Jerry Before Seinfeld (2017) Movie Script

[Johnny Carson] My uh...
next guest is a young comedian
making his debut on The Tonight Show.
He is from New York City.
He's worked a lot of small clubs,
both in New York and Los Angeles.
Welcome him, please; Jerry Seinfeld.
[Jerry Seinfeld] In mid-70s New York,
there were only two places
you could even see new comedians.
A stand-up comedian
was just a novelty act.
They would have one
in front of a singer or a rock band,
and just to be that
was the most glorious dream of my life.
That's all I wanted.
And it's funny,
but I was actually sitting on a ledge
when I decided to make that leap,
right here.
And this is the exact spot.
["Inky Dinky Wang Dang Doo" playing]
Inky dinky wang dang doo
Baby, baby I love you
Inky dinky zigzag zoo
Oh, girl, I got my eyes on you
Inky dinky zing zang zoo
I want a kiss from your lips
Inky dinky ding dang doo...
You guys are a good group.
Are you ready for the show?
Yes? OK, good for you guys. Great.
He started here uh... as one of
the regulars here at The Comic Strip
back in the summer of 1976.
Let's welcome him back home.
Jerry Seinfeld!
[cheering and applause]
Zingy zangy zing zang zow
Sweet darling, and I've got to have
Your loving right now...
Are you kidding me?
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Thank you. Nice to be here.
I can't believe I'm back here.
This is really great. Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
How do you like the jacket?
Yeah, this is my favorite jacket.
It's a special night
and I want to wear my special jacket,
because I'm back at the Comic Strip,
which is where I started
my entire career -
right here, on this stage.
And uh I'll tell you the whole story.
I'll tell you how it all happened.
I was living in Massapequa.
I'm born in Brooklyn.
That's my home borough.
And then my parents moved out
to Massapequa, which is an Indian name.
It means "by the mall."
Even the Native Americans could sense,
once the Jews
and the Italians get out here...
brick-and-mortar retail's going to crush.
Let's lose the teepees.
These people need parking.
[laughter and applause]
So we moved out from the city
to on Long Island.
You don't live in Long Island,
you live on Long Island.
When you live in the city,
people ask you, "Where do you live?"
you go, "We live in the city."
You don't live on the city.
But if you move out of the city...
You're in it now. Now if you go out,
you're going to be on the island.
Long Island's
not one of those places you...
You can't get in it. There's nothing...
There's nothing to get in.
You just stay on it.
My parents would say, "Jerry, we're going
to the city today, so get ready.
We're going in."
"We're going to get on the train."
We don't get in the train.
You get on the train,
even though you see trains,
there's nobody on it.
You never see anybody on top of a train.
But that's how you talk. If you want
to live here, this is how you talk.
"We're going to get on the train."
Why do you get on the train?
So you can get off it!
"Get off the train!
This is our stop!"
"We've got to get in the cab."
You don't get on the cab.
You were on the train,
but you don't get on the cab.
You get in the cab.
Why do you get in the cab?
So you can get out!
"You've got to get out of the...
We're here.
Get out of the cab. We're here."
"Why are you still in the cab?
Get out of the cab."
"OK, Jerry, what about Uber?
What do you do with Uber?"
That's the new thing.
Do you get in it? No.
On it? No.
Off it? No.
What do you do with Uber?
- [man] You grab it.
- [man] You get one.
No. No.
[woman] You just take it.
You take it! You take Uber!
Because there's no money!
It's, like, free.
I don't even know how it works.
Do we even pay for that?
I think it's just a free thing,
comes with the phone.
Any time you're just like...
Little cartoon cars,
they go wherever you want.
"How did you get here?"
"We took an Uber.
I don't know, we just..."
It's like M&Ms in a bowl,
you just take them.
Just take whatever you want.
And uh so I came here
and I auditioned on this stage,
and the little sign-up sheet is outside,
that I wrote with my little
"Jerry Seinfeld."
You know, it was just my parents' address,
and "type of act: comedian."
"Any special requirements? No."
And I only had one joke that worked...
which I'm going to do for you
right now.
[cheering and applause]
If you ever think yourself
that you might want to someday do comedy,
this is not the way you do it.
Don't ever say,
"I'm going to tell you a joke now."
So, I'm left-handed.
Left-handed people do not like
that the word "left" is so often
associated with negative things.
Two left feet, left-handed compliment.
"What are we having for dinner?"
You go to a party, nobody's there.
"Where did everybody go?" "They left."
That was it.
That was my first joke.
And it was a pretty good joke,
and uh they passed me on the audition,
and I started coming here
every single night.
So, I grew up in the '60s,
and I see a lot of beautiful
young people here tonight,
enjoying your life of uh...
infinite potential and opportunity.
Because you're young
and your life is still ahead of you,
and it's all going to happen.
Let me tell you little punks something!
[laughter and applause]
You didn't even have a childhood.
You had nothing!
You had garbage
compared to what we had in the '60s.
And you know why?
Your parents paid attention to you, OK?
They were interested in you.
My parents, our parents,
they didn't even know our names, OK?
They were ignorant, they were negligent,
they were checked-out.
We grew up like wild dogs in the '60s!
There was no nutrition.
Nothing... of knowledge of nutrition,
education, safety.
Can you even imagine
the world I am describing?
No helmets, no seat belts,
no restraints.
Anything came to a stop,
we just flew through the air.
[laughter and applause]
I was either eating 100% sugar,
or airborne.
That was my childhood.
My parents, they did not know
where my school was,
they did know what my grades were,
they didn't know where I was.
I was like a raccoon to my parents.
You know there's one around,
but no one's tracking
the actual whereabouts.
I would roll out of bed
and I would do a swan dive
into Cocoa Puffs, Frosted Flakes,
Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Sugar Pops.
I'm getting a little light-headed right
now, actually, just thinking about it.
It was so amazing, and it was great -
we were getting away with murder!
Life cereal - that was ballsy, huh?
That's a ballsy name, I always thought.
"What are we going to call this?
How about Oaties? Squaries?"
"Oh, no. This is much bigger than that."
"This is Life, I tell you!"
"It's Life!"
What were the other names? How about
Almighty God? Why don't we call it that?
Who wouldn't want to wake up
to a nice big bowl of Almighty God?
Or New Almighty God with Raisins.
And if you don't like it,
you can go to hell.
So the beauty of the time, OK?
Parents, for some reason,
had no idea or no interest
that there's no food in any of this.
And it was great
until the Cookie Crisp people came along
and blew the lid off of the whole racket.
There's always somebody who pushes
a good thing just a little too far.
Cookie Crisp.
If you don't know what this is,
this is a cereal...
It's not like cookies,
it is cookies.
This is your breakfast.
A bowl of chocolate-chip cookies!
This cereal should have been called
The Hell With Everything!
Ice cream for lunch, cake for dinner,
bacon and cigarettes in between. That's...
That's the Cookie Crisp total health plan.
I liked the Good Humor man.
I would wait for him.
That was another huge thing of life,
the guy who was the...
You hear that little jingle bell,
and the white truck,
and the little white suit, and we would
stand in line behind the truck,
and all the different ice creams that you
could get was on the back of the truck,
placed right over the exhaust pipe.
If you had a Dixie Cup,
it was the equivalent
of smoking a pack of Camels.
Nobody cared!
These were good times!
[movie projector whirring]
[Jerry] There was no drama in my life,
or in my family, or in my world.
Would I have been funnier
if I grew up in Peoria
in a whorehouse, raised by prostitutes?
But this is what I had to work with.
My parents were really nice,
Betty and Kal.
I had a wonderful older sister, Carolyn.
It was a nice family.
But I just always felt, like,
"Could you just leave me alone?"
My first thing I ever said -
my first words were, "Leave me alone."
I used to knock over lamps or something,
and they used to say, "Leave it alone."
