Im here because of you. Because I cant think of a more tenacious, more courageous graduating class. I mean, look at you all, wearing your robes. Usually when youre wearing a robe at 10 in the morning, it means youve given up. Im here because I love New Orleans. I was born and raised here, I spent my formative years here, and like you, while I was living here I only did laundry six times.When I finished school, I was completely lost. And by school, I mean middle school, but I went ahead and finished high school anyway. And I - I really, I had no ambition, I didnt know what I wanted to do. I did everything from - I shucked oysters, I was a hostess, I was a bartender, I was a waitress, I painted houses, I sold vaccuum cleaners, I had no idea. And I thought Id just finally settle in some job, and I would make enough money to pay my rent, maybe have basic cable, maybe not, I didnt really have a plan, my point is that, by the time I was your age, I really thought I knew who I was, but I had no idea. Like for example, when I was your age, I was dating men. So what Im saying is, when youre older, most of you will be gay. Anyone writing this stuff down? Parents?
Anyway, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and the way I ended up on this path was from a very tragic event. I was maybe 19, and my girlfriend at the time was killed in a car accident. And I passed the accident, and I didnt know it was her and I kept going, and I found out shortly after that, it was her. And I was living in a basement apartment, I had no money, I had no heat, no air, I had a mattress on the floor and the apartment was infested with fleas. And I was soul-searching, I was like, why is she suddenly gone, and there are fleas here? I dont understand, there must be a purpose, and wouldnt it be so convenient if we could pick up the phone and call God, and ask these questions.
And I started writing and what poured out of me was an imaginary conversation with God, which was one-sided, and I finished writing it and I looked at it and I said to myself, and I hadnt even been doing stand-up, ever, there was no club in town. I said, "Im gonna do this on the Tonight Show With Johnny Carson"- at the time he was the king - "and Im gonna be the first woman in the history of the show to be called over to sit down." And several years later, I was the first woman in the history of the show, and only woman in the history of the show to sit down, because of that phone conversation with God that I wrote. And I started this path of stand-up and it was successful and it was great, but it was hard, because I was trying to please everybody and I had this secret that I was keeping, that I was gay. And I thought if people found out they wouldnt like me, they wouldnt laugh at me.
Then my career turned into - I got my own sitcom, and that was very successful, another level of success. And I thought, what if they find out Im gay, then theyll never watch, and this was a long time ago, this was when we just had white presidents - this was back, many years ago - and I finally decided that I was living with so much shame, and so much fear, that I just couldnt live that way anymore, and I decided to come out and make it creative. And my character would come out at the same time, and it wasnt to make a political statement, it wasnt to do anything other than to free myself up from this heaviness that I was carrying around, and I just wanted to be honest. And I thought, "Whats the worst that could happen? I can lose my career". I did. I lost my career. The show was cancelled after six years, without even telling me, I read it in the paper. The phone didnt ring for three years. I had no offers. Nobody wanted to touch me at all. Yet, I was getting letters from kids that almost committed suicide, but didnt, because of what I did. And I realised that I had a purpose. And it wasnt just about me and it wasnt about celebrity, but I felt like I was being punished... it was a bad time, I was angry, I was sad, and then I was offered a talkshow. And the people that offered me the talkshow tried to sell it. And most stations didnt want to pick it up. Most people didnt want to buy it because they thought nobody would watch me.
Really when I look back on it, I wouldnt change a thing. I mean, it was so important for me to lose everything because I found out what the most important thing is, is to be true to yourself. Ultimately, thats whats gotten me to this place. I dont live in fear, Im free, I have no secrets. and I know Ill always be ok, because no matter what, I know who I am. So In conclusion, when I was younger I thought success was something different. I thought when I grow up, I want to be famous. I want to be a star. I want to be in movies. When I grow up I want to see the world, drive nice cars, I want to have groupies. To quote the Pussycat Dolls. How many people thought it was "boobies", by the way? Its not, its "groupies".
But my idea of success is different today. And as you grow, youll realise the definition of success changes. For many of you, today, success is being able to hold down 20 shots of tequila. For me, the most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity, and not to give into peer pressure. to try to be something that youre not. To live your life as an honest and compassionate person. to contribute in some way. So to conclude my conclusion: follow your passion, stay true to yourself. Never follow anyone elses path, unless youre in the woods and youre lost and you see a path, and by all means you should follow that. Dont give advice, it will come back and bite you in the ass. Dont take anyones advice. So my advice to you is to be true to yourself and everything will be fine.
