Steve Carell to speak at 2012 Class Day
“We are thrilled that Mr. Carell will be joining us as we bring our Princeton journey to a close,” said the email, which was signed by Li and the Class of 2012 Class Day committee. “National media have crowned him as the funniest man in America — we could not agree more.”
Members of the Class Day committee, who were appointed by the Class of 2012 officers in the spring, include Gabriel Debenedetti ’12, Chris Green ’12 and Erin Kiernan ’12.
Debenedetti is also a former editor-in-chief of The Daily Princetonian.
“Steve Carell is obviously a funny, intelligent guy ... an entire generation of students have been watching his stuff for years,” Green said to the ‘Prince.’ “It’s going to be amazing.”
While Green said he was not at liberty to discuss the selection process, Kiernan told the ‘Prince’ that Carell had been a top choice as a Class Day speaker for several years.
“There is very little incentive [for Hollywood celebrities to speak] because there’s no monetary compensation,” Kiernan explained. “They had asked him the past three years and were immediately declined.”
According to Kiernan, this year’s Class Day committee faced better odds because Carell is the uncle by marriage of a current member of the Class of 2012, whom Kiernan declined to identify.
The Class Day committee submitted a list of its top 10 choices to the administration for approval, Kiernan added. As only one invitation can be sent to a selected speaker at a given time, waiting too long for one candidate sends a message to those who receive subsequent invites that “they’re not your number one choice,” she said.
“We sent out the invitation in June,” Kiernan explained. “It was taking a big risk by waiting three months to send out another invite.”
In an email, Li noted, “Our persistence and patience over the past several months definitely paid off.”
Debenedetti also said that he was pleased with the selection of Carell as Class Day speaker.
“He’s an iconic comedian whom students in our class have grown up with,” Debenedetti noted. “I’m very, very happy with it.”
“He has a universal appeal with the class,” said Kiernan, and all the committee members noted that the reaction to the announcement has been very positive.
In the hours after the announcement, students began to fill their Facebook and Twitter accounts with announcements of the news. Francesca McNeeley ‘12, only moments after receiving Li’s email, posted as her Facebook status, “STTTEEEVVVVVVVEEEEEEE CCCCCCCAAAAAAAARRRRRRREEEEEELLLLLLLLLL for Graduation 2012.ASJFHAKSDHFJKLASDHFKLAJSDFH.”
“I am so excited,” McNeeley told the ‘Prince.’ “He’s hands-down my favorite comedian … I’m excited to hear what he has to say … He’s just incredible.”
Carell, who is best-known for his work as the bumbling boss Michael Scott on television’s “The Office,” has also appeared as a correspondent on “The Daily Show” and in a number of films including “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” “Anchorman” and “Date Night.” Carell is also a noted voice artist and has appeared in a number of animated films, such as “Despicable Me.”
Carell has been named the “funniest man in America” by Life magazine, and he received a Golden Globe in 2006 for his work as Scott on “The Office.”
Past Class Day speakers have included Brooke Shields ‘87, Charlie Gibson ‘65, Katie Couric and Stephen Colbert, who hosted a “Daily Show” segment with Carell titled “Stephen v. Steven” when they were both correspondents for the program, before Colbert moved on to host his own show, “The Colbert Report.”