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ENGLISH SPEECH | KEN JEONG: Find Your Passion (English Subtitles)


Thank you, guys. Wow. Thank you. Spartans! Woo, woo, woo, woo! Wow, thank you so much, Chancellor Gilliam. It is – I’m just gonna go off-script, what
the hell. It really is an honor and a privilege to be
here at home, in Greensboro North Carolina, where I grew up. And I am honestly honored to be here at UNCG
just to celebrate the Spartan class of 2019. It is genuinely an honor for me to even be
here. Thank you so very much. Thanks to the trustees, to the administration,
and, as Chancellor Gilliam said, I’m from here. I’ve never actually spoken here at the Greensboro
Coliseum. I was just telling Chancellor Gilliam, my
first concert I ever went to as a kid was right
here at the Greensboro Coliseum, 1984, Prince and the Revolution. “Purple Rain.” So it’s just crazy to be here. I think my dad took me to see a Ric Flair
match, too. So, little bit of wrestling, little bit of
revolution. And by the way, a shout-out to my parents. My parents, Dr. DK Jeong, my mother, Mrs.
Young Jeong. They were getting day drunk in the greenroom
so they’re saucy and happy. And a shout-out to Samaya. Literally, the best speech I have ever heard. Thank you so much. I was so moved. Chancellor Gilliam was heckling me like, “Follow
that.” I’m like, “Wow, okay, you know…” I have so many ties to Greensboro. It’s what Chancellor Gilliam said. I mean, not only Page, I went to junior high
at Aycock. I went to elementary school at Bessemer and
Cone. And what a lot of people don’t know is that
I do have ties to UNCG as well. My sister actually got her Master’s of Library
and Information Studies right here at UNCG. And what a lot of people also don’t know
is, in between my freshman and sophomore years at Duke, I came back home, I stayed in Greensboro. I actually, because I was kind of falling
behind in my pre-med studies, I actually took organic chemistry at summer school here at
UNCG. And I studied at Jackson Library, like the
whole summer, and if it wasn’t for that I don’t think I would have gotten into med
school at Carolina. And you know, because of Duke, pre-med, med
school, Carolina. And because I went to med school at Carolina,
I became a comedian. I honestly have one simple message, and it’s
something that you guys already know. The only thing I have to offer in life is
my passion. I think that’s the only thing that keeps
me going, is passion in life, is passion in what I do professionally. I’m just looking at every single student
here. Find your passion. And if you’ve found your passion, as you
graduate, let that evolve. If you forget anything I say right now… Find your passion. Because it took me a long road to find my
own passion. And it’s funny. They say that college is the best. It’s free! You can just do whatever you want! You can fart whenever you want; no one’s
gonna understand; no one will care. A lot of people forget college is stressful,
if you take it seriously, as you all do. There’s timelines, you have to declare a
major by the end of your sophomore year. For me, in college I always kind of felt I
was behind the 8-ball. And I always felt that I had to keep up with
my fellow students. And I’m just talking about me. I kind of lost my way. By trying to keep up I was not finding my
own passion. What I mean by that, a lot of people here,
and my parents included… Look, a lot of people think I’m the model
minority, you know. I’m a doctor. I’m an actor. I’m an Instagram model. I can do all these things. And what a lot of people don’t know, and what
I didn’t know in college, was I had a passion for acting. I had a passion for comedy. And for me.. I’m 49 years old. I know I look good. I didn’t start doing this until I was 38. So, I found my passion later in life. And I swear it is an honor for me to acknowledge
my own parents in supporting my passion, because without them and allowing me to transition
my passions, I wouldn’t be here today. I also have to thank my Ho. My Ho is amazing. First name Tran, last name Ho. She’s also a physician. We met at work. We’re both physicians in California. And she knew that she married a comedian at
heart. I was actually afraid to quit my day job. I really wanted to play it safe. I had a passion. I had an aptitude for comedy and for performance. If it wasn’t for my wife, I would not be here
today. And then, when I told my parents I wanted
to quit my day job, I was really expecting my
parents to be upset, because as a kid I was Korean’d into being pre-med, you know what
I mean? You know, and I talk about this even on my
Netflix special: When I was a kid, literally I was always afraid
