Director Tom Shadyac Raises Eyebrows with Colorful Speech to Malibu Grads

Tom Shadyac, who has a flare for being unpredictable, leaves some offended and others laughing uncontrollably at the Malibu High School graduation.

Director Tom Shadyac speaks during the Malibu High School graduation Monday, June 10, 2013. Photo Credit: Jessica E. Davis
Director Tom Shadyac speaks during the Malibu High School graduation Monday, June 10, 2013. Photo Credit: Jessica E. Davis
Graduations are usually known for their pomp and circumstance, but Director Tom Shadyac's colorful speech to graduates at Malibu High School Monday took an unconventional turn.

Shadyac, who is known for his films "Liar, Liar" and "Bruce Almighty," started off his speech with an expletive, followed by 10 minutes of lewd jokes that had some raising their eyebrows and others laughing uncontrollably.

Wearing a black robe, and a Pepperdine University ball cap, Shadyac, who lives in Paradise Cove, joked about his attire.

"This cord is supposed to mean I have a masters degree. I don't," Shadyac said. "... I have masturbated."

He added that he doesn't believe in VIP, which he said means "very ignorant perspective." He also asked for applause for parents who "had unprotected sex" to bring the graduates into the world.

Shadyac, who wrote for comedian Bob Hope early in his career, seemed to recast his humor toward the end, thanking the crowd for putting up with "these crazy jokes."

He also took a serious turn, using props to encourage students to "rock the story that is your life," encouraging them to live a life of service and courage. Shadyac, who is an adjunct professor of communication at Pepperdine's Seaver College, encouraged students to go serve those less fortunate in the inner city.

"Malibu families cannot stop at PCH and Topanga," he said. Shadyac gave up his Hollywood lifestyle, and joined the Pepperdine faculty to share his passion with talented young filmmakers, according to Pepperdine Magazine.

One attendee, who identified herself as Sandra Peltola on Malibu Patch, wrote that she was offended by the speech.

"His jokes were insulting and lewd; not material for a graduation speech," Peltola said. "I am surprised the administration allowed his line of humor and cursing. Not a good example of public speaking, best to keep that in a bar or comedy club."

At the end of Shadyac's speech, only about half of the administrators, faculty and Malibu council members on the stage stood and clapped. Apparently some didn't realize Shadyac has a reputation for being unpredictable.

