Jerry Seinfeld has enjoyed enormous success in his life. I have tried to think of other men named “Jerry” who have had similar fortune, and after Lewis and Lee Lewis, come up short. Help me out. Nicknames don’t work on serious people so well, even as friends knew him as Gerry Ford, and not Gerald. He was “Johnny ” Carson, not John.
I like Seinfeld, and do not envy him one dollar of his well-deserved popularity. Comics have a reputation of being angry. He is not angry at us. He is just annoyed. There’s a difference.
I wish him continued success, and also say this knowing he will never make another movie. He knows better, and learns sometimes the hard way. He works hard at his craft, even today trying out his material in comedy clubs to see what works and what does not. He never phones it in, never expects that people will laugh merely because he is Seinfeld. Each joke is finely crafted, each word in place, not to be substituted for another.
We were planning a trip to France, and I needed some books to see me through, and bought a few. One was Is This Anything, which is a compilation of Seinfeld’s standup comedy over the decades. At first I did not care for it, as I much preferred to hear Seinfeld speak the words. But I got over that. I did my usual, placing 3M flags on things I wanted to revisit. What I noticed was that that flags were more numerous towards the last half of the book. He was getting better, or maybe I was developing a better sense of him. For whatever reason, I thought all of his material was so original that I want to share some of it here. The man is a treasure.
Here are just a few that made me laugh out loud as I read. Hear his voice on stage to fully appreciate them:
Love my team. Even though we know, of course, they’re not really teams. We block that out. We have to. Players go to different teams. Teams move from city to city. The uniform is the only constant. Why am I yelling “Go New York, Go!” at a guy from East Illinois that’ll be playing in Phoenix next season? That’s sports. The uniform is the only constant. We just want our clothes to beat the clothes from the other city. We’re rooting for laundry.
Women have different ways of adjusting men’s proximity. The pocketbook is probably their main distance controlling unit. All of the equipment in there is designed to keep men within a certain optimal range. If they are too far away, they’re like “Too far. More makeup, eye colors, perfumes, bring them in.” But if they get too close, it’s “Oh, too close – mace, rape whistles. Keys between fingers. Back up dude.”
The tuxedo is also the Universal Male Symbol for somebody trying to pull a fast one. Think of where you see the tuxedo … the groom wears it to project an image of sophisticated refinement. He is hoping nobody at the wedding will notice the head popping out of the top of the suit belongs to the same degenerate, ill-mannered ignoramus everyone there has known for years.
You have a girlfriend? That’s Wiffle ball, my friend. You’re playing Paintball War. I’m in Afghanistan with real loaded weapons. Married guys play with full clips and live rounds. “This is not a drill.” Single guy is sitting on a merry-go-round, blowing on a pinwheel. I’m driving a truckful of nitro down a dirt road.
I go to these kids’ parties … the birthday clown always corners me and wants to talk to me about his comedy career. I don’t know what to tell him. “Listen dude, I don’t know how to get from these parties to having your own show on TV. I just went from having my own show on TV to these parties myself. I don’t know how to do it in reverse.
My wife has been bringing our youngest one in the bed every night at 3 o’clock in the morning. This is another beautiful experience. It’s like sleeping next to a laundry bag that has a live goat tied up inside.
A man wants the same thing from a woman that he wants from his underwear. Certain amount of support and a certain amount of freedom.
I was there at birth. All 3. Obviously. the most dramatic human life moment. Any time 2 people walk into a room and 3 come out – a major event took place in that room. At the end of life: We go back basically into the same room. Same bed. Same stuff around. And again, a different number of people coming out that went in. But that is the Human Being Business. We need to turn over the inventory. Fresh products. Keep the supply chain moving. We got to get them in. We got to get them out. The hospital is: Rest. Cleanliness. And if it doesn’t work out, they help get you to the next place. When you walk in the sign says “Hospital,” but it could also be: Bed, Bath and Beyond.