Forty first installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.
Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.
Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.
As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.
I happen to think that the most difficult thing in the world of writing is writing funny stuff. I for one would never attempt such a thing. It does require a special sensibility, to me a rather special gift. If you doubt that, just think: how many really funny sitcoms you watched your whole life? It’s not that many, I can assure you.
And among the few that were really funny, I dare to say there’s one who surpassed them all. I mean, despite my age, I’m a huge Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie fan, but even those didn’t surpass Seinfeld, probably the most successful sitcom of all time. Seinfeld was the brainchild of Larry David (already enshrined in the Hall Of Idols) and Jerry Seinfeld.
Jerry Allen Seinfeld was born April 29, 1954 in Brooklyn (NY). He grew up in Massapequa, New York and later graduated from Queen College, City University of New York with a degree in communications and theater.
Seinfeld start his career in college productions, but quickly develop a liking to stand-up comedy. One day at an open microphone night at New York’s Catch a Rising Star comedy club, he received an invitation to participate on Rodney Dangerfield HBO Special. That led him to a small role on the TV Series Benson and later an invitation to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson impressing the host and leading to other appearances on this show and others, like Late Show with David Letterman.
According to Seinfeld he learned how to do comedy watching TV and radio personality Jean Sheperd: “He really formed my entire comedic sensibility”.
Well, I’m really not familiar with Sheperd’s work but I’m no doubt in saying that what Jerry created far surpassed his mentor.
Seinfeld was created by Jerry and Larry David and ran on TV from July 5, 1989 to May 14, 1998. It was, from the fourth season on, the most famous show on American television.
It would be necessary about ten posts to talk about all the great things in Seinfeld. Starting with the brilliant characters of Jerry portraying himself and George Costanza (Jason Alexander) portraying a fictionalized version of Larry David; but how about the other characters? Elaine, Kramer, Mr. Peterman, the Soup-Nazi, the Bubble-Boy, Jerry’s parents, George’s parents (an infernal couple)… the list is endless. Larry David even portrays former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner (always appearing with his backs to the camera).
The humor was so sophisticated and yet so simple. That’s such a hard thing to accomplish. The critics were sharp, but done with elegance. For example in that episode where Jerry gives an Elaine friend a cigar store Indian. The woman gets mad and throws him out of her house. Elaine explains to him that the girl’s parents are Native Americans and asks him: “Aren’t you a Jew?” and he replies “Yes, but I don’t want to kill someone if he asks me where the synagogue is.” Sheer genius.
And the settings were also simple: only some apartments and the famous restaurant. There was nothing like Seinfeld and never will be.
And by the glimpses we get of his stand-up routine during the episodes, his shows must be hilarious as well.
Nowadays Jerry is still making his shows and has a web series called Comedians in Car Getting Coffee.
Jerry Seinfeld is one of the very few people in the world that really deserves to be zillionaire. He made all of us much happy and cheerful many times.
For all that, Jerry, maybe there’s no soup for you, but there’s definitely a place in the Hall of Idols.
Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal” winner of the NABE Pinnacle Awards 2014 Fall edition.
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