Carrey said his father could have been “a great comedian,” but played it safe as an accountant — and was eventually laid off and left living in poverty
Celebrity commencement speeches are all the rage this spring, and Jim Carrey‘s did not disappoint the graduating class of Iowa’s Maharishi University of Management.
The “Dumb and Dumber” star rotated between wit and wisdom on Saturday, while preparing students for life after college, and any fear that comes with it.
“Now fear is going to be a player in life, but you get to decide how much. You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about the pathway to the future, but all it will ever be is what’s happening here, the decisions in that we make in this moment, which are based in either love or fear,” Carrey said during the speech (above). “So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it.”
Carrey used his father as an example, and said he too could have been a comedian if he wasn’t afraid of failure.
“My father could have been a great comedian but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant,” Carrey said. “When I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job, and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
Carrey didn’t just attend the ceremony to speak, either. The actor received a Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa.
Maharishi University, where filmmaker David Lynch offers a masters program in film, was founded in 1973 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It focuses on a “consciousness-based education,” which includes the practice and application of Transcendental Meditation.
Or as Carrey facetiously described it, an excuse “to slack off twice a day, for an hour and a half.”