"I'll never understand why they cook on TV. I can't smell it. Can't eat it. Can't taste it. The end of the show they hold it up to the camera. "Well, here it is. You can't have any. Thanks for watching. Goodbye.""
After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.
We have a new episode of Comedians in Cars coming out with Jim Gaffigan, who I love, and in the episode I tell him about this joke I tried to do about, when you drop your dry cleaning off, you can go to any dry cleaner you want, but when you pick it up, you can only go to one. Which I always thought was very funny, but nobody gets it.
I don't do movies because I think generally the size of that content does not lend itself to great comedy; it lends itself to people saying, "Hey, I made a movie." To me, the funniest things are shorter, so I think TV series or comedians in cars, I think I have a better chance of making you laugh.
The sad truth is, people are only interested in themselves. So, if you just ask them what they are doing or what’s going on or how they feel, they generally go on for hours. I read in an article recently that you should ask people what's challenging them these days and that really sparks them. So ask them that...and then run!
Question: how do you organize and develop your material and various jokes? Do you have notebooks full of detailed notes and jokes, or do you just sketch them out and wing it on stage?
Answer: I believe in detailed notes and jokes, and also winging it onstage. But, not for your first open mic. For your first open mic, my advice to you would be to make sure you have what you're gonna do memorized, to the point that one of your friends can gently slap you across the face, and you'll still be able to get it out of your mouth.
I think the best Seinfeld episode idea I ever contributed was that George pretending to be a marine biologist would find Kramer's golf ball in the blowhole of the whale. Believe it or not, we were doing both of those stories without seeing any connection that Kramer was gonna hit golf balls at the beach, and George was gonna be pretending to be a marine biologist. And it was in the middle of the week that it suddenly hit me of a way to connect the two stories.
So, I think that's probably the best joke I ever thought of on the series. But, I love when people say "regift" or "giddyup", or "yadda yadda". The real and spectacular...I was a very big fan of the show.
Believe it or not, this is something I think about a lot. I have often wondered if there's a way to teach being funny or comedy, and George Stephanopoulos actually got me wound up enough at one point that we were going to contact, I think his name was Lee Bollinger, the president of Columbia, and we were gonna go in there, and I was going to teach a course on comedy. Because I know a lot about it, but I just don't know if it's teachable. I'm still wrestling with the idea if you can teach someone to be funny.
There's tons of those. Chaplain, George Burns, George Carlin, Joan Rivers...
Believe it or not, the idea has been explored to do some kind of CGI effect, using footage of dead comedians to get them in the car, and then we would write dialog around it. It was a total disaster, but you're not the first person to think of it!
Question: Jerry, I love the show, especially all the trips through the Hudson Valley and West Connecticut. What's your favorite drive through South NY or West Connecticut?
Answer: The best drive, of course, is the Taconic, other then that anything in Westchester off the main highway is pretty good. I just love driving honestly, I don't really care where I am.
That was the most fun I ever had. The coolest part of that episode, that you couldn't see, was the head of the secret service explaining to me what was going to happen if someone started shooting at us. What they would do to the president and where they were going to throw me in the back of a van. That was really exciting Bourne Identity stuff.
Larry David and I discovered that we were both obsessed with superman and admired him and also found him very funny at the same time, so that is why he came up a lot. Are you related to the hot dog Kobayashi in Coney Island?
When I was in first grade on the last day of school, Mrs. Stafford, our teacher, said, "I want to give out a special present today, to a kid in the class who has tried so hard to improve his handwriting." And she's going through this whole speech about this kid; I'm staring at this kid that I knew that she liked, and I just hated him, and I was getting more and more angry. And then at the end, she said it was me! The present was a Dr. Seuss book, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, that I have since thrown out. But I remember it was in purple cellophane wrapping, and I still consider it the greatest honor to have received that gift. So, that was my favorite book.