Jerome Allen "Jerry" Seinfeld is an American comedian, actor, writer, and television/film producer, best known for playing a semi-fictional version of himself in the sitcom Seinfeld, which he co-created and co-wrote with Larry David. For the show's final two seasons, they were co-executive producers. In his first major foray back into the media since the finale of Seinfeld, he co-wrote and co-produced the 2007 film Bee Movie, also voicing the lead role of Barry B. Benson. In February 2010, Seinfeld premiered a reality TV series called The Marriage Ref on NBC. Seinfeld directed Colin Quinn in the Broadway show Long Story Short at the Helen Hayes Theater in New York which ran until January 8, 2011. More recently, Seinfeld has been the creator and host of the web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Seinfeld is known for specializing in observational humor, often focusing on personal relationships and uncomfortable social obligations. In 2005, Comedy Central ranked Jerry Seinfeld 12th out of 100 as the greatest comedians of all time in its five-part special The 100 Greatest Standups of All Time.
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I did one of these six months ago, and enjoyed the dialogue so much, I thought we’d do it again.
Last week, we finished our fourth season of my web series called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and today we’re launching a between-the-seasons confection we’re calling Single Shots. It’s mini-episodes with multiple guests around a single topic. We’ll do one each week until we come back for Season 5 in the Fall.
We just loaded the first one, called ‘Donuts’ onto the site (http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/). It’s about two minutes long, and features Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Alec Baldwin and Brian Regan.
I'm in Long Island, and as she did last time, Victoria with reddit is facilitating.
Ok, I’m ready. Go ahead. Ask me anything.
Edit: Okay, gang, that's 101 questions answered. I beat my previous record by one. And let's see if anyone can top it. If they do, I'll come back. And check out Donuts - who doesn't like donuts? http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/
Jerry, any word on Seinfeld coming to Netflix?
Can you please convince Larry to let it happen?
There are so many people who still have not experienced Seinfeld first hand and having it available through Netflix will surely be the easiest way.
Edit: Jerry calls me smart and progressive and I get gold? Best day everrrrrrr. Thanks gold giver.
You are a very smart and progressive person. These conversations are presently taking place.
Hello Jerry, I noticed You are left handed But in "The Understudy" episode You threw with your right hand. Ambidextrous?
I am ambidextrous! Good observation.
Hey Mr. Seinfeld!
Since you've become wealthy, do you ever think up any "What's the deal with" jokes that wouldn't translate well to the mainstream audience?
For example, what's the deal with dry sump lubrication in the Porche Carrera GT? If it's dry, how can it lubricate?
Car mechanic humor doesn't do too well. I try and avoid car mechanic humor. I recommend you do the same.
How did you react when you found out Steven Spielberg would watch episodes of Seinfeld to cheer himself up after getting depressed while filming Schindler’s List?
That was really one of the great moments in the history of the show for us when we heard that. We really felt like we were doing something worthwhile.
My girlfriend thinks How I met your Mother is better than Seinfield. Where should I look for another girlfriend?
See if she's got a roommate.
First of all, thank you for providing me a lifetime of entertainment.
In Seinfeld, I’ve noticed the hat behind your computer randomly switches from Mets to Yankees. I know you are a huge Mets fan so I’ve always wondered the reason for this.
PS any chance of you joining Keith in the booth for another Mets broadcast soon?
Because Larry David was a Yankees fan, so we kind of would go back & forth.
I'd like to try to go in once a season, yes, so I definitely will be making plans to do that.
What is the best part about being Jerry Seinfeld??
Probably when I open my eyes in the morning, and I go "Oh my god, I'm Jerry Seinfeld! Let's get out of bed and enjoy this!"
You should really get a waterproof Superman costume. You could wear it while surfing, and that would be perfect.
It's way too early in the day to be drinking.
hello jerry, was Ricky Gervais genuinely scared/scarred when he was on Comedian in Cars Getting Coffee?
A lot of people ask this. And yes, he was absolutely genuinely terrified by that car. Check it out - I took him for a drive in an Austin Healey 3000, which is a very unsafe old car, and he did not like it. It was one of my first episodes but it's a classic, because he kept asking me - and the more scared he got, the more it made me laugh, and it's a good one. http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/ricky-gervais-mad-man-in-a-death-machine
I remember reading Seinlanguage with tears running down my face from laughing so hard. Any chance that you'll write another book?
No. Books take a long time, and I don't get to hear the laughs.
Did you ever learn to surf?
In your adulthood, have you bought a superior Superman costume to the one that you wore on Halloween as a child?