And then, one day, I yelled back,
"Leave me alone."
I just didn't want the normal thing.
I just didn't want anything normal.
I just thought, "That world
that these people live in is very boring,
and I want to be in a more fun place."
I had glasses at ten, braces at 12.
I said to my parents, "Let's not stop now.
How about a hearing aid,
orthopedic shoes?"
"I'm thinking about talking to a girl
for the very first time in my life.
I want as much corrective apparatus
on my head as I can possibly get.
I think that's what women like."
I had a yo-yo. I-I liked that.
The yo-yo was pretty great.
That was one of my good toys.
I could do the yo-yo pretty good.
And I read about the yo-yo
and found out the yo-yo was originally
invented as a weapon in the Philippines.
An interesting
and obscure piece of information.
Hard to imagine
Filipino tribesmen warring with yo-yos.
Planes flying low over enemy villages,
they lean out the door...
[clicks tongue]
"I think I got the chief."
But I didn't have...
You know, there was no Chuck E. Cheese
and Toys "R" Us.
There was none of that.
So, you know, you just did
whatever your parents were doing.
Wherever they had to go,
you know, I would go.
So, my mother would want to go
to the wallpaper store,
that was my day, you know?
And that was my mother's favorite store.
She loved those giant books of wallpaper.
She would read them, turn the pages.
It was like the Koran.
Huge. She was looking at the patterns.
"Yes, I understand what they're saying."
And when you're a little kid
in these places, you can't really take it.
You know, the boredom is so intense,
it's so powerful.
When you're five and you get bored,
you cannot support your body weight.
You literally just... I would just...
I would just get down. I had to get down.
I remember going to the bank
with my parents,
and you don't even know what a bank is.
You just say, "Oh, I can't handle this.
I don't even know what this is."
And I would lie down, flat.
Flat. Just...
"Sorry, Mom. There's nothing I can do.
This place is so dull, I cannot get up."
This is what I think adulthood is.
Adulthood is the ability
to be totally bored
and remain standing.
You're in a long line somewhere,
no problem.
I wasn't going to Disneyland, OK?
That's not... That's not going to happen.
It wasn't one of those things
that you could do.
My parents were not taking me...
thousands of miles to another state
so I could sit in a teacup.
Both of my parents were orphans,
so the fact that I had a room with a bed,
they were like,
"That's your ride. You can go on that."
"You're fine."
And I was fine.
Sometimes, outside of these stores,
they would have, like, two red,
metal horses on the sidewalk,
and that was pretty good.
If you could get ten cents and...
It wasn't a ride.
You know, it was kind of a piece,
just a fragment chipped off of a ride
that landed there somehow.
And it didn't do anything
that would make you go, "Whee!"
It would just kind of grind
forward and back.
[imitates mechanical grinding]
It was like a grain-elevator motor
with just two horses welded on top.
[imitates mechanical grinding]
"Are we milling buckwheat
or am I at an amusement park here?"
[imitates mechanical grinding]
But compared to lying on the floor of
the bank, this was Space Mountain to me.
You know, I thought it was great.
I would get off. "Mom, that was fantastic!
I feel 1,000% better.
I'm refreshed, I'm calm.
I'm ready for the wallpaper store.
Want to go back there?"
"I'm into it. Throw pillows,
window treatments. Let's do it."
My mother, she was always talking to me
about uh... what she was going to do
with the living room.
This was her obsession.
She was going to fix the living room,
change the living room.
My mother would say, "You know,
if you make one wall of a room a mirror,
people think you have
an entire other room."
They believe this.
What kind of an idiot
walks up to a mirror...
and goes, "Look,
there's a whole other room in there"?
There's a guy in there
that looks just like me.
And my parakeet would fall for this.
I would let him out of his cage.
I always felt bad that he was in a cage,
so I would let him out,
and he would fly around,
and he would go "bang,"
right into the mirror
with his little head,
and the feathers would fly,
and he would hit the ground,
then fly off in another direction,
a little askew.
