In his first ever commencement address, comedian Lewis Black urged UC San Diego graduates Saturday to relish and cultivate a sense of humor, which he called “your life preserver in what could definitely be a veil of tears.”

Humor, he told 1,200 graduates of Thurgood Marshall College, “will keep you sane in the midst of the madness you’ll encounter … every day of your life.”

Black was introduced by Provost Allan Havis, a friend and classmate of Black 35 years ago at Yale—where the comic earned a master of fine arts degree.

“Seriously, you’re the first school to have asked me” to speak at graduation, said Black, 64, clearly touched despite his jokes about it. “It is an honor that I will not forget.”

Read the whole story at La Jolla Patch