Colgate Welcomes Whoopi Goldberg For Laughs and Advice


On the evening of Friday, March 27, members of the Colgate community came together to spend an evening with comedian Whoopi Goldberg. Goldberg entertained an audience that included students, alumni, faculty and residents of Hamilton, with a 30 minute comedy routine followed by a one-on-one interview with Colgate alumna and New York Times best-selling author Lee Woodruff ’82.

Discussing a myriad of topics that included growing old, motherhood, political elections and even personal hygiene, Goldberg had the audience laughing throughout the entire performance. While her routine was highly comedic, she included little flashes of inspiration aimed at impressionable Colgate students. Standing by herself on stage, Goldberg advised students on social media, the ins and outs of relationships and even the 2016 presidential election.

“You’re the vote that’s going to make this election matter,” Goldberg said as she addressed the younger generation. “If you don’t vote you have no idea where you stand.”

Staying on the topic of politics, Whoopi admitted that she wants to be an ambassador to the Czech Republic when asked what else she wanted to do with her life. However, to the dismay of several audience members who yelled their support, the highest American political office does not interest her.

“You don’t want me for President,” Goldberg said.

At the end of her performance, Goldberg was asked questions by selected students. One student inquired about the nature of being a black woman in Hollywood, prompting her to discuss the prevalence of racial slurs in modern culture.

“I want you to take all these words meant to hurt people and change them into the joke that they are,” Goldberg said. “You have to be smarter than me in order to stop me in my track, not just call me a word.”

The prevalence of anonymous messages on social media also prompted Goldberg to advise the younger generation on the undesirable effects of being online.

“Everyone has an opinion on social media, but at the end of the day it doesn’t change anything,” Goldberg said. “Just because they call you a duck doesn’t mean you are a duck.”

While Goldberg often stressed her older age, her comments seemed to make an impact on the younger audience members.

“It was such a privilege to have Whoopi here. She was hysterical, as well as incredibly inspirational with great insight on the importance of individuality,” sophomore Kathryn Deaton said.

When asked what advice she would give her younger self, Whoopi couldn’t form a concrete answer, but her response showed the wisdom she has developed through her years of faults and missteps.

“You’re going to have to make your mistakes and I can’t help you. Even if I told you what was coming, you wouldn’t believe it. Be present everyday. Be here, be now,” Goldberg said.

With wise words like these that contrast from the funny persona she usually broadcasts, some audience members were impressed by her realness and sincerity.

“She completely put herself out there and didn’t care about what anyone thought. I think something like that is great because people take themselves so seriously these days. Whoopi stressed individuality by telling us and showing us her individual self,” first-year Taylor Washing said.

At the very end of her performance, Colgate’s Athletic Director, Vicky Chun, came on stage to present Whoopi with a personalized Colgate hockey jersey, embroidered with a large number 13 to represent the University, as well as Whoopi’s birthday and the number of Emmys for which she has been nominated.