Due to the coronavirus quarantine, Ryan Reynolds wasn’t able to deliver his commencement speech to 2020 graduating students in person. But he did take to YouTube to offer graduates at his old high school some pearls of wisdom — and that’s not all he delivered, either. Addressing the graduating class of his alma mater, Kitsilano Secondary School in Vancouver, Reynolds revealed they would also be getting a special (and oh-so-apropos) gift: free pizza.
Reynolds started his speech by encouraging the graduates to go against the grain. “You’ve heard the expression ‘divide and conquer.’ You see it everywhere. And dividing people is just a means to distract them, disarm them, whereby giving one an opportunity to conquer, and the world seems to subsist on this idea more and more and more,” Reynolds said. “And it’s getting really fucking boring. It’s just overdone and I think that you guys want to be stylish ahead of the curve. And I believe that your generation will be. So maybe practice the opposite, practice empathy.”
He added, “Some of you might consider me successful. I don’t know, some of you might’ve seen Green Lantern, but I’ll tell you this: empathy has gotten me so much more, so much farther.” Reynolds told the students that it is empathy and compassion that has allowed him to “fully accept and provide love,” “recognize the mistakes I’ve made and learn from them,” and above all, “made me happy.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be Reynolds if he didn’t work in some of his trademark biting humor. So, he alluded to the fact that perhaps students assumed he might focus on, ahem, other topics. “I know that as soon as you saw me, you were expecting dick jokes,” he said. “I’m going to save those for your university commencement speech, where you’ll need them. Not that you have to go to university; God knows I didn’t.”
Reynolds wrapped up by mentioning that he misses his favorite local British Columbia pizza shop, Nat’s Pizzeria. So, he said, “Every grad gets one large pizza on me.” Which, c’mon, free pizza? You can’t get much better in the world of high school grads. And now the bar has officially been set for other celebs doing virtual commencement speeches this year. To borrow Reynolds’ own words, “Good luck everybody.”
Before you go, check out a few other gifts the soon-to-be college student in your life will love.