Charlie Day Commencement Speech


“You cannot have a voice without the risk of criticism.”

-Charlie Day

Charlie day is well known for playing the ridiculously stupid character on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. What I didn’t know is that he created the show and continues to write and produce it. Three days ago, Charlie Day gave the commencement speech at his old college. His story is actually pretty awesome.

After graduating college, Day applied for a job at Fidelity Investments on a whim. His passion was theater but the interview fell into his lap. He didn’t have the background needed and knew it, so he acted very interested in the guy interviewing him. They talked a lot about water skiing, Day remembers. He says “if he had asked me what 8 times 7 was, there would have been an unbearable pause in the room.” But he charmed the guy and was offered the job. He asked himself, should I do this as a plan B, and build up a cushion for a few years, then move to New York to act? He declined the job offer.

“Had I worked at Fidelity, I am sure they would have fired me eventually. I can barely do long division. But I didn’t want to fail at Fidelity. If I was going to run the risk of failure, I wanted it to be in the place where I would be proud to fail, doing what I wanted to do. And let me tell you, I did fail. Over and over again. I was too short for this, or too weird for that. I had one casting agent tell me ‘you will never make it in comedy.’ I was taking my punches but I was in the fight.”

I love that he hammers on this point that he expected failure and that his desire wasn’t to avoid it but to make sure that, if he was failing, it would be in pursuit of the thing worth failing for.

“Be willing to fail. Let yourself fail. Fail in the way and in the place that you would want to fail.”


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