The Class Committee returns a comedian to the podium for the fifth time in seven years.
MacFarlane is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, which is also the setting of his cartoon show.
The FOX network cancelled “Family Guy” in 2002, saying that the show had failed to garner consistently high ratings. But after the show surged in popularity on the Cartoon Network and through DVD sales, FOX brought it back on the air in 2005.
MacFarlane’s humor has put some on edge in the past. FOX executives declined to air one episode of MacFarlane’s show, entitled “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein,” in 2000, presumably because some of the jokes could be viewed as anti-Semitic.
The network finally aired the episode in December 2004.
MacFarlane’s other cartoon show, “American Dad,” tells the story of stereotypical suburban father who works for the CIA.
Last year’s Class Day speaker, NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert, marked a break from a string of three comedians who graced the Tercentenary Theatre stage, starting in 2002.
That year, Al Franken ’73 spoke to seniors. Will Ferrell addressed the Class of 2003, and Sacha Baron Cohen, or “Ali G,” followed in 2004.
Late night talk show host Conan O’Brien ’85 spoke at the event in 2000.
Senior Class Committee members declined to comment on the selection, referring questions to Neil K. Mehta ’06, the second class marshal. Mehta could not be reached for comment.
Committee members e-mailed seniors last night to say that “a big-screen showing” of “Family Guy” would be held in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at 5:30 this evening. The event would followed by “a special ANNOUNCEMENT,” according to the e-mail.
—Staff writer Alexander D. Blankfein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.