But even if he thinks
the mirror is another room,
why doesn't he at least try and avoid
hitting the other parakeet?
Look up!
What happened to bird's-eye view?
There's a... There's another parakeet
coming right at you!
But I couldn't take childhood
at a certain point. You get tired of it.
You actually get... I just couldn't build
one more balsa-wood glider.
You know what I wanted to do?
I wanted to do certain little adult
behaviors that I would see adults do.
Like uh... I liked the way adults
checked their pockets when I was a kid.
This is actually something I thought
as kid. I liked the way adults did this.
"Do you have those...?"
"I can't find those keys.
Bill, do you have my keys?
I can't find the keys."
When you're a kid, if someone asks
if you have something, you say, "No."
Anything you own is in your hand.
"Are you sure?"
You spread the fingers wider.
"No, I don't. I don't have it."
I wanted to ruin my appetite.
I got tired of hearing,
"You're going to ruin your appetite."
"Ruin your appetite."
As adults, we understand
even if you ruin an appetite,
there's another appetite
coming right behind it.
There's no danger
of running out of appetites.
I could ruin 100,
I still got thousands more.
Why am I being so careful with each one?
I've got millions of appetites!
I wanted to mess with the thermostat -
that was another thing
they wouldn't let me go near.
I don't know what the story...
When I was a kid, "What is with
that thing? Why can't I go near it?"
I even remember when my parents sat me
down to tell me the birds, the bees,
intercourse, procreation.
I'm like, "Yeah, when does
the thermostat come in here?"
"That's the secret
I'm waiting to find out."
I didn't touch a thermostat
until I was 28 years old.
I was in a hotel room in Pittsburgh
when I finally got the guts
to make it a little warmer.
I didn't sleep the whole night.
I was terrified my father
was going to burst in the door.
"Who touched the thermostat in here?"
"You know, I set it there for a reason."
Yes. Yes, sir.
[man] I recognize the bookends.
- Are they always here, or is that...
- No, I put them here. Those are mine.
That's a Superman.
You know, I love Superman.
So this is a...
This is Kal-El on Krypton.
You see that he's in there.
He's in the rocket.
And there's his dad, Jor-El,
and his mom, Lara.
And then he goes in the rocket,
and he lands...
Where does he land? Kansas?
- [man] Kansas.
- Kansas.
And there he is, and they have got
the little Superman baby... right there.
Yeah, those are mine.
- What else? What's that?
- [man] Whose books are those?
The books are a prop. They're fake books.
They're just props. This is show business.
I don't actually live here.
This is not a...
You need to get out a lot more.
I had every comedy album
and every comedy thing you could get.
I did a show with this puppet
when I was in third grade.
When I was a kid
and a comedian came on TV,
I would just freeze and stare at them.
Being obsessed with comedy
felt very liberating,
because it didn't have to do
with the real world.
You know, a Mad Magazine,
you would start reading it
and you're going,
"Well, these people
don't respect anything."
And that just exploded my head.
It was just, like,
you don't have to buy it.
You could say, "That's stupid."
"This is stupid."
Then, one day, my friend's older brother
told us there was this place in New York
where young guys were getting on stage
and doing stand-up comedy.
Not like the guys on Ed Sullivan
with tuxedos and cigars,
just young, crazy people.
Once I saw that this was going on,
that there was a world,
I went, "Oh, I want to be in that world.
I don't want to be in the real world."
So, I came into the city in 1976.
I told you that.
Uh... At that time, New York,
a little bit of a tough town.
Uh... But definitely the best place,
in my opinion, to become a comedian,
because, first of all,
everybody in New York is a little funny.
I'm sure you all think you're funny.
That's why you like comedy -
you feel you're pretty funny yourself.
You probably even think
you could do what I'm doing.
You think...
"I got interested in other things,
but if I wanted to, I could have easily...
I could have done it.
I chose not to."
[laughter and applause]
And that is a good place to learn comedy,
because in New York
you've got to really have something
to make audiences laugh.
