Jerry Seinfeld commencement speech interrupted by Palestine protesters


As a comedian with decades of experience, Jerry Seinfeld can handle some hecklers — and perhaps that’s why he wasn’t fazed by protesters who walked out before a commencement speech he gave on Sunday, May 12.

As he was being introduced ahead of receiving an honorary degree from Duke University, the Unfrosted star and director witnessed dozens of students getting up and walking out, chanting “Free Palestine,” according to footage of the event.

Jerry, who is Jewish and has been publicly supportive of Israel after the deadly Hamas attacks on October 7, 2023, was buoyed when others in attendance countered by applauding loudly and chanting “Jerry! Jerry!” during the disturbance.

After Jerry was given his ceremonial hood in honor of his contribution to the arts, he reportedly didn’t address the wrinkle as he took the mic, saying, “Thank you. Oh my God, what a beautiful day.”

The speech otherwise went off without a hitch, and in it, Jerry made an oblique reference to political correctness by saying, “I totally admire the ambitions of your generation to create a more just and inclusive society. I think it is also wonderful that you care so much about not hurting other people’s feelings in the million and one ways we all do that every second of every day.”

He added, “It’s lovely to want to fix those things, but — all caps, but — what I need to tell you as a comedian: do not lose your sense of humor. You can have no idea at this point in your life how much you’re going to need it to get through.”

“Humor is the most powerful, most survival-essential quality you’ll ever have or need to navigate though the human experience,” he added, drawing applause.

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