I did learn to surf in 1999 in Hawaii, and considered chucking my entire life to just surf. And I sometimes think I should have grabbed that opportunity, because I knew it was my only chance I was ever going to get - I was single, I had just finished the show, but I didn't do it.
No, I never got a better one.
Who is your dream guest for Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (living or dead)?
Hm. This is a good question. Well, I guess it would have to be George Carlin, since he was one of the most iconic comedians and I did have a relationship with him and we would have had a great time.
Any interesting experiences with fans that you'd like to share?
Well, sometimes I try and help people with their, um, etiquette with strangers. You always have to approach a stranger as a stranger, even though you may have seen that person many times on TV, they're still strangers. So you know, I sometimes will try and help people in their approach - you can't walk up to someone that you know and act like they know you. The TV only works one way. You can't just yell at me and expect me to respond positively. You have to introduce yourself first. You can't just yell "HEY JERRY, C'MERE!" and expect that to work.
Hi Jerry! What is your most memorable scene from Seinfeld that had to be re-shot the most because everybody kept laughing?
When Frank Costanza, George's father, said to Elaine "Do you want a piece of me?" when he thought that she wanted to have a fistfight. That one, we had to do over and over because nobody could stop laughing. Every time Jerry Stiller would say "Do you want a piece of me?" we had to stop.
Do you have any secret talents?
HAHA! HA. HA.
I have many secret talents. Let's see, what would be one I could tell you about?
I'm very good at streamlining a series of activities so that everything gets done in the amount of time that I have. I am very good with the clock. Like if I have a lot of stuff to do and a limited amount of time, I'm very good at figuring it all out. I'm very efficient in everything that i do, I never waste time so that I have more time to waste.
I recently realized that if we don't have milk in our fridge in the morning, on a scale of 1-10, my day only has the potential of reaching a 6. What's that one thing for you that curbs how well your day can go?
The quality of the coffee. I didn't really used to drink coffee in the 90s, whenever we would sit in the coffee shop on the show I wouldn't drink coffee, they would put coffee in the cup so it looked like I was drinking it, but I wouldn't drink it. I don't know what changed. But I got into it, in the 90s and I finally figured out why everybody was interested in it, and then I became obsessed with it, and then I did a show about it. There's just - as Duke Ellington famously said - "there's only two kinds of music, good and bad," and it's the same with coffee.
Do you know about the Seinfeld : The Purge show happening at the UCB Theatre in Los Angeles?
It's an episode of Seinfeld that takes place during the movie the Purge.
I did hear about that! Did anybody see it? Was it funny?
Do you have a rule of thumb for where the second button on a shirt should be when you’re shopping?
Yes, it shouldn't pull the fabric, and it shouldn't show, you know, more than a certain amount of breastbone. It is a tricky button.
I heard Cal Ripken Jr. was also very good at this. He had streamlined everything in his life from dropping off and picking up his kids to making popcorn with the least amount of un-popped kernels without burning it. It drove his wife a bit batty.
Yeah, I remember reading about a lot of baseball players, Wade Boggs, I think a lot of athletes have very careful preparation routines that they do before a game. And all comedians are kind of the same, there are a lot of similarities actually between comedy and baseball. It's something you can do every day, and you have a routine that you need to do to get you in the right mental place to do it.
If Seinfeld was still on the air today, what's a 2014 social faux pas you'd like to exploit? How would you do it?
I kind of like it when a little misspelling in a text causes a big problem, like when someone types "homo" instead of "home" and I like little problems like that.
Two of my dreams are to be accosted by Larry David on the street and to eat cereal with you. Which is more likely to happen?
Neither, I think your life will go on as it's been and you will never reach these peaks. My reddit associate suggests I throw you a bone. I think there's a possibility of that happening. If I had a bone, and I saw you, I would throw it at you. A literal bone, yeah, I would have to be walking down the street holding a bone.
When was the first moment you realized comedy was your passion?
That's a good question. Probably when I was a little kid in like 7th or 8th grade, and I was watching Rowan & Martin's Laugh In, and I started watching it with a pad & pen to write down the jokes that I liked. And then I would memorize them to do in school the next day. That's when I knew I was little more into it than most people.
What is the worst part about being Jerry Seinfeld?
The worst part...I dunno, probably the worst part of being anybody, it doesn't last forever.
Salsa is now the #1 condiment in America. Do you know why?
No, I don't know why. And I've had some good salsa. But I really don't think it beats ketchup. People probably like it because they can see the tomatoes in it? Whereas with ketchup, you have no idea where this came from.
