MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Hank Azaria returned to his alma mater, Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, USA, to give this year's graduating class a whole lot of inspiring advice, as is the custom. He also got an honorary degree from the university.
However, the actor had surprise guests in tow.
Known for voicing supporting characters in the long-running animated series The Simpsons, Hank, a 1987 drama graduate of the university (he marched with his batch in 1985, but "was two credits shy of a diploma"), gave sound advice for the soon-to-be-funemployed, but in a very thrilling way.
"When in doubt, always pull out the Simpsons voices. That's my first bit of advice," the comedian shared, as he went on to render bits of wisdom as Chief Wiggum, Moe the Bartender, Apu, the Old Sea Captain, and the Comic Book Guy.
As Chief Wiggum, Hank gave a useful tip for anyone who might be arrested one day by the cops: "Kids, you didn't hear this from me, but if a cop even thinks that you're gonna throw up in their back seat, they will immediately let you go. No crime is worth having to clean yak out of a seat belt hole."
Moe the Bartender, meanwhile, mocked Boston University: "I didn't have the benefit of a fancy highfalutin education... I went to BU. At least Tufts has a campus."
Apu Nahasapeemapetilon said: "Tufts students and myself have much in common. We both worship an elephant" – referring to the university mascot.
"Remember please, children, there is nothing in life that is not so disgusting that it cannot be sold on a heated roller at a nearly-criminal markup," the Indian proprietor of Kwik-E-Mart in Springfield added.
The Old Sea Captain made an apperance, too, saying: "Kids, remember the sea is a cruel mistress, but Medford is worse, so you'll be fine."
Finally, he closed with a geeky bit of advice as the Comic Book Guy: "Life is like the Star Wars movies. Some of it is great. Some of it sucks, but you have no choice but to sit through all of it – very similar to the commencement speech you are listening to right now."
Hank shifts to a more serious tone when he talks about his own career as an actor, and from that point, he gave even more down-to-earth advice.
"You know, most of my Simpsons voices are either just good or bad impressions of people. I'm a mimic at heart," the actor said. "I became an actor, as a result, because I really wanted to be other people. I really wanted to be anybody but myself, really."
"So imagine my shock and chagrin when I discovered that while doing impressions of people can be amusing and even hilarious, great actors – even great character actors – are willing to be utterly be themselves in front of an audience or camera."
He later continued: "It wasn't until I embraced the person that I really was that my work as an actor got really interesting."
"I’m not suggesting you ignore the rules of society, or the laws of common sense, or the actual law, or your textbooks or manuals, your teachers, or your advisers, or the Internet, or all the other sources that are happy to tell you the right and wrong way to go about doing almost everything."
He just gave honest, no-frills advice: "Just please be honest with yourself about what you think and how you feel about all of that – what you like and dislike, what angers you or scares you, what saddens you or inspires you or delights you."
"Those feelings are called your instincts, and you ignore them at your own peril," he said.
Before he closed, Hank reprised his flamboyant character in The Birdcage in reiterating his previous advice: "Or as Agador Spartacus would say it, 'Kids, just please be yourselves, and if you can't be yourselves, please be Judy Garland from that movie Meet Me in St Louis."
Watch some highlights from his speech here: