Imagine you’re sitting on the floor at home in front of your laptop for class, John Malkovich logs onto your Zoom meeting, and suddenly the Academy Award-nominated actor is giving you and your classmates the most bizarre graduation speech ever. That could be your reality if you were one of the toddlers who enrolled at Play ‘n’ Learn, a made-up preschool that hired Malkovich for their official ceremony on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
This whole thing went down because Colbert decided to give The New Pope star the prestigious opportunity of giving advice to recent graduates. Instead of giving him access to ivy leagues right away, Colbert tested him out with a brief message to preschoolers… and it went as oddly as expected.
After introducing himself by saying, “You might know me from The Killing Fields, the story of the Khmer Rouge’s orchestrated genocide against its own people,” Malkovich tells the children to be proud of what they’ve accomplished in the past year. In particular, he advises them to always remember three lessons: “It’s important to share; don’t eat paste; and if you sprinkle when you tinkle, be neat and wipe the seat.”
“I wish I could tell you that things will get easier and life will be nothing but crayons and baby carrots, but soon you will have to learn valuable lessons like how to use scissors with pointy tips. Trust me, it’s always funny until someone loses an eye — and, even then, sometimes amusing,” says Malkovich. “In closing, I’d like to end by paraphrasing my character Sébastien de Valmont from Dangerous Liaisons, a story about a man in 18th century engaging in multiple affairs: ‘Your future is beyond my control.’ Congratulations, class of 2020! I’ll be accepting tips and macaroni necklaces via Venmo.”
Watch his full Zoom graduation speech below.
Dozens of celebrities have stepped up to help with virtual graduation ceremonies this spring, including one star-studded event with Barack and Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, BTS, Lady Gaga, Janelle Monaé, Taylor Swift, and more. Others are getting creative in their own personalized ways, like Tom Hanks drafting up special coronavirus diplomas for 2020 grads. If Malkovich wants to get on that level of commencement speech fame, then the Space Force actor needs to work on his game, and soon.