Every writer should watch the Jerry Seinfeld documentary, The Comedian. The film takes place after Jerry’s hit show Seinfeld went off the air. Jerry decides to retire all his old material and create a new stand up routine. The documentary though isn’t just about Seinfeld but also shows the rise of an up and comer Orny Adams who was on the verge of breaking big. The film shows Jerry writing jokes, going to seedy comedy clubs, being heckled, forgetting punch lines. Why does he do this? Because he loves his craft. Meanwhile Orny is bitching and complaining about the late nights, the venues and the audiences. Needless to say you have probably never heard of Orny but Jerry Seinfeld that magnificent bastard is still touring, has another hit show, with Comedians in Cars getting Coffee, and 2 more specials on Netflix.
Does Jerry need money. He is currently worth half a billion dollars!
So Friday night, I sat two rows from the stage, watching Jerry do what he loves and it showed. He stumbled over one joke but smoothly recovered. Jerry’s observational comedy and “clean” humor is a joy to behold. He told the audience that he is 65 yrs old. Like a lot of creative folks he looks decades younger. Jerry knows the secret is to do what you love, and learn as much about your craft as possible. And the other thing that Orny hadn’t done was to “embrace the life” of a comedian and what that means: late nights, low pay, heckled, poor food choices, always on the cusp of stardom.
You believe Jerry when he says he wouldn’t be doing anything else.
Jerry’s work ethos:
- Love what you do
- Do the work
- Ply your craft where ever you can.
- Embrace the life.
Great lessons for any writer.
***Before the show started, I was taking a few notes for this blog. The person beside me asked me if I was a writer. I lowered my voice an octave and said, “yes, I am.” To be recognized for what you are is awesome. Am I now releasing writer pheromones?
We spent 15 minutes talking about books and the craft.
This was a most excellent evening of celebrating the writer’s life.