May 18th, 2009
10:59 AM ET

Pomp and Circumstance and Breast Implants

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/18/art.graduation.jpg]

Jack Gray
AC360° Producer/Writer

All this talk about President Obama’s commencement speeches has gotten me a little bummed out. Sure, cable news producers aren’t exactly A-list speakers, but I’m still disappointed that not even one college invited me to deliver my inspirational address, “It’s All Downhill From Here.”

So, I thought I’d share with you – you being Anderson Cooper’s pet Komodo Dragon, Debbie – what I had hoped to share with the Class of 2009:

Good morning Class of 2009. It’s an honor to be here at (insert name of unaccredited plastic surgery medical school and/or halfway house). Never in a million years did I think I’d be awarded a doctorate, especially one printed on such lovely scented paper. But today isn’t about my degree or the pharmacist who is now obligated to fill those prescriptions I’ve been calling in for myself.

It’s about you.

You, who have proven that hard work and perseverance do indeed pay off. You, who exemplify the notion that education is the key to success. You, who will end up defaulting on your student loans to support your addiction to body glitter.

Indeed, today is a happy day. And you have much of which to be proud. But as joyous an occasion as this is, let’s not forget that these are challenging times for college graduates. The economy is in tough shape. Jobs are scarce. You know it, I know it, Kim Kardashian knows it.

True, the president has said he sees "glimmers of hope" but America’s fiscal health is still not what it used to be. Nor, for that matter, is my dog’s stash of Chardonnay.

The good news is that you now have the necessary education and skills to be competitive in the global job market. The bad news is that, even if you get a job, everything will not always go according to plan. And I’m not just talking about marketing your “Tylenol Gelcaps are for Lovers” rain bonnets.

Don’t get me wrong, you may very well wind up with a wonderful job. A job that will pay the rent with enough left over for a rainy day. Perhaps you’ll even be able to afford those breast implants you’ve been wanting. Although I should warn you: With that surgery comes a 50/50 chance that you’ll one day end up at a news conference with Donald Trump.

And sure, you may plan on becoming a successful working parent. But unless you simultaneously give birth to a minimum of eight babies, no one will care.

And, let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: At least once between now and when you retire, Betty White will try to kill you.

I know what you’re thinking: Who’s he to give advice? Well, I don’t want to brag, but I did once work at a video store/tanning parlor. And, of course, there’s the business sense I acquired while selling knock-off Larry King suspenders outside the Times Square Olive Garden.

But, when it comes down to it, I owe what I know to my education. Just like you.

Congratulations Class of 2009. May you have much love and success.

Or at the very least a hot body.

Follow Jack Gray on Twitter @jackgraycnn

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Miss J

    Jack, is it TMI if I told you that I had my breasts reduced once? Many years ago.

    I would like to have another reduction but that won't be happening anytime soon.

    May 19, 2009 at 4:57 am |
  2. Miss J

    I almost missed this blog! Glad I caught it. Do you know that Betty White is in an upcoming movie with Sandra Bullock? I saw the commercial today. Too cute.

    May 19, 2009 at 4:41 am |
  3. Natasha, Fayetteville, AR

    Hiya, Jack!
    That was a great one. Forget the commencement speeches you need your own show! I guess you already have one with Anderson, but you know what I mean...you...a star...with your own live audience. Hmmm....I would put you right at the top of my DVR list, right next to Betty White and her Golden Girls.

    And thank goodness your mother decided against the medication your teachers recommended! We would have all lost something that day!

    Take care, Jack. Looking forward to your next creation.

    May 18, 2009 at 9:47 pm |
  4. Annie Kate


    Very funny address. I love the title – It all is Downhill from here. It's catchy, attention getting, and accurate. The reference to the student loans was right on too – seems like every student comes out with student loans of a size that would buy a house. I would hate to be a graduate this year because of the job situation but if you were doing the commencement speech I would at least have something to look back fondly on and aspire to. Keep on writing....

    May 18, 2009 at 9:22 pm |
  5. Allison Ryan

    If only my commencement speech had been this entertaining! And I'm sure I would've remembered who gave it and what it was about...unlike my actual commencement speeches! Loved the blog, as usual Jack. Keep 'em coming!

    May 18, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  6. Ron, quakin' San Diego, CA

    The line with The Donald was brilliant!

    May 18, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  7. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    Jack, I can't for the life of me figure out why no one wanted you to come to their fine institution and deliver those wonderful words of wisdom!