And I know that a lot of you are concerned about your future, but theres no need to worry. The economy is booming, the job market is wide open, the planet is just fine. Its gonna be great. Youve already survived a hurricane. What else can happen to you? And as I mentioned before, some of the most devastating things that happen to you will teach you the most. And now you know the right questions to ask in your first job interview. Like, "Is it above sea level?" . So to conclude my conclusion that Ive previously concluded, in the common cement speech, I guess what Im trying to say is life is like one big Mardi Gras. But instead of showing your boobs, show people your brain, and if they like what they see, youll have more beads than you know what to do with. And youll be drunk, most of the time. So the Katrina class of 2009, I say congratulations and if you dont remember a thing I said today, remember this: youre gonna be ok, dum de dum dum dum, just dance.
嗯，多谢科文校长，校长夫人；知名来宾，不知名来宾 … 嗯，你们自己心里有数; （下面笑） 嗯，尊敬的教职员工和某位雷人的西语老师 （笑）。 当然，更多谢在席的所有2009届毕业生，我知道你们大多从狂欢节（即Mardi Gras 新奥尔良有名的狂欢节）那天就开始喝，一个个都还宿醉未醒，头痛欲裂，不过不等我讲完谁也毕业不了，所以都给我好好听着。（笑）
当科文校长找我来做毕业礼演讲时，我立马一口答应。转身我就跑去查什么是“毕业梨” 。如果手边有本英文字典就容易得多了，可惜我家所有的书全都是Portia的，所以全是澳文的（Ellen 的老婆Portia 是澳洲人。澳文= 澳洲英文，呵呵）。我只好自己逐字慢慢揣摩什么是“毕业梨“。 我估计这个梨和孔融让梨有一点关系，孔融能够化鸭梨为浆糊，呃，化力气为浆糊 …扯远了，不管怎么样，很高兴今天你们把我叫来出席毕！业！梨！
话说回头，生活中一波波的起起落落就是我的大学。在这个大学里，我们的吉祥物叫做大波波（笑，hard knocks指生活中遇到的困境和打击，用到黑话里也有女性情绪激动时器官硬挺的意思，knockers指波波）。我在新奥尔良长大， 我妈妈原来就在这儿的小酒馆里打工，每次我要从她钱包里偷点小票儿的时候都往这儿跑。（笑）不过，我今天为什么来？ 当然不是来偷你们钱的…你们都坐得忒远了，偷起来也忒容易被发现。（笑）
当我毕业的时候，我完全迷失了方向。当然，这个毕业是指初中毕业。(笑) 不过迷失归迷失，我还是咬咬牙上完了高中。我那个时候，真的是毫无志向，完全不知道自己要做什么。我什么都干过，在海鲜馆里撬过牡蛎，端过盘子，当过酒保，干过粉刷匠，卖过吸尘器，完全没方向。那时候我觉着能找个养活自己的工作就不错，每个月工资够我付房租，说不定剩下的能够我装个有线电视，大概就行了。真的，和你们一样大的时候，我完全不知道自己在干嘛。我的意思是，在那个时候我很以为我知道自己谁，自己要什么的，其实我茫茫然无所事。举个例子吧，和你们一样大的时候，我居然还在和男生约会。（狂笑） 所以么，我的中心思想就是，等你们长大以后啊，你们中间大多数人会成长为优秀的拉拉或者同志。（下面狂笑）有没有人在打小抄（准备去告我）啊？ 家长们？
