“A-ha” moment for Armando

Thursday 13 June 2024

Award-winning writer and satirist Armando Iannucci spoke to new graduates about his impostor syndrome after receiving an Honorary Degree today (Thursday 13 June) from the University of St Andrews.

Armando, who was awarded a Doctor of Letters for his profound impact on stage, screen and public discourse, thanked the University, “…for thinking that a lifetime of writing jokes is worthy of this honour, because I still carry to this day a kind of imposter syndrome that everyone else is doing work and I’m kind of enjoying myself and there has still been a mistake and because of my initials the University wanted to be the first institution to honour Artificial Intelligence.”

The writer of classic TV programmes The Thick Of It, Veep and co-creator of Alan Partridge shared his reflections on attending university, saying that the new graduates would take away, “…a mixture of what you have learned as a subject but also what you have learned about yourself. And every one of you will take away one thing from this University, one thing that is very special to you, a memory. It could be a very inspiring lecture, or it could be something you skipped a lecture to do, like archery…the totality of it is what makes us who we are when we leave university.”

Professor Stephen Gethins, Assistant Vice-Principal (International Strategy and External Relations) delivered the laureation, in which he highlighted Mr Iannucci’s “inclination to question both the nature and the peculiarities of our democratic functions”, which has marked much of Armando’s writing and comedy, earning him a reputation as one of the most important satirists of our time.

“Armando’s work has been hugely influential, enrichening our public discourse, shining a light on governance, informing the viewer, always whip-smart but never self-congratulatory, always entertaining and, above all, always funny,” Gethins added. “That he can make us think while making us laugh is, on its own, worthy of the highest honour.”

Armando ended with a final piece of advice for the graduates: “It may happen in five, ten years, fifteen years, it suddenly emerges as that’s the thing. That’s who I am. That identifies me. That’s what I want to do. So, I hope you carry that one memory with you,” and left the lectern with a famous quote from his Alan Partridge character “A-ha.”

Category Graduation

Related topics

Share this story