Jerry Seinfeld Opens Web Archive, but Don't Ask Him to Watch 'Seinfeld'
By Nicki Gostin Posted May 6th 2011 09:35AM
Jerry Seinfeld has been a stand-up comic for over three decades and of course co-creator and star of arguably the greatest sitcom of all time. And today he's debuting his very own website called, you guessed it, JerrySeinfeld.com. It will house hundreds of clips that include the 57-year-old's first network appearance on 'The Tonight Show' in 1981 up to the present day. He told us that a big impetus behind the site was his ten-year-old daughter, "she loves humor. She's listening to a lot of comedy albums on her iPod and so I thought, well there's no comedy albums so how do I keep this stuff out there?" Only three clips a day will be introduced and Seinfeld purposefully chose the spartan look of the website. PopEater was lucky enough to talk to the comic genius and have him make fun of us! It was a sheer delight. Some of our takeaways from the chat: He actually wants to get old ("I don't have that Woody Allen fear of mortality"), regular, non-comedians (like this "dickhead" writer) annoy him and -- hello! -- he can't watch himself on 'Seinfeld.'
"I don't really, in fact I don't at all," he says of watching his show. "I think because as much as I enjoy the humor of it, it kind of reminds me of how hard it was to do. I can't seem to get that part out of my head and just enjoy the show, but I'm working on it because I would like to watch them more. When I watch them, I see my face and I see how I was struggling."
Thank you. What did I do?
Well, you started your own website.
Yeah how about that? You know I can't tell you how many different ideas I started and stopped and changed. I've been really doing this for about three years until I finally hit on this thing that I thought was the right thing to do.
Inaugural Clip on JerrySeinfeld.com: His First Appearance on 'The Tonight Show'So it's three clips a day. At a certain point won't you run out?
Uh absolutely. I think on the third day I'm out.
Have you worked out when you'll run out of material?
No (laughs), that's the funny part of it. I haven't figured out what I'm going to do when I run out. I'm going to have to assume that people don't watch the 11 o'clock news every night and that's why Chuck Scarborough is still there after 40 years.
Do you choose clips where you bomb?
I wouldn't say bomb, there are things on there ... it's very personal and that's what I thought it should be because if you like somebody and I'm going to assume someone going to this site is interested in what I do, one thing that you don't get sometimes from people is I wonder what part of their work they like so I thought that would be interesting and there are jokes that didn't play well but I love them so I put those on there so this is my favorite stuff, it might not be yours. That's the nature of all comedy, comedy is extremely personal, you can love a comedian and he's still going to have five jokes that you absolutely revile.
Give me an example.
I did this bit how you can't win an argument with someone smoking a cigarette because the cigarette becomes your point of view to them and then they just throw it down and put it out. So I would act out somebody smoking a cigarette and then stubbing out the cigarette. It was silly, it was actually not in my act very long, in the early 80's and I thought it was funny so I put it in there.
You say the three clips a day is your portion control. I actually see lack of portion control as the downfall of Western society.
That's right, it's not really that sophisticated an observation. If you look around you can see too much is pretty much the whole problem.
I see the cupcake size at Crumbs (popular bakery in NYC) as a marker in our decline.
There you have it, absolutely. What are they telling us? I love Burger King thing, (where they let the customer decide how many meat patties go in the burger) it's like we give up! We don't even know how much you need anymore. You seem to want an infinite amount and people do. It's like a kid with candy. You don't ask a kid how much candy they want. And we're all kids.
Once you're an adult you're just a kid with money.
No advertising on the site. You're not making any money out of it.
No, it's really honestly a valentine to this profession, for people who are fans of it and honestly I'm very into the young people who are very interested in it and I'm sure never saw the Merv Griffin I did in '83 that had two great jokes in it. So here's a place where you can see it. I tried hard to make it an uncluttered kind of experience.
Not a lot of bells and whistles.