And at that time, also,
New York wasn't doing so well as a city.
The city was going bankrupt.
It was also the same year that they built
the Roosevelt Island Tramway.
I used to say,
"Great, the city's going bankrupt.
They're putting up rides for us."
"Maybe eventually we'll get
a rollercoaster in the South Bronx...
which would be the first rollercoaster
where people scream
on the flat part of the ride."
And that was my second joke
that I ever thought of.
[cheering and applause]
So I had the left bit, I had the tramway.
I was rolling.
And I lived in a little apartment
on the West Side,
and it was very small.
It was just 15-feet square.
That is not a joke. You know
that New York apartments are like that.
And I brought my little bed from my room
to sleep on.
That was all I had. I didn't care.
I-I wasn't planning on really
getting anywhere doing this, by the way.
I just loved it and I wanted to do it.
And so I lived in that apartment.
Since I couldn't afford to fix it
or anything, I would paint it a lot.
Every time I painted it, I thought,
"Well, gee,
now it's a little bit smaller."
And I realize it's just the thickness
of the paint, but it is coming in.
It's coming in.
Eventually, someone's going
to come to visit me, open the door,
there's just going to be
a white block with an eye.
They will go, "Wow! That guy
painted that place a little too much."
And uh...
So, no money.
We performed here for free, by the way.
Absolutely free.
And audiences were packing in.
Just like tonight,
they're packing in to see us.
In the '70s, we were the new hot thing -
stand-up comics,
young people doing this thing.
So I would come over here in the middle
of the day and make a hamburger.
They let us have food.
That was one good thing about the place -
they would let us have food and T-shirts,
so I wore a Comic Strip T-shirt.
I would come here in the afternoon,
make a hamburger,
and then I would have another one,
another hamburger at night.
And I was consuming
about 30 pounds of chopped meat a month.
[audience groans]
I was like a trained seal coming in here.
I was just...
Just feeding me, and I would come up,
and, just,
"Tramway, left bit, good night,"
and that was, you know, that was it.
Somebody gave me a shower radio
as a present for my apartment.
I could have used a couch.
Oh, shower radio, that's a nice gift.
No better place to dance than naked
on a slick surface next to a glass door.
But I still feel that comedy culture,
I'll call it, of New York City.
I feel that it's still here.
So, I'm at a light, and there's a guy
crossing in front of my car,
and then the light changed.
It was actually my turn to go.
They were in front of the car.
The New Yorkers, you know how they just
raise their elbows up to pretend?
Here's an impression of someone hurrying,
but they don't go any faster.
Same exact speed.
This is what it would look like
if I was hurrying, but I'm not.
I'm just going to raise my elbows...
and do the faux-courtesy jog.
Somebody gave me the finger...
on my way, which I don't care about.
I don't understand
even why the finger is the finger.
Someone picks one of their fingers,
they show it to me,
I'm supposed to feel bad.
Bad finger. This is a good finger, right?
I always try and remember,
if I get this finger,
I'm one finger away
from a compliment, so...
[laughter and applause]
it's not that bad.
These street-cleaning trucks
in New York, as a point of...
What kind of street-theater
absurdity is this?
Does anybody think
these trucks are cleaning...
the street?!
Do they think they're cleaning the street?
Are they just laughing
their asses off in front of...
"Hey, get all the parked cars
out of the way, everybody!"
"We've got to make a huge, loud,
annoying hissing sound,
then leave a little piss-trail
of water out the back...
to complete
our doing-absolutely-nothing process."
"Wait until you see Ninth Avenue
after we're done.
You're going to think
you're in an architect's rendering...
strolling through
a modern wonderland of the future."
If you're walking down the street
in New York and you step in gum,
and that gum stays on your shoe
for a couple of blocks,
whatever that gum picks up,
that's the only cleaning of anything
going on in New York City.
We're living in filth!
We don't even care, anyway!
A sentence never heard
in the history of New York City:
"Hey, why don't we get a new awning?"
