On Monday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker gave a speech to graduating students at Northwestern University. To share wisdom with the graduating class of 2023, he used funny quotes and lessons from The Office in his talk. Coincidentally, Steve Carell, who plays Michael Scott in the sitcom, was in the audience to celebrate his daughter's graduation, unbeknownst to Pritzker until after his speech was delivered.
Pritzker used part of his speech to make fun of ex-President Donald Trump, without directly naming him.
Invoking another character from the show, Dwight Schrute, who once said, "Whenever I'm about to do something, I think, 'Would an idiot do that?' And if they would, I do not do that thing," Pritzker threw a dig at former President Donald Trump.
"I wish there was a foolproof way to spot idiots, but counterintuitively, some idiots are very smart. They can dazzle you with words and misdirection. They can get promoted above you at work," Pritzker said. "They can even get elected president."
Pritzker also talked about how scary the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was and advised the students that it's okay to make small decisions to start solving big problems.
"I knew that my job was to minimize the damage this deadly disease was doing, but no one could guide me toward the absolute best way to do that," Pritzker said. "As Michael Scott said, 'I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.'"
He ended the speech, as follows:
Ultimately, "The Office" was a show about a bunch of imperfect people trying to find their way together. And if that's not a metaphor for life then I don't know what is. You will figure out your way, Class of 2023. I beseech you to remember the lessons of "The Office."
Be more substance than show. Set aside cruelty for kindness. Put one foot in front of the other even when you don't know your way. And always try and appreciate the good old days when you are actually in them.
And remember what Dwight Schrute said, "You only live once? False! You live every day! You only die once."
After the speech, Carell met with Pritzker and said he liked what he had to say. It turned out that Pritzker and his main assistant, Anne Caprara, are big fans of The Office and they wrote the speech together without knowing Carell would be there.