There's zero. I hate people begging me for my attention and trying to sell me and entertain me and delight me and surprise me, that's what makes the internet so annoying. I did my best to uninternet it. You know my literal metaphor was one of those little galleries in Chelsea, there's just five paintings in there, that's the kind of place I like to go to.
So you don't go to the Museum of Modern Art?
I can't take it all in! No! I don't know why they think we have an infinite capacity to absorb.
Will you be adding new material?
I want to figure out a fun way to shoot it, maybe in small clubs and obviously anything I do on TV is going on there but it's always going to be be edited. Even the bits themselves I edited.
Well I don't tell her what I'm writing down. I'm not that dumb to say,''Boy that was a really dumb thing you just did. I'm going to tell everybody about it.'
Has she ever heard a joke a few weeks later and said, 'Hey wait a second.'
Uh yes but half the jokes that I ascribe to her I made up. like I do this whole bit about tone of voice and how my wife is constantly asking me to adjust my tone, my wife has never said that to me but I've heard other wives do that. It's funnier if I say it's her and she understands our apartment wouldn't be as nice if I didn't continue to do this.
If she's ever annoyed have you said, 'Do you like the fifth bedroom in our apartment?'
(Laughs) That's a good thing to say. It's the comedy wife thing, every comedian's wife has to get used to it.
Have you been watching the clips of you over the years and started thinking, oh my God I'm going to be dead soon.
Yeah but to me and to most comedians, we don't really care. I certainly don't have that Woody Allen fear of mortality. I don't care. I'm 57, I can't wait to be 60. I was so tired of 56, I just had a birthday. It's a different life view when you're a comedian. Everything's a joke, everything's stupid, everything's fake, everything's phony. Somebody in an interview asked me what I was looking forward to and I said, 'I'm looking forward to slowly withering.' And just watching the audience that come to see me shrink until it's down to the few people I started out with. That's what I'm looking forward to. I don't care.
You have three kids. I know you love them but isn't it amazing how irritating kids are?
I don't differentiate between the loving and the irritating. My wife does, when they're being really obnoxious and annoying, I enjoy it just as much. I know I was irritating as a kid. My kids use my cynical attitude on me. They go, 'Really? (pause) You think that's funny?' I think it's funny.
You still do heaps of stand-up.
Yeah that's all I do.
So you're not sick of all the travel and terrible hotels. Oh I guess you don't have to stay in terrible places anymore, you can just fly right back.
You are so right. That's a very, very astute observation.
Now I feel about two inches tall! Was that the best thing about becoming successful?
Yeah absolutely that's it. I can go to places and it's very enjoyable and I don't have to stay long. Sometimes people say, 'Why'd you come to Wichita,' the audience members will yell at me and I say, 'I'm only here for tonight, you've chosen to spend your entire life here, shouldn't I be asking you, why Wichita?'
Do you ever watch 'Seinfeld?'
I don't really, in fact I don't at all. I think because as much as I enjoy the humor of it, it kind of reminds me of how hard it was to do. I can't seem to get that part out of my head and just enjoy the show but I'm working on it because I would like to watch them more. When I watch them I see my face and I see how I was struggling.
Aww that's a bit sad.
Yes it's very sad. (Laughs).
You're best friends with a lot of comedians. Do regular people annoy you?
Yes. I'll tell you why, because I made that joke before, you know that's a very astute observation that I travel better than people who are less well off and that made you feel bad. See, no comedian would feel bad, they enjoy being made fun of because we don't care. You should of said, 'That's funny.'
It was. You know what it is? I didn't want you to think I'm a dickhead.
But I think that anyway.
That's perfect! Now that's funny.
You know what's really funny. A woman calling herself a dickhead. That's funny.
Ha! Please tell your wife I make her mac and cheese recipe all the time.
Oh I will, I definitely will.
More Q&As From Nicki Gostin: Rob Lowe, Robert Redford, Dick Van Dyke and Raquel Welch
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