    It seems that Anderson is going to need to take out a 2nd mortgage to support his exotic animal fetish! 🙂

    I'm a college grad and am still looking for the job that will simultaneously allow me to pay the rent and eat on a regular basis but as of now it is still alluding me!...And as for the likelihood of ending up at a press conference with Donald Trump...I'd rather not risk it!

    May 18, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  8. Don, WA

    Thanks for the laughs on a sunny monday. And congat's all grads! Especially those of the university of california, who will recieve, I believe, a complimentary and much coveted autograph of arnold schwarzenneger right on your diploma.

    May 18, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  9. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    You beat two of the three speakers I've had at college graduations over the years. Edwin Edwards was quite entertaining and gave really good advice at one of my commencements, though.

    BTW, don't feel bad. Apparently very few Republican big names were asked to speak this year, either.

    Still trying to get my head around a 15-year old 8th grader shooting at a school in a community I've always known. All humor is sort of lost right now.

    May 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  10. Mary

    Love your blogs! Started following you on twitter and now I'm always updated whenever you write a new one. Totally look forward to it. Even though it's kinda weird when I start laughing at my desk when no one else is around. Kinda creepy haha.

    Just wanted to show some appreciation for the talent!


    May 18, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  11. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    Hi Jack

    There's a great idea for a second job just incase Anderson gets tired of you forgeeting to vaccum his car every night after the show or perhaps you misseda spot while waxing his car you can sell Lary King suspenders with autograpgh picture included of course .I 'd throw my hat in the air for that one for sure! The only time you'd ever throw your hart in the air or graduation cap in the air is that if Sammy finally quit her menthol smokin'ways ha!

    Great post Jack
    Michelle D.

    May 18, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  12. Carol

    As always you crack me up. I love the elephant in the room line. I've always thought there was 'something' about Betty White but could never put my finger on it! Thanks, as always, for the laughs!

    May 18, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  13. Sarah Porter

    I'd like to know if you can be this witty live or if you're only funny in writing! I'm going to write in to Chelsea Handler to request that she invite you to join her Roundtable on Chelsea Lately. I see you've already got the Kim Kardashian jokes lined up- you'll fit right in. If you know anyone at E! you should make the request as well.

    Thanks for sharing your amazing sense of humor!


    May 18, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  14. Krista

    As usual, another very true and completely hilarious blog! Good job Jack!

    May 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  15. Isabel

    Hi, Jack!

    I'm (almost) back! and I loved your post!

    You still will be a speaker! Believe it! 🙂

    The graduation is a moment in life of the person so nice! It is difficult to imagine that after so much struggle (and study), it is only the beginning!

    Very cool you highlight the shortage of jobs. In my company 15 people were beheaded today!
    And in Friday, I was shopping in a store (Florida) and a lady came up for termination. I felt so bad for her!

    But let's on! Thanks!

    May 18, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  16. Jonathan de Souza- Netherlands

    This just made my day. Thanks Jack, for always being there to make me laugh like hell.

    May 18, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  17. Lori

    Another funny blog Jack.

    Favorite line: "You know it, I know it, Kim Kardashian knows it."

    Thanks for the laughs! Keep 'em coming. 🙂

    May 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  18. Samantha

    Betty White's a dangerous one. Tho she's got nothing, nothing I tell you, on Barbara Bush.

    I have nightmares about the sinister flash of knitting needles in the darkness.


    May 18, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  19. Pamina

    Hi Jack,
    You should have spoken at my college graduation!! I don't even remember who spoke at mine, so obviously his words were inspirational! You always make me laugh. Have a great day!!

    May 18, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  20. Rhonda, Rancho Santa Margarita CA

    If only my college commencement speaker had been as entertaining....maybe I would have actually used my degree for more than decorating a wall at home!

    May 18, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  21. Crysti Couture


    How the heck do you come up with this stuff? Your mind is a trip, man. Love it.

    May 18, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  22. gayle mccauley Malden,Mass.

    Jack ,you should hardly be bummed out!! So no college asked you to deliver your inspirational speech "It's all downhill from here".I went to college...."The School of Hard Knocks". I still attend.....As many of us, who find your wit to be a source of joy and inspiration,do I'm sure...So no, you didn't stand at a podium,receive an honorary degree , wear a robe and speak to a graduating class.....You deliver your address to a more widespread audience on a more continuous basis.....We seek to read you,an effort has to be made on our parts ,so you are assured that your words do not fall on deaf ears..That's more of a compliment than being asked to deliver some speech ,for sure.Gee, I've been at this school for a long time.I'd love to graduate some day....But if I don't ,I can be assured that I will have your inspiration to accompany me along the way!

