Robert De Niro did not waste much time offering some harsh truths on Friday to graduates at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, the New York Daily News reported.
“Tisch graduates, you made it — and you’re f*cked,” he said within a minute of taking the stage, drawing raucous applause.
While graduates from NYU’s medicine, law, nursing and business schools are guaranteed employment, De Niro joked, and the school of English graduates “are now the faculty,” the students leaving the Tisch School chose to follow their own path, rather than bow down to logic and common sense.
“But you didn’t have that choice, did you?” he said. “You discovered a talent, developed an ambition and recognized your passion. When you feel that, you can’t fight it; you just go with it. When it comes to the arts, passion should always trump common sense. You aren’t just following dreams, you’re reaching for your destiny.”
As artists, the Taxi Driver and Raging Bull star said, the Tisch now-alumni are “f*cked” — however, he added, that is not a bad starting point.
“A new door is opening for you a door to a lifetime of rejection,” he said. “It’s inevitable. How do you cope? I hear that Valium and Vicodin work.”
The path ahead for the budding artists, dancers, actors and singers will be hard, De Niro said, adding that one does not want to be too relaxed in those lines of work, anyway.
“You don’t want to block the pain too much,” he said. “Without the pain, what would we talk about?”
Watch DeNiro’s speech, as posted online on Friday, below.