What did you think of Shadyac's speech? Were you offended, or did you find it humorous? Tell us in the comments.
R Y A N June 11, 2013 at 02:18 AM
Is someone suggesting the Administration didn't do their homework?
Seth Jacobson June 11, 2013 at 09:46 AM
His message resonated so well with the young graduates. As a parent of a graduate, I felt that his message of Service, Courage and giving back was very powerful and what they needed to hear. And remember this event was not about the parents or the administrators, it was about the kids, and what they need to hear. Yes his speech was laced with certain words or expletives, but they achieved their effect, people are talking about what he said, they are engaged in a dialogue and our community celebrated its first graduation on the athletic field and it was a huge success. We are very blessed in this community to have such a great school, great students, and the ability to even have such an event. Let's not overlook the positives, blessings we have.
Alan Wexler June 11, 2013 at 11:22 AM
Tom was great. He spent time at the school getting to know our kids over the last week and delivered a very powerful life message in a way that our kids can relate to. It was inclusive, inspiring and encouraging to them. He's made some changes in his life which our kids can learn from and lives in a way our kids should emulate. He poked a little fun at Malibu, all in good faith but is entitled to since he chooses not only to live here but also to invest in our children who do as well.
LAURIE MORGAN June 11, 2013 at 11:24 AM
Many good things said, but overall, too many inappropriate comments for a mixed audience. I was embarrased for the families that were there with their young children. He had a "captive audience" and he knew it.
R Y A N June 11, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Jeff Spicoli: He's the full hot orator.
sam jenkins June 11, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Tom Totally Rocked It!!! Anyone offended by his speech needs to loosen up and get out from under that rock. Tom RULES.
Kathryn Dowling Wrye June 11, 2013 at 06:10 PM
I loved MHS graduation. Loved the location, the weather, the decorated caps, the donned sunglasses, the polo player's bare feet, the scantily clad sax player, and most of Tom's speech. He could have deleted the profanity and the four or five f---you references to Oaks Christian High School and still been a hit with the graduates as well as the parents and grandparents. Not a huge fan of excessive profanity, especially at a high school graduation, and not because I live under a rock. But because our graduates deserve something better. That said, Tom passed on a pretty compelling message and I salute him for that!
Mikke Pierson June 11, 2013 at 10:42 PM
I completely agree with the words of Seth & Alan. Tom delivered a strong message that really resonated with the kids. They absolutely loved his speech and took it to heart. Amazing. Certainly I was wondering where he was going at the beginning of his speech, but I also know Tom as an incredibly bright and compassionate human being that really cares about his neighbors in Malibu and around the world. And my thanks to the committee that asked Tom to speak...the graduates will never forget it and nor will I.
Billy Valentine June 12, 2013 at 09:37 AM
Tom Shadyac is a good, honorable and decent human being. Even more importantly, he is a man who accepts that the pilot of his life is God. ..which only serves to remind Southern Baptists to LIGHTEN THE "F" UP...because quite obviously, The Man Upstairs has a pretty good sense of humor. And, my Baptist buddies, if you make it to the Pearly Gates...and you still have that big wooden stick where the sun don't shine...well, my guess is that you're gonna wish you had clapped at the end of Mr. T's Wild Ride. Keep on tellin' it like it is Tommy Boy. You DO rock the house, each and every day of your earthly existence. God Bless, my Brother.
Pamela Finck June 12, 2013 at 11:44 AM
After Principal Jerry Block droned on for a bit too long (no offense Mr. Block, I adore you), I grabbed the program to see where we were at and how long and torturous it would be to sit through 5 more speeches! Then Tom took the stage. Thank the Lord Jesus Christ and God from Heaven above Tom took the stage! He ignited not only our graduates but the entire audience, even my 15 year old jaded sophomore son who said it was the best speech ever. I loved his message of inclusiveness. His Jesus loves Gays! My husband couldn't state it any better, "He spoke to his audience. He wasn't there to talk to the parents or the younger brother and sisters even though he got EVERYONE'S attention. He was there to speak to the graduates. He spoke to them in with their language and with their humor. And in doing so, ultimately opened their ears to the real message he wanted them to hear. He had them riveted. Me too!
barbara Bassill June 12, 2013 at 02:04 PM
I second Pam, Alan, Seth, Billy,Sam, Mikke, Kathryn and all the others who loved Tom's speech. THIS was a graduation for the "kids". Yes, we parents were there to honor and celebrate them. Yes, the official councilmembers were there and YES, the siblings were there. However at the end of the day THIS was a celebration for the graduates. They had done the work, no matter how much we parents nudged or probed. This was in my perception the FIRST graduation at Malibu High~and I have been to quite a few~where the graduates were actually listening to the commencement speech. Some of them were sitting on the edges of their chairs. This was not one of those boring, usual, "do good in life" speeches, it was a message from the heart. Were there some "inappropriate" words? Well, yes. But hey, has anyone ever listened to the kids talk to each other or about someone? Hm, their language is quite frankly even more "inappropriate". What I took with me from Tom's speech was the hearfelt, heart-centered message. Live with your heart, from your inner net, from you heart. Follow your dreams. Make a difference in the lives of others. Do serve your community and others in need. Make a difference. THIS is what I heard and I put aside all the other things that maybe I wouldn't say, but I can assure you my kids would use those words. So would my husband, quite frankly. This was a message from a person who had experienced outer world reality success and chose to use it to make a difference in the world of others. To me it resonated. I heard the intention behind all the words. I felt the inner world message and the listenng to our intuition. Plus, I thought: the way I relate to the issue is the issue. So what is someone's issue with this and how could this potentially hold true for "you"? Do we see the glass have full or half empty? Did someone maybe forget the loving intention behind all of this: the ushering of our graduates into the new chapter of their life. This was for them not for anyone else and as someone said :"Get over it, Tom was GREAT!" With Blessings ahead, Barbara Bassill
Robert J. Sutton June 12, 2013 at 04:54 PM
10 minutes of lewd jokes at a high School graduation is absurd. Mr. Shadyac is a good fit for present day Hollywood . My question is who invited Mr. Shadyac. Plus how did he end up at Pepperdine University? Bob Sutton
Mark Hayes June 12, 2013 at 07:20 PM
I wasn't in attendance but my friends say it was a bit more like a roast with comments about moms and their Prozac and the dads with their 25 year old honeys and enough expletives to make Sam Kinison proud.Apparently after 20 minutes of shock and awe he made some very important points as mentioned above. Can someone post a video so we can see it for ourselves? It sounds very borderline for a principal who is taking enough critique for other reasons.
L Larsen June 13, 2013 at 12:42 AM
A speech celebrating education should be eloquent at the very minimum. Using the vocabulary of a teenage boy is just the lazy, cheap, tacky and ultimately, easy way out. Would any of the MHS teachers have accepted that as an assignment? It was an embarrassing representation of the school. Mr Shadyac is quoted as saying "He wanted to speak to the kids" but unfortunately all of us were forced to listen. If Mr. Block was so insistent that Mr. Shadyac share his words of "wisdom" it should have been at the senior dinner when only the students were present. Not little kids to whom I now must explain that some adults are just selfish, self centered ego maniacs who don't understand the word "appropriate" or understand the concept of time and place.
Dan Walker June 14, 2013 at 01:02 AM
Don't know exactly what to think about the speeches, but The Sexy Sax Man made my day!
Eileen Culligan June 16, 2013 at 04:27 PM
If I were there I would have laughed I'm sure. But you're right LL. Time and Place. It's too bad for the people who objected, to be labeled prudes, old fashioned, and not hip. The ultimate test of "class" is to know how and when to play to your audience. All funny stuff I'm sure, but no awareness about what's appropriate. Very Very narcissistic in my humble opinion.
Eileen Culligan June 17, 2013 at 03:05 PM
I'm sure I would have laughed had I been there. However I agree with LL Time and Place is everything. Pretty funny stuff, but not right for all families and all kids. Too bad for the people who objected, who will now be seen as unhip and prudish. To be oblivious to who makes up your entire audience, and then proceed regardless, is supreme narcissism, in my humble opinion.
Amanda Aldridge January 02, 2014 at 12:28 PM
I just came across this article and I want to put my 2 cents worth in even though I was not there. Many don't know the back story of Tom's life and what he was exposed to at a young age with children dying as his father helped Danny Thomas establish St. Jude's Hospital and his mother's injury that kept her wheel chair bound for most of his adult life up to her death. So when success came to Tom, it seemed absurd to him because it was not reality it was living in a fantasy world that created isolation from the real world and Tom decided that was not the life he wanted to live. So if the underlying message to the Class of 2013 at MHS was about serving and giving while pursuing your dreams it is because Tom learned that wealth does not produce happiness but loving, giving and sharing with others does and to those to whom much is given and are able to do well then to them the message is to never be so consumed with self that you blind yourself to those in need. Bravo to Tom for he is an amazing man that has done so much and continues to do and many people do not know that. He is far, far from being narcissistic! He is one of the most beautiful, loving people I have ever come across.


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