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Matt Damon returned to his Boston hometown to give advice to the 2016 graduating class of MIT in a hilarious commencement speech on Friday.
The actor and filmmaker shared words of wisdom and plenty of wisecracks — most of them about himself and his Hollywood career.
"Let’s be honest. This is an honor I didn’t really earn,” Damon, 45, told the crowd. “I’m just going to put that out there. I’ve seen the list of previous commencement speakers — Nobel prize winners, the U.N. secretary general, the president of the World Bank, the president of the United States."
"And, who did you get? The guy who did the voice for a cartoon horse," Damon said, referring to the movie "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron."
The actor also poked fun at himself for being a college dropout. Though he briefly attended Harvard University, he left to pursue acting along with his buddy Ben Affleck.
As the setting for the pair's 1997 film, "Good Will Hunting," MIT played a role in the duo's breakout success. Will Hunting, Damon's character in the film, is an MIT janitor when he solves a near-impossible math problem. Both actors famously nabbed an Academy Award for writing the film's screenplay.
But their path, early on, was riddled with failures. At least, that's what the actor told the graduates. And it was those failures that eventually helped shape them.
"As the great philosopher Benjamin Affleck once said, ‘Judge me by how good my good ideas are, not how bad my bad ideas are,’" Damon said.
“You’ve got to suit up in your armor. You’ve got to get ready to sound like a total fool. Not having an answer isn’t embarrassing — it’s an opportunity," Damon said.
Naturally, Damon, who involves himself in various political causes, made jokes about the presidential election, but got serious about urging graduates to figure out what good they want to do in the world.
“What is the problem you will try to solve? Whatever your answer, it is not going to be easy," Damon said.
"Sometimes your work will hit a dead end. Sometimes your work will be measured in half steps. Sometimes your work will make you wear a white sequined military uniform and make love to Michael Douglas," joked Damon, referring to his role in the Liberace biopic "Behind the Candelabra."
"All right, maybe that’s just my work. But for all of you here, your work starts today," concluded Damon.