后来我开始 当纲自己的情景喜剧，事业蒸蒸日上。我的名气越大，就越害怕，我怕当大家发现我是拉拉的时候，他们会连我的节目都不看…当然这些都是陈年旧事了，那时候我们还只有白人总统噢 （笑）…后来我实在承受不了了，我把自己埋葬在深深的羞愧，耻辱和恐惧中，我实在撑不下去了，我再也不能那样活。我决定出柜。而且我要出的漂亮 。（Ellen出柜的时候，她的情景喜剧中的角色，也叫Ellen,也在电视节目中同时出柜.而且她出柜和出柜后的故事那一季其实是收视率最高的，可惜后来还是被封杀了。）我没有想过要出风头，没有想过要搞什么立场主义，我只是想要把自己从这背负经久的沉重包袱中释放出来。我只想要做一个对自己，也对别人诚实的人。
有好地一面么？有。我收到那些年轻人给我的信，那些差点去自杀的孩子，因为我的出柜，让他们看到了希望。这让我明白，我的人生是有意义的，我的出柜是有意义的，这不仅仅再是我一个人，或者一个名人的事情了。可是，明知这决定是没有错的，我还是觉得委屈，凭什么仅仅是作为一个忠于自己的人，却要受到惩罚呢？那是我生命中一段黑暗的日子，我愤怒，我难过，但也只能等下去。（Ellen这里没有说，那个时候和她高调在一起的前女友Anne Heche, 也同时离开了她，而且马不停蹄地嫁了个男的。我记得她说，当年一个人坐在空空的房间的地板上，觉得四面墙都向她压来，真的想去死。） 最终，有人出面帮我搞起来一个脱口秀，这个脱口秀制作出来以后，大多数电视台都不敢播，他们觉得没人会愿意看一个拉拉的节目。
现在我回头看看那段日子，我不会更改我做过的决定走过的路于丝毫。要知道，只有在失去了所有的一切以后（事业，名声，家庭，女友），我才发现什么是最重要的。那就是，忠于自己。终其根本，那时的挫折，成就了我的今日，我选择了忠于自己。（Ellen现在是美国收视率最高的日间节目主持人，获得多次艾美奖，刚刚做完这一季的美国偶像的评委，虽然五十出头，风头却劲。而且和Portia的婚姻也非常美满。）我不再活在恐惧中，我把自己从那个秘密中解脱出来，我获得了身与心的自由。不管发生什么，只要我知道我是谁，只要我能够坦然面对，那么一切困难都会过去。好吧，总结一下，我要说的就是， 当我年轻的时候， 我以为成功是一些肤浅的东西，我觉得成功就是我长大以后要成名，要当明星，要拍电影，要环游世界，要开名车，要有粉丝（Ellen这句话说得特别溜，大家才发现原来是pussycat dolls的歌词）。（大笑）
时至今日，成功的定义对我来说已全然不同。当你年纪渐长，你也会发现成功的定义在慢慢改变。今天，对你们中许多人来说，成功，就是能一口气干二十杯龙舌兰烈酒不倒。对我，则是‘最完整的保存自我’也就是坦诚地面对自己的人生，而不屈服于世俗的鸭梨，把自己伪装成一个自己都不认识自己的的人。去吧，去做一个正直，热诚，有爱心的人，去做一个有所贡献的人。好吧，总结一下我前面做的总结：追随自己内心的声音，梦想的方向，忠实于自己, 走自己的路，永远也不要跟着别人的脚印前进…当然，除非你在森林里迷路了，那有看到脚印就赶紧跟着吧。（笑） 不要好为人师乱给建议，别等会儿自己说过的话就成了给自己种下的套。 所以也别轻信他人的建议。（停顿）那么，我给你们的建议就是（笑） ：只要忠于自己，一切都会好起来的。
我知道你们当中许多人都对未来感到迷茫，但是完全不用担心。经济形势一片大好，就业前景无比辉煌，我们的地球被保护得完美无瑕， 一切都是那么美好！（笑， 全部都是反话．）。你们可是卡特里娜飓风的幸存者哦，那么，还有什么可怕的呢？就像我刚刚讲过的，对你打击最重的事，往往教会你最多。好比说现在你就知道去第一个面试的时候该问什么问题了 ――― “你们的办公室是在海平面以上吧？“ 好吧，最后总结一下我前面已经总结过的总结，也就是我逐字揣摩出的‘毕业梨’的意思，就是，人生就像一场盛大的狂欢节，与其秀你的膨胀的咪咪，不如秀你膨胀的智慧，如果人因为你的智慧而喜欢你，那么他们将给你无数的惊喜，惊喜好似酒精让你不醉不休。 ２００９卡特里娜级的毕业生们，我祝贺你们，如果我刚才讲的你们一句 也没听进去的话，请记住这个：一切都会好起来的, Dum De Dum Dum Dum , 一起来跳舞吧。 （这句是lady gaga, just dance的歌词，, 然后Ellen 跑下台到毕业生中间就跳开来了。）