Seinfeld On Stern

“Pop-Tarts…they can’t go stale because they were never fresh!”

Long form entertainment, it’s the wave of the future.

Huh? Don’t we live in the short attention span era?

WRONG! Ignore everything said by anybody who proffers this theory. Ever see a kid play video games? You can’t tear him away. The truth is we all want to dig deeper, and he who realizes this will own the future.

Huh? Aren’t you the wanker who tells musicians to stop making albums?

“A small amount of too much spoils the whole thing.”

That’s why Jerry didn’t do another season of “Seinfeld.” He was worried about compromising the white hot relationship between the show and its fans. Once it’s not quite as good, it’s awful. Kind of like a standup…he’s genius if he kills for an hour ten, after an hour and a half, it’s way too much, you’re looking at your watch, you’re ready to go home. Come on, you’ve had this feeling at the gig. You can’t believe you’re there, that they’re playing your song! And it’s not that you don’t want to hear any more, but that special feeling…it’s evaporating.

But first you need an audience. That’s your goal. And if you think you gain an audience through an album, you’re clueless about relationships. Relationships are fostered on specialness, then you bring on the quantity.

I watched Seinfeld’s show from its inception, because I was aware of him from late night TV, with his routine about the supermarket and women…that’s why they call it the “checkout” line. But despite being on Johnny Carson for nine years, NBC never offered him a gig. It was his manager, George Shapiro, who started the conversation. Shapiro sent a one sentence letter to the NBC brass, saying he saw Jerry on NBC in the future.

Huh. I was just discussing this last night. Trink said you need to put yourself out there, you need a plan…I always wait for things to come to me. Maybe Trink’s right.

And Jerry takes the meeting and doesn’t pitch an idea. He hasn’t got one. But then he tells the story to Larry David, they go to a restaurant, goof on some people, and Larry says…THIS IS THE SHOW!

And the rest is both TV and comedy history.

And recently, Jerry’s bugged me. He’s so self-satisfied.

But listening to him on Stern I became aware…that’s who Jerry is! It isn’t because he had a hit TV show and made millions, he was the same damn guy before he made it. That’s what long form does…give you insight.

Yup, I sat in my car in the eighty degree heat for over an hour, parked, I couldn’t turn Seinfeld off.

And I’m not saying you’ll be just as fascinated, but I am saying that we’ve got unlimited time for that which interests us.

And Jerry kept stressing that Stern’s show is all about honesty, so he kept telling the real story. How he really didn’t put that much time in before he made it, only four years. How he saw no need to put women and blacks on “Seinfeld,” but after ten episodes Colin Quinn told him he was gonna get in trouble for it, and he did.

Howard didn’t ask Jerry about meeting his wife right after her honeymoon, but that’s not to say the questions were softballs. But the more you heard Jerry speak, the more you liked him. Because first and foremost he’s a comedian.

That’s the problem with “artists” today. They want fame, they want riches, but they don’t want to be the thing that got them there. They want to go to the Lakers game, but they don’t want to rehearse.

Yes, Jerry is working all the time.

No, he cannot go to a restaurant and turn it off. He’s always looking for what’s funny. Thank god his wife is amenable to that. You think you want to marry a celebrity? Be ready to have little one on one time with your beloved, and when they’re there, they still might be checked out.

Kind of like Seinfeld’s father. His mother married him because he was the life of the party. But once he got home…he could be morose and depressed.

Which is what Jerry said about life… You want to find the gig you can tolerate. Yup, that’s where you end up, with the torture you can handle. It ain’t fun. Oh, sometimes it is. But really, it’s work!

That’s what wannabes don’t understand. That’s why I respect people who graduate from college. Not because they learn anything there, but because they endured it! Everything I learned in college was outside the classroom. I spent hours reading “Rolling Stone” and “Fusion” and “Crawdaddy” and so many magazines you’ve never heard the name of. But I knew what the game was, I played it, stretching its limits, of course, I could tell you stories, and it’s like I survived boot camp, or a war, it informs who I am.

But the youngsters and the dropouts… They’ve got the will, but no history. The army breaks you down, turns you into someone who can be counted on… That’s what I want, someone I can count on!

I don’t want the most beautiful wife.

And I don’t want the most loquacious friend.

First and foremost I want people I can count on. Who will be there. Because life is no picnic, I want to be lifted up when I’m worn out and pushed forward when I don’t want to play anymore. It takes a special kind of person to do this, look for them.

And I’m interested in process. Howard gets that from musicians too, but you don’t see it anywhere else. Based on the music press, you’d think songs are delivered instantaneously, by God. The truth is many are written by committee, there’s no there there, whereas Jerry said he wouldn’t want to use anybody else’s jokes, the thrill is in working it out yourself.

In other words, most of the act no one ever sees. If you’re only interested in the fame, good luck! It ain’t never gonna work for you.

And Jerry knows who he is. He says he’s not as good as Carlin or Pryor, then again, he knows how great his TV show was, he’s loath to do another one, he knows it could never be as good.

But Jerry’s not about sitcoms or movies, he’s about being a comedian. He won’t go on Fallon and only do the couch, he’s got to perform, he’s got to do standup, that’s who he IS!

P.S. It was the human things that really touched me…the uncomfortableness of going to parties. Jerry’s found out that people love to talk about themselves, and if you listen long enough, everybody has an interesting story to tell. But really, he’d rather talk with comedians. I feel exactly the same way, the discomfort, the listening and the desire at the end…to have been somewhere else!

Howard Stern Interviews Jerry Seinfeld 06/26/13

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