of what my dad would say. I was afraid he would say, if I quit my job,
“You bring great shame to Jeong family!” And then after “The Hangover,” “We are so
proud! Give me a dollar!” And I
know I’m picking on my dad a lot. By the way, my dad just saw my Netflix special
a couple of months ago, and literally he’s a little bit confused, because he’s such a
gentle man. He goes, “I don’t know, Ken, why
you throw so much shade at me. I don’t know why. I support everything you say.” But the real of it is this. I had a “come to Jesus” talk with my parents,
telling them that I wanted to quit my day job and pursue this unstable business of acting
and entertainment full-time. And I was very worried about what he would
say. And he said, “You have to make important decisions
with the support of your family. Tran is your family. If you have her support, you have my unconditional
support.” So, I would not be here if it wasn’t for my
parents. Thank you for trusting me. What really makes UNCG special to me, and
really the reason why I’m here… Where are all the first-generation students
at? [Cheering]
UNCG has done an… 38% of the student body are first-generation
students. That is unheard of, to have that support. To be the first student, college graduate
in your family. I think I understand, because I look at myself,
I feel like I’m an outsider in Hollywood. I feel like I’m an outsider in business. I am a first-generation entertainer. I’m the first person in my family to go into
comedy, and to me I always felt you always have to think outside the box. It’s weird, but I look at my own self, as
I was pulling down a medical job to support my other passion. People here, student bodies here, are pulling
down jobs to support their passion, to get an education, to get a college degree, and
you’re already outside-the-box thinkers. And sometimes when you hire someone like me
to deliver a keynote address to motivate you… You don’t have to motivate first-generation
students. We are just here to celebrate you, and encourage
you to keep doing what you do. So to all the first-generation students, we
salute you. And you guys are all at the start of your
story, of your film. And you guys are finishing up act one of your
film, and your story. Just asking you guys an open ended question:
What is your act two? And everyone here has a different timeline. Everyone here has a unique story. Figure out what your act two is, and embrace
the change. Embrace the twists and the unexpected turns. There will be good, and there will be bad,
but embrace that because you never know what happens. Because I was a shy kid at Page High School
that never even dreamed to be an actor, and then now I’m doing things that are beyond
my dreams right now. I’m living a life that I never thought would
be possible, if it wasn’t for the support of my family. If it wasn’t for my educational background… My educational background has kept me grounded
through all the fickleness and the phoniness of show-business. There’s always downsides to every journey,
but because of my education I have this core stability that makes me unshakable, no matter
what happens, and I’m also able to take the good with the bad. I’m able to not get too high after a victory
or not too low after a perceived setback. But I’m asking you: What is your story? What is your act two? What is your twists and turns? They say everything happens for a reason. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know
everything happens. And it’s up to you to maximize the reality
of your situation – of what everything is about
to happen to you. I’m saying, I’m known for a guy… I thrive, I have a career based on the goodwill
of my fans and the public, and people have said very kind things about me… that I’m
multi-talented, I can do a lot of different things. But you know what my biggest talent is? It’s persistence. I do not give up. I do not give up anything. If I’m passionate about it, I do not give
up. I will stay until the very end to see something
happen. After my show got canceled, I stuck it out. After good things happen, I stick it out. I keep moving no matter what, and I encourage
you, good times and bad, keep moving, keep finding your passion, and I honestly say to
every single soul in this coliseum: If I can do this, and if I can do what I want,
so can you. And you guys, you have the light,
and the future, and the universe ahead of you. And, honestly, your persistence and your passion
is the most important talent to have. Thank you guys for having me! And congratulations to the Class of 2019. Thank you, guys. Where’s my private jet? Where’s my private jet? Can I get…? Oh…

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