Hey Jerry, life time fan.
If you could meet yourself before all of this started and give yourself some advice about the business and general lifestyle that you now have,
What would it be?
Do you ever just wake up in the morning overwhelmed by where you are today?
I would say the advice I would give myself, or any young person, would be "Keep your head up in failure, and your head down in success."
What do you think would surprise the average person about being famous?
That's a good question. I don't know if the average person would like it. I really like it. I think it might surprise them that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. I think most people think of it as a problem, but it's all in how you look at it. But I do think that's the case, you get a lot more than it costs you in privacy invasion or whatever. I think people know a lot about being famous these days. When I first became well-known in the '90s, the world, the celebrity world was not as explored as it is now. Now you can really see these people and how they live, and so I don't know how much would be surprising. I'll tell you what: there's a lot of vulnerability to it. You are much more vulnerable to certain things, along with these advantages there are also some great vulnerabilities.
Since I'm seeing many food related questions (not to mention we are right in the middle of sweet corn season) I'll add mine: Do you eat your corn on the cob like a typewriter or a piano roll?
That's funny. I like the typewriter style. And I actually have one of those little chrome handles to reset it back to the margin as I eat.
Hi Jerry, what was the lowest point of your career? Physical, emotional, mental, financial...?
Oh. Well, there were a couple of times when I definitely thought that everything had completely come to a halt. At one point, in the early 80s, I got a part on a sitcom called Benson. And I was on the show for 3 episodes, and then I got fired. And I thought that would be the only break I was ever going to get. It was just a youthful lack of perspective. But at the time, I thought that was it. But it really ended up making me really get into being a much better standup comedian so that I wouldn't be dependent on other people. It ended up being a good thing. The best things in my life have been the bad things that taught me stuff.
What was it that made you laugh the hardest that you can remember?
I think when I was about 9 or 10, and we started learning how to make human gas sounds. Those were some pretty big laughs.
But Larry and I used to have gigantic laughs writing the show, and I remember one of the first times - when Newman had to take the stand in a courtroom scene, and I believe Kramer cross-examines him, we laughed pretty hard writing that. And I also remember writing the last speech of the marine biologist, where George tells the story of finding the golf ball in the blowhole of the whale. That was a really, really long hard laugh when we wrote that.
Seinfeld, what's the best pickup line I can use that's guaranteed to work?
"Do you come here often?"
That was a joke.
How about one of George's lines from The Opposite? "I'm unemployed, and I live at home with my parents."
What's the WORST advice you hear being given to aspiring comedians?
Oh. The worst advice is, you know, you have to do more to promote yourself. That's the worst advice. The best advice is to do your work, and you won't have to worry about anything else.
How can I turn off my internal Jerry? Every time I get annoyed about something your voice starts up in my head, "What's the deal with that?"
I am permanently outraged at the moment, so all help would be appreciated
Well, I would suggest following up "What's the deal with that" with "I mean, really, how is this possible? You have GOT to be kidding me." See if that makes you feel any better!
If you had to choose to live with your fictional parents from Seinfeld or with George's, who would you choose?
I would pick my own fictional parents from the TV series. They were a little less crazy. But George's parents were more fun to have on the show. They were really funny.
Hi Jerry, what's the best way to watch an episode of Seinfeld? What should I be drinking, eating, and doing?
Haha! Well you should always eat or drink whatever they're eating or drinking on the show, so pause it when they get to a thing where they are eating or drinking something, and then go out and get that thing if you don't have it.
Except for Kramer with the bad peach.
Or maybe it was a grapefruit? I think it was a bad piece of grapefruit section. He bit it and then spit it out at the same time. I still have no idea how he drank that beer and puffed that cigarette at the same time. I saw it the other day at some kind of a clip thing, and I don't think he has ever gotten the proper appreciation for that amazing trick.
Which 5 artists would you choose for your ideal music festival?
My ideal music festival, hmm, okay. Sinatra, Beatles, Steely Dan, Carol King, Bruce Springsteen.
You're awesome. How does it feel to know that "seinfeld" is being shown globally?
It's very nice. It really is funny, it's very easy for me to remember that the show was very unsuccessful for a number of years, the first 4 years, and I remember thinking "I don't know why people don't seem to like this, it seems so funny to me." But I never thought it was going to be a big success. But it worked out.
Do you have a "lucky charm", or a keepsake item that you feel makes your day better by having it with you?
Millions. I have millions of things like that. Someone once gave me a Superman insignia keychain that I clipped onto my backpack, I know I am going to lose it someday and I will be devastated, because I just love it.