"We've got six pounds
of bird crap on this one,
12 rips, 11 places
where the metal frame is showing through."
"It would cost us 200 bucks.
It's only the entire appearance
of our whole business."
"I don't think it's a good idea.
I think it's better
as a way for us to silently express
how much we hate ourselves
and the stupidity of people
that even come in here."
"Yeah, you're right. Let's leave it."
Just landed at LaGuardia last week.
Always uh... It's nice there.
I like uh... I like the ceiling height.
It's a very nice uh...
It could be lower,
but I think it's good. It's good.
Named after the ex-mayor of New York,
of course, Fiorello H. La Guardia.
And I imagine it was quite an exciting day
in his life when he got that news,
when they came into his office and said,
"Mayor, we've decided we're going
to name the new airport after you."
He went, "Really? Which one?"
They went, "LaGuardia, on Grand Central."
"Oh, right, right.
Yeah, I've been there a million times."
I go through customs. The guy asks me,
"I've got to go through the bags.
Do you have any alcohol, any plants?"
He actually says, "Any drugs?"
Is this an effective interrogation?
Is anybody going, "Bingo! You got me.
Oh, my God.
I didn't see that question coming."
"Twenty kilos right there.
You literally
just completely caught me off guard."
New York in the '70s
was a crime city, it was a cop city,
it was a newspaper city.
I always liked
that whatever goes on in the world,
it somehow exactly fits
the number of pages
that they're using in the paper that day.
They never run out of room.
They never have big blank spots
where nothing happened.
They must be, at the end, "Get that paper
out before something happens.
That was another perfect fit today.
That was fantastic."
I like it when the cops catch somebody
and they hit them with the nightstick,
and they get them in the handcuffs,
and they use the chokehold on them.
But when they put them
in the back seat of the police car,
they always put their hand on his head.
"You don't want to hit your head
on that edge of the door."
"That really stings. It smarts, you know?
Be careful."
Why are these crooks and mass-murderer,
hijacker, psychopath people
covering their faces
when they're being hauled in?
What is this man's reputation that he's
got to worry about someone seeing him?
Is he speed dating?
Is he up for some corner-office promotion?
"Oh, if the people
on my sales team saw me...
hijacking Egypt Air 747
and throwing bodies out
onto the tarmac one by one,
I'll never hear the end of that,
I'm telling you."
"They will needle me in that break room.
You have no idea."
When they invented the stun gun,
I wasn't quite sure what that was.
It seemed like a gun
that they zap you with it,
and you just go, "Oh, my God. I..."
"Are you OK?"
"No, I'm fine.
Actually, I'm just stunned
that you would even use that on me."
I wonder if you can adjust it
to just "taken aback"?
If you could turn it down
and just zap somebody, and they go...
"You all right?"
"No, I'm fine. Just..."
"I'm a little taken aback."
When I was 21 years old, the idea of
becoming a comedian seemed impossible.
I was living at home.
I had a job a couple of blocks that way.
I was sledgehammering walls down
for $25 a day,
and I would sit here
and have my lunch every day.
And I remember thinking,
"Even if I'm not any good at it,
if I could just make enough for a loaf
of bread a week, I could survive,
and that would be
the greatest life I could have."
Did you ever notice there's an insult
on every roll of toilet paper?
Down at the bottom: "facial quality."
[audience laugh]
I don't like the insinuation.
What has my face got to do with this?
And, yes, there was heckling and bombing,
and someone once threw a glass at me
that shattered on stage.
I remember a couple of people
who were interested in a physical fight.
None of it bothered me.
I was in comedy,
and it just felt like heaven.
You know,
one of the big nights that I had here
was my parents
coming to see me do my show,
because I had never...
For whatever reason,
I was very embarrassed around my parents
to show them this part of my personality.
So when I started doing this, it was,
you know, a little strange to them,
you know, when I told them, "I think
I want to be a comedian," and they went...
"You know,
you've never done anything funny."
