Jerry Seinfeld tells Duke students 'do not lose your sense of humor' following commencement walkout

Jerry Seinfeld tells Duke students 'do not lose your sense of humor' following commencement walkout

Several pro-Palestine graduates staged a walkout to protest Seinfeld’s presence at the ceremony.

Dozens of students at Duke University showed their support for Palestine by staging a walkout during Jerry Seinfeld’s commencement address on Sunday.

Footage of the graduation ceremony shared on social media sees students chanting, waving Palestinian flags, and departing the event following Seinfeld’s introduction.

The Jewish comedian — who has been a vocal supporter of Israel — looked on as students chanted “Free Palestine” and boo-ed his entrance. At the same time, other audience members offered applause and cheers of approval for Seinfeld, who began his speech by saying, “Thank you. Oh my God, what a beautiful day.”

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<p>Duke University/YouTube</p> Jerry Seinfeld

Duke University/YouTube

Jerry Seinfeld

The sitcom actor went on to deliver his commencement address as intended. Though he did not address the walkouts directly, he briefly commented on the subject of political correctness.

"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,” Seinfeld said. “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.”

He continued, “Not enough of life makes sense for you to be able to survive it without humor. And I know all of you here are going to use all of your brains and muscle and soul to improve the world and I know you’re going to do a bang up job. And when you’re done, as I am now, I bet the world, because of you, will be a much better place. But it will still not make a whole hell of a lot of sense… Even if it’s at the cost of occasional hard feelings, it’s okay, you gotta laugh.”

A representative for Seinfeld declined to comment.

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The New York Times reports that students who exited the event continued the protest by marching through campus chanting, “Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest.” They eventually arrived in a green space where they held their own makeshift graduation ceremony, joined by faculty, relatives, and fellow protestors.

The comedian’s wife, Jessica Seinfeld, has already taken to Instagram to praise those who remained in the stadium and cheered him on.

"A small group of protestors walked out. They were boo-ed by the crowd,” she wrote in an Instagram Story post, later adding, "The roughly 7000 people in the stadium who stayed started chanting “Jer-ry!” as he began his fantastic speech."

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In addition to social media posts voicing his support for Israel, Seinfeld made a trip to Tel Aviv in December to meet with families of the hostages taken during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

You can watch Seinfeld’s full Duke commencement address above.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.