Robert De Niro received an honourary degree from Rhode Island’s prestigious Brown University on Sunday, and had some choice words to share about the “nightmarish” political climate that’s taken hold since the election of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president.
The two-time, Oscar-winning actor spoke to Brown University graduates Sunday at the Ivy League school’s commencement ceremonies. He urged them to “work to stop the insanity” and to strive to make the world better.
During his commencement speech, the Raging Bull Oscar-winner used an analogy to describe America, noting that “in movie terms” the country was once “an inspiring, uplifting drama” but has now degenerated into “a tragic dumbass comedy,” The Associated Press reports.
The day before the commencement ceremony, De Niro appeared onstage at Brown for a Q&A session with students, where he likewise blasted Trump with both barrels.
When asked what he’s been watching on TV lately, De Niro admitted he’s been viewing a lot of CNN lately in order to keep up with the latest things the “idiot” has been up to, the Providence Journal reports.
Referencing Trump’s campaign promise to shake up the status quo, De Niro quipped: “And you know what, now, you did shake it up, buddy. You shook it up real well. But now we have to get back to reality. And you guys have to do it. That’s all I have to say. Plus us. But you guys. It’s your future,” he told the students.
Another questioner asked De Niro to comment on the “celebrity culture” that’s overtaken the world.
“Don’t be famous for being famous,” declared De Niro. “We have a president now who is here because he was on one of those [reality] shows,” he said. “And where are we? There might be people who disagree on that. It’s just a nightmarish situation as far as I’m concerned.”
Actor and rapper Daveed Diggs, who won a Tony Award for his role in the phenomenon Hamilton, also was among those who received honorary degrees. Diggs told the graduates that the country needs their new ideas “because the old ones have made a mess of things.”
—With files from The Associated Press