Ken Jeong Speech: Find Your Passion
Watch this famous Ken Jeong Speech. Physician, comedic star, and Greensboro native Dr. Ken Jeong delivers words of wisdom and inspiration to the UNC Greensboro graduating Class of 2019, at the Greensboro Coliseum on May 10, 2019. Enjoy our Speeches with big English subtitles and keep your English learning journey.
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Ken Jeong Quote:
“You can have all the tools in the world but if you don’t genuinely believe in yourself, it’s useless.” Ken Jeong
Ken Jeong full TRANSCRIPT:
“Thank you, guys.
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.
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.
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
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
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?
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
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?
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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