
we talked about how you gave a commencement
speech at a high school. -True. True.
-True. -Correct. -You did one — you gave
a speech, a different kind of commencement
this year recently. -Yes.
-Made the papers. -Yeah.
-Made the papers. -Yeah.
-Do you want to explain to everybody why it made
the papers? -Well, first of all, that sounds
like something went wrong. [ Laughter ]
-That’s right. It did not go wrong.
-No, nothing went wrong. -It made the papers
because it was so right. -That’s right.
-Yeah. -I guess.
I mean, yes, sure. What happened was that a lovely
young lady named Gwen Lynch was the last student to ever
graduate from the one-room schoolhouse
on Cuttyhunk Island. She’s an 8th grader.
I gave the commencement speech to her class, which was her.
-Yes. [ Laughter ]
-One. -So you gave a one person
commencement speech. -Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
[ Applause ] -And was she someone
you requested? -Okay, no. Well, I mean,
I would request her. I think she’s really cool. -Yeah.
-Here’s the deal. She did not request me at all.
-Mm-hmm. -I found this out from
“The New York Times.” [ Laughter ] Just —
-After the fact? -Before.
-Before the fact. Okay. -Which is also devastating.
-Right. Yeah. -You know.
-Because you’re about to go in there, and now you feel
like, “I might bomb.” -Yeah, not only that, but,
like, truly, I’m unwanted. [ Laughter ] Well, not — yeah.
So, okay. I heard from the “Times,”
you know, that she wanted Michelle Obama. [ Laughter ] And they were like, “Well, no,
you can’t have that.” She’s — like, “She’s busy.” She was, like, “Okay. Got it.
I want Oprah.” [ Laughter ] And they were like, “Yeah,
she, like, can’t come here. You know.
There’s like two ferries a day. She’s too busy.” And then I show up, and I’m,
like, a nervous Jewish lady. -Yeah.
-Yeah. And she also told the “Times”
that she wasn’t — she didn’t really know
who I was. -Wow.
-Yeah. -But then you show up. And, you know, there must be
this incredible burden to give a speech to one person. Because, I think, normally with
a commencement speech, it’s just try to think of, like,
things for all of you. -Sure. When I gave it to
my high school, it was 180 students, and I was kind of, like,
I could be sincere, like, “Follow your dreams,
be your own best companion,” but also be funny,
and be like, “Hey, don’t get a lizard
or a bird as a pet.” -Right, yeah.
Good advice. -Yeah. I mean, it’s not the best
thing to do with your adulthood. -Right, yeah. -But that’s — like, you can’t
be general or that specific. -Right. -You can’t just show up
on an island and be like, “Don’t get a lizard.”
-Yeah, right. [ Laughter ]
-It’s like, yeah, yeah, you can’t — -But then you could tell,
she’s like, “Oprah would have never wasted
her time on lizards.” -That’s right. Yeah.
Oprah knows — Oprah is wiser. -But it went well.
-Yeah, it went really well. Well, I really wanted to do
a good job for this young lady. And so I went to Cuttyhunk
before the speech, and I took a walk with her. And Cuttyhunk has,
like, a tick problem. -Yeah.
-So there’s like a lot of — -This is a tiny little
island in Massachusetts. -A tiny, teeny island where
people drive golf carts instead of cars.
-Yeah. -And you know, everyone knows
each other. And I showed up there. I had overalls on,
a turtleneck. I had my overalls tucked into
my socks and galoshes. -All tick fear.
This is all tick fear? -Tick fear.
-Yeah. -A jacket, a scarf.
Also, in June. This just happened.
-Yeah. Right. -Yeah. Just in case
you’re like, “Oh, she graduated in the dead
of winter in the past?” [ Laughter ] Yeah. So she showed up
barefoot in a t-shirt and shorts, and just was,
like, really cool. And we took a walk
and I got to know her. And she’s wonderful,
and also the main fact is that, like, she lives on an island
and goes to school by herself and still has more friends
than I had as a teenager. -Wow, yeah.
-Yeah.