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Comedian Surprises Graduation Audience By Giving A Student $5,000 During Her Speech

It all adds up

Comedian Maria Bamford isn’t exactly a household name, but she might find herself a little more famous after her most recent good deed makes the rounds. The star of Lady Dynamite and The Comedians of Comedy started off her commencement address to an audience at Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts on a curious note, but her intent became clear in short order.

She spent her opening remarks recounting her negotiations over the speaking fee for the engagement, saying she was originally asked to give the speech for free, but she managed to score some cash for her appearance and effort.


The crowd raised a collective eyebrow as to why a comedian, speaking at a liberal arts school, no less, would spend so much of her time onstage talking about finances and money, when graduation speeches normally aspire to more ethereal and philosophical life lessons.

However, the audience soon realized the purpose of Bamford’s tack when she conversed with a graduate in the crowd (at the 10-minute mark in the video), learning that the student was leaving school with significant student loan debt. Bamford explained that she and her husband had just rid themselves of the burden of a student loan, then offered the girl a $5,000 check payable to Sallie Mae.

Prior to the act, the crowd seemed taken aback by Bamford’s other life lessons, which included her memories of meth use, depression, and sexually transmitted disease affliction. But, knowing how to work a room, the comedian followed the old adage that says something to the effect of: If you’re losing ’em, whip out a huge check for a charitable cause to get ’em back. So, while Maria Bamford may not have been a perfect match for a roomful of college graduates, she certainly ended her speech on a memorable and wonderful note.

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