'Family Guy' Makes Senior Class Laugh and Cry

Assuming his characters voices, MacFarlane entertains senior class

Kara A. Culligan

Class Day guest speaker Seth Macfarlane entertains the graduating seniors reproducing the voices of “Family Guy’s” Peter, Stewie and Quagmire.

Seth MacFarlane wasn’t the only Class Day speaker yesterday—three characters from his hit cartoon “Family Guy” also said a few words.

The show’s creator spoke in the voices of three characters in front of a wet crowd crouched under umbrellas in Tercentenary Theatre yesterday. Event organizers estimated that between a few hundred and 1000 people attended the speech, while others watched on screens in Science Center lecture halls and classrooms in order to avoid the rain that poured down on the audience for most of the ceremony.

And although a tent sheltered orators, class marshals and their guests, and administrators, there was no covering for audience members.

MacFarlane joked about the downpour at the beginning of his speech, saying, “There’s nowhere I’d rather be than around all this electrical equipment.”

The Connecticut native admitted he has always had a hidden desire to be a Harvard student.

He joked that he has “secretly been living amongst you”—in dining halls, in classes, and “sleeping with your women.”

“And in a tragic case of miscommunication, sleeping with Lawrence Summers,” MacFarlane quipped. “Although God bless him, the man has the hands of a prison doctor.”

He then spoke in the voices of three characters he portrays on “Family Guy.”

MacFarlane—as Peter, who speaks with a thick Rhode Island accent—said that there may be a future U.S. president in the class of ’06.

“And when he’s elected, you’ll say, ‘That guy? Barry?’” MacFarlane said. “‘The guy who crapped his pants at the Fly Club? And he didn’t even go home after that?’”

MacFarlane then broke into the voice of Stewie, the one-year-old with the voice of a diabolical man.

Stewie began describing Harvard as a place where “boys can be boys, girls can be girls, and those in between can create student groups to feel better about their lack of romantic options.”

MacFarlane then poked fun at Harvard students’ supposed snobbishness. “Some would call you elitist, overprivileged, and preening with a snotty sense of entitlement,” MacFarlane, as Stewie, said. “I call you my base.”

Finally, he portrayed the character Quagmire. MacFarlane said before the ceremony that he first developed this character as one who spoke too fast. The character then “degenerated into this sex guy,” MacFarlane added.

“I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment being here, because I’ve banged chicks in every school in the Ivy League except Harvard,” said MacFarlane-turned-Quagmire. “You are by far the toughest to get into.”

Despite the weather, the audience responded to MacFarlane with hearty laughter and applause.

“I was surprised that he did the voices,” Pablo A. Torres ’06, who is also a Crimson editor, said, adding that the characters’ voices sounded the same over a microphone as they do on the show.

Although Walter Klyce ’10, who watched the ceremony with his sister Pauline W. Klyce ’06, said that he enjoyed the speakers, he thought there should have been a tent over the audience. “Even just the first 30 rows,” he said, adding that the ceremony should also have been cut shorter.

James L.M. Fisher ’06, Molly C. Wilson ’06, Lizzie S. Widdicombe ’06, and Jess R. Burkle ’06 also gave speeches yesterday, advising their classmates not to take themselves too seriously.

The Class Committee also presented the Ames awards for public service to Laura Jean Ridge ’06 of Winthrop House and Eric N. Momin ’06 of Quincy House.

—Staff writer Katie M. Gray can be reached at kmgray@fas.harvard.edu.