|2001||Jerry Seinfeld on Comedy|
|1998||I’m Telling You For The Last Time|
|2017||Jerry Before Seinfeld|
|2007||Jerry Seinfeld: The Comedian Award
Filmed at the 2005 Comedy Festival in Vegas
Documentary on Jerry Seinfeld
|1998||Jerry Seinfeld Live on Broadway: I'm Telling You for the Last Time|
|1990||The Second Annual Aspen Comedy Festival|
Most episodes, particularly in the early years, are framed by stand-up.
|1987||Jerry Seinfeld: Stand-Up Confidential|
|1986||Rodney Dangerfield: It's Not Easy Bein' Me|
|1981||The 6th Annual Young Comedians Special|
Through the late 1980’s Jerry Seinfeld quietly became one of the most dependable of the new “suit and tie” young comics, a group that included David Brenner, Jay Leno and Garry Shandling. Thin, pleasant, slightly wall-eyed, the clean-cut Seinfeld favored family-oriented observational comedy. On Halloween: “You’re 7 years old and you’re working for candy!” On retirement: “My parents moved to Florida last year. They didn’t want to, but they’re 60, and that’s the law.” On lunch: “What animal is luncheon meat? It all happened so fast. We were in the woods. Joe and I caught it, it was wiggling .All we know is that it’s some kind of meat and you should eat it around noon!” One of his best known bits was about losing a sock in the dryer. He theorized that the sock wasn’t lost, but had escaped. He imagined it pressed up flat against the dryer drum and then sneaking away. The hipper young comics scoffed at all this, but Seinfeld had a big general audience laughing—and he was going to the bank.
“It’s not that I’m a prude,” said Jerry. “I’m a purist. I want to find true quality humor, that’s the quest, not to just get laughs…I just think my material should be funny on its own and not rely on the gratuitous laughs profanity gets.”
Born in Brooklyn, raised in Massapequa, Long Island (“an Indian name which means ‘by the mall”) Jerry recalled he wasn’t the class clown. Everybody was: “Everybody in school was always fooling around. After we graduated, they went off and got jobs. I kept fooling around.” He graduated from Queens College and in the late 70’s began performing in comedy clubs. While many contemporaries iwent “full tilt bozo” in free-form comedy, or challenged the censors with x-rated material, Seinfeld, growing up watching smooth family-oriented comics like Alan King and Jan Murray, realized the satisfaction, and big money, in playing resorts, casinos and the top nightclubs.
By 1981 he was appearing on “The Tonight Show” and later opening for Kenny Rogers, Andy Williams and Dionne Warwick. In 1987 he had his first HBO solo special. More talk show appearances followed, as well as a heavy touring schedule. In 1990 he hosted a comedy special on NBC and was rewarded with a critically praised sitcom as himself—a somewhat conservative looking single guy, middle-class but hip and humorous, trying to get along with dates, friends and family. As John J. O’Connor in The New York Times put it, “Mr. Seinfeld is definitely a nerd, a pleasant, good-looking young fellow who gives the impression that he might have a decent career as a stockbroker except for a compulsion to tell jokes.”
He remained “family entertainment,” offering up little moments of everyday truth: “You go to the store and buy Grape Nuts. No grapes, no nuts. What’s the story?” He continued asking his audience vital questions: “Has any turtle ever outlived a shaker of turtle food?” It was all inoffensive, but Seinfeld would not have been surprised to find someone objecting. After all, he once said, “Nothing in life is fun for the whole family.”