And so, eventually, I brought them here,
and they sat right there.
And I was so nervous that night,
because I was showing them
this whole side of myself.
It was like my little gay-closet moment,
you know, where I had to say,
"Mom, Dad, I'm...
I don't know how to tell you this,
but I'm a funny person."
"And I...
I don't want to be ashamed
of it any more, and...
I want to lead a funny lifestyle now."
"I want to be with other funny people,
I want to have breakfast
at two in the afternoon."
And I was out.
And the other thing was uh...
meeting girls in the bar out there.
That was a new thing, too,
because comedians sometimes have a little
difficulty in normal social situations.
I can do this, for some reason,
and I always... always felt comfortable
doing what I'm doing right now.
I could talk to all of you,
but I can't talk to any of you.
I don't really understand that,
but I've talked to a lot of other
comedians that have a similar thing.
So when you...
Coming here and doing a show,
and then you go sit in the bar
and girls would talk to you.
And that was, like, unbelievable.
So that's why
we never went any place else.
Why would you not go
where someone might be able to see you do
the one thing that you can do
that's kind of cool?
So I started having relationships
with women, observing them up close.
Uh... Especially their bathrooms -
fascinating little wonderlands.
I noticed that women need a large
and constant supply of cotton balls,
and men don't need any.
I've never had a cotton ball
in my entire life.
I've never bought one,
owned one, needed one.
I've never been in a situation
where I've thought to myself,
"I could use a cotton ball right now."
"I could certainly get out of this mess."
Women need them.
And they don't need one or two,
they need thousands every single day.
They buy beanbag chairs
filled with cotton balls -
two days later, they're all out,
they need more.
They're on their way back to the store.
The only time you ever see them
is in the bottom of a little wastebasket,
looking like they have had
a horrible experience.
Tortured, interrogated -
I don't know what you did to them.
Once, a woman left three cotton balls
over at my house.
It took me a year to use them up.
Put one on the kitchen floor for
cockroaches to think it's a tumbleweed,
go, "This is a dead town. Let's move on."
[laughter and applause]
Or I go to the doctor.
Before he gives you the shot, puts alcohol
on your arm with a cotton ball,
I bring one of mine.
He goes for his, I go,
"Maybe you could use this one."
Sometimes he would use it,
take a penny off on my bill.
Gives me the prescription,
I take that home, open up the bottle,
there's another cotton ball in there.
The cotton-ball syndicate
was always one step ahead.
But relationships contain tension.
That is unavoidable.
It's essential, it's eternal.
All relationships,
there's always a little agenda thing
not quite lining up...
between the two people, right?
And so every relationship
you're in in life,
there's going to be tension.
Just accept that.
You ask any friend
how their relationship is going,
touching their face
is the first thing they do.
"How is it going with Judy?"
"Not bad."
"Yeah, we're doing OK."
And the higher up on the face they go,
the worse the relationship is.
"I heard you're having some problems."
"We've got to work on a couple of things."
"I heard you might break up."
"Yeah, I can't go any higher on my head!"
This is one of the things
it takes guys time to learn.
Especially you young guys who have
got it all going on in every other area.
But you've got to learn the flowers.
The power of flowers
takes a long time for men to understand.
To us, it seems,
you know, like a frivolous thing,
like an insignificant thing.
It is... This is key!
If there were no flowers,
Earth would be populated
by men and lesbians.
That would be it.
Women are with men to get flowers.
That's what they want.
Men don't want flowers.
Don't give a man flowers.
"Oh, I've got to take care of this now?"
"And what if they die? I guess
that's my fault? I'm the bad guy? Fine."
But a guy walking down the street
holding a bouquet of flowers,
he's the star of that street.
No other guy wants to be with a girl
on the same street as that guy.
Because you get that, "See?"
"That's what I'm talking about."
Because he's got flowers!
He could have a severed head in
the other hand, she doesn't notice that.
He was probably just defending himself.
That's why the florist is not really
set up right for what men need.