    May 18, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  23. shelly drori

    laughed me bloody head off again Jack. I go to sleep cracked up at your tweets and wake up searching for my cell to see if you can make me smile. works for me!! thanks for sharing your wit, and your pics. i am pretty sure you do a good "job" as AC's writer, but i confess to not watching ac360 (sorry:() i am always wiped out by 10pm. c'mon im a mom of 4 gimme a break. keep making us happy jack. we NEED you!

    May 18, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  24. Luv2Ride

    As always, another blog full of wit and whimsy. Love the tongue-in-cheek commentary on American culture.

    May 18, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  25. Dorothy

    Funny Man Strikes Again!!!

    May 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  26. Wheezie Joe

    As has become custom, you have made my day Jack! Thanks for your blog-strangely, today's sounds like somethings I've said as my kids graduated....hmmmmm

    May 18, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  27. Anna, HK

    Hi Jack,

    AC has a pet Kimodo Dragon? Wow, I'm impressed. That is REALLY cool.

    Debbie probably could teach you a few things herself though...

    If Debbie is who you say she (he?) is, then definitely she has the tools & skills to survive in these competitive times. Afterall, not only is she an aggressive climber, but in deep waters, also a good swimmer! Thick-skinned so not easily hurt by any back-stabbing, & with her claws... quite prepared to scratch your eyes out or worse, if you enroached on her territory!

    Multiple births... for her... shouldn't be a problem...either

    Well, after that little tirade....Mondays are not good days for me either....

    May 18, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  28. Alyzabeth

    It does not get more inspirational than that, with just the right touch of reality.

    May 18, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  29. Carol B. in MD

    Chin, chin. There's still time for a Humorous Emeritus honorary degree.

    May 18, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  30. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    Jack, your humor is so wacky and off-the-wall. I love it! I agree with Gina and Cindy–you should anchor AC360 one night. I'd be rolling with laughter instead of yawning with boredom.

    May 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  31. Jennifer - Michigan

    Good morning Jack. Funny post – lots of laughs. Hope you have a great day today.

    May 18, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  32. Lisa, Salt Lake City, Ut

    I wish you'd given the commencement address at my university.

    May 18, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  33. Alicia

    I am honored to have been present for this commencement speech. I feel so much better about myself knowing that I can aspire to such great heights as you Jack, or at a minimum to the heights of Miss (insert any state here).

    PS – Please disregard my gas mask. I heard a rumor that the scented paper was delivered courtesy of Betty White herself introducing her newest fragrance.

    May 18, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  34. cheryl Sanders


    I have never laughed as much as I did with your speech! I have to say when I saw the words commencement and breast implants I had to read it! Your true form came out and I only wish that all the readers take the time to read this.

    Thanks for the laugh in a time when everything is going to hell!

    May 18, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  35. Kimberley

    Frankly, I don't know why you haven't been asked to give a speech just yet... but I feel you may be on the verge. And they should give you an honorary doctorate in humour.

    Great blog as usual,


    May 18, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  36. Gina - Missouri

    I agree with Cindy, I think you in AC's chair once in a while could be hilarious...Great speech by the way.

    May 18, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  37. Cindy

    OK..that's supposed to be thong Jack..not thing! Geeze I can't type today! I need some more coffee I think! LOL


    May 18, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  38. Cindy

    Jack..you really crack me up!! Thanks for the laughs..I needed it today! Loved your speech! I told you that adding it on here would be a better option for ya. After all you are the star here it seems. Who needs some old school to give you a platform when you've got the 360 blog?

    Hey..maybe Cooper can give ya an honorary anchor degree and let you sub for him a time or two. LOL Heck..you can't be all that bad. Anyone can read a teleprompter..right!? LOL Just don't be drinking beforehand...you know how you get when you're wasted! UM..just remember the karaoke bar and thing! LOL Just kidding..OK..sorta! LOL


    May 18, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  39. earle,florida

    Touche',to a pair that beats a full house,...Jack!

    May 18, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  40. Lilibeth

    Well, Jack, I think you’d be an awesome commencement speaker! It will be the best speech ever. Everyone will be laughing hysterically! Have a great day.

    Edmonds, Washington

    May 18, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  41. Shareen

    Lol!! you are so officially blacklisted. Nobody's gonna want you at commencement speech even if they have thought so before.

    That's a very 'comforting' message btw considering I'm a fresh grad. Hah!

    Love your blogs, its fun and it makes my day.

    May 18, 2009 at 11:10 am |