Ashton Kutcher brought more than his good looks to the stage to accept his Ultimate Choice Award at the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday night. In typical form, the 35-year-old star began with a joke.
"Oh wow. OK, let's be brutally honest. This is the old guy award. This is like the grandpa award," he quipped.
But then something changed. Kutcher's tone shifted as he confessed, "I feel like a fraud," before admitting, "My name is not actually Ashton. Ashton is my middle name. My first name is Chris... It got changed when I was 19 and I became an actor. But there were some really amazing things that I learned when I was Chris, and I wanted to share those things with you guys because I think it's helped me be here today."
He then seemed to mimic the famous Stanford commencement speech that Steve Jobs (whom Kutcher plays in the biopic, "Jobs") delivered in 2005, and rattled off a number of pieces of life advice that he hopes his young fans will follow. There are three, just like in Jobs's speech (though they're a bit less profound).
The first item on his list was about opportunity. "I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work. When I was 13 I had my first job with my dad carrying shingles up to the roof, and then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant, and then I got a job in a grocery store deli, and then I got a job in a factory sweeping Cheerios dust off the ground," he recalled. "And I've never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job I had was just a stepping stone to my next job. And I never quit my job until I had my next job, and so opportunities look a lot like work." The one thing he didn't quite connect for us, however, was exactly how he made the leap from sweeping a factory floor to breaking into modeling … but maybe that's not his point?
His second note was about "being sexy"... but not in the way you expect. "The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, and being thoughtful, and being generous," he mused before noting, "Everything else is crap … It's just things that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less, so don't buy it."
But it was during his third point that Kutcher truly channeled his hero — or tried to, at least. "Steve Jobs said when you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is, and that your life is to live your life inside the world and try not to get into too much trouble," he explained.
"But life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing, and that is that everything around us that we call life was made up by people that are no smarter than you. You can build your own life that other people can live in. So build a life. Don't live one; build one."
Throughout the entire speech, Kutcher's expression was (almost) painfully earnest. While we appreciate his sentiments, we have to wonder if he forgot that he was merely playing Steve Jobs, and hasn't actually become the late genius incarnate. But for his sanity and our own, we're hoping Ashton Chris has got it straight.
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