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‘Glee’ Star Jane Lynch Delivers Funny and Inspirational Commencement Address

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On Sunday, ‘Glee‘ star Jane Lynch gave an inspirational, rousing and wickedly funny commencement address at Smith College, during which she talked about hope, ambition, and the power of saying “yes, and.”

Lynch’s wife, clinical psychologist Dr. Lara Embry, is a Smith graduate — or a “Smithie,” as the graduates of the women’s college call themselves — and Lynch not only gave the graduation speech, she picked up an honorary degree in fine arts herself.

“Today I become a Smithie! That same piece of paper that my wife and all of you toiled for years to get, I now get for a handshake,” she joked.

The speech was full of laugh-out-loud moments, but the 51-year-old Lynch also had a message to impart. “If I could do so much of my early life over, I would have taken more moments like this to breathe,” she said. “I’d have taken in the beauty of the moment, and greeted everything in my life with a big ‘YES, AND.’”

If you read Tina Fey’s bestseller ‘Bossypants,’ you’re already familiar with the “yes, and” theory (and if you haven’t read it, we don’t even want to know you). Like Fey, Lynch was once a member of the famed Second City improv comedy troupe, and she explained what the theory involves.

“‘YES, AND’ is the vital and only rule of improvisation. Never deny your fellow actor. You should be willing and able to accept whatever your fellow improviser throws at you,” she said. “If I say, ‘What a beautiful day’ and you say, ‘No it’s not, it’s the middle of winter and it’s snowing!’ Where do we go?”

“In other words,” she continued, “in order for our lives to go forward, in order to engage fully in life, we need to be willing and able to accept what is right in front of us … That’s the ‘YES’ I’m talking about. And the acceptance and embrace of it with all your heart and doing something with it, that’s the ‘AND.’”

The idea was for these young graduates to embrace life without fear — “Plans are for wusses,” Lynch quipped — and she even managed to deliver the speech using only one perfectly-placed expletive.

Watch the address below:

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