You just should walk in,
you tell them what you did wrong,
they give you the flowers for that,
and you just move right out the back.
They need to make up the,
"All right,
your brother's not an idiot" bouquet.
The, "Your career's
important, too" basket.
That would be helpful to men.
I got engaged when I was 29.
Didn't go through with it.
The date wasn't good for me.
Had to cancel.
No, it was one of those things.
You know, a lot of people go through that.
The word "engaged" is a very scary word.
I-I would change that
if I was in charge of that.
I don't know, women, or whoever
came up with that word, "engaged."
I just saw giant gears just going,
"Engaged," to me, I felt like I was on
the first hill of a rollercoaster, going,
"Click, click, click, click,
click, click, click, click."
"Boy, this thing goes high."
"Click, click, click." At the top,
they give you the ring and piece of cake.
"We're married!"
Biggest step, I think, in relationships
is you decide to have a kid.
I think you get to a point where everybody
you know has pretty much caught onto you.
You need to create a new person
that doesn't know anything about you.
You need a relationship
where someone's impressed
you know where the spoons are.
Where to urinate.
But, of course, they mature,
become intelligent and leave the house.
That's why people get pets,
because dogs stay stupid.
They grow, they get older,
but they never catch on to anything.
Every time you come home,
he thinks it's amazing.
They go through the routine.
He's back again!
It's that guy with the food
And the ball
It's the guy
"How did you know which house I was in?"
[laughter and applause]
And that's a tough thing
for a lot of humans.
They have a tough time making that leap.
"I'm going to have a kid."
I had a next-door neighbor
one time actually had a pet monkey.
A chimp. And I thought,
"Come on, man. You're so close."
I mean, if you need a pet
that can roller-skate and smoke cigars...
it's time to think about a family.
What about men? Men like things.
Building, fixing, working on things,
or being around other men
that are building,
fixing, or working on things.
If a man is in his driveway
working on something with tools,
every other man in the neighborhood
is magnetically drawn to this activity
by, like, some invisible force.
They just wander up like zombies.
They go up to the window,
they pull the drape back.
"I think Jim's
working on something over there."
"I better get over there."
They don't help the guy.
They just want to be in the area.
We want to be in the area
where work is being done.
We want to ask him dumb questions.
"What are you using,
a Phillips head there?"
"Yeah, that's a good screwdriver,
the Phillips."
You always want to hitch your pants
when you talk about tools.
But this is why,
when they have construction sites,
they have these
wood-panel fences around it,
just to keep the men out,
so they can get a day's work done.
They cut a little hole for us
so we can stick our head in
and see what the hell is going on.
"Is he using a Phillips?"
"Yeah, looks like a Phillips down there.
That's a good screwdriver."
This was the place
that uh... really gave us a home,
and we just...
locked onto it, you know?
For me,
it really felt very Long Island, in a way.
- [Jimmy] Oh?
- Because it wasn't cool, Manhattan.
So we fit right in.
Seven nights a week, we were here.
Seven nights a week, for months
and months and months at a time.
You would spend all day
getting ready for the sun to drop.
- Right, yeah.
- Right?
Until the sun dropped, we didn't exist.
Yeah, as soon as it got dark...
- [Mark] That's right.
- "My life is starting now."
And how about when you walked in this door
and all your friends are here?
- [Jimmy] Yeah.
- [Jerry] And there's an audience in there.
It was amazing.
To me, it was like high school
without the school part.
- [Jerry] Yes!
- You know?
And we were the...
the stars of the football team.
- That's right.
- Right?
Which none of us
had ever experienced anything like that,
socially, in our lives,
prior to that moment.
You know, you had to be a dysfunctional
social person to confront this.
- You had to be desperate.
- Desperate.
What else would you like to know?
- We've covered many things.
- [man] What's wrong with the Mets?
Well, it's baseball,
and nobody cares.
[laughter and applause]
Here's the thing about sports
you've got to understand, sir.
This whole concept of the team -
your team, my team...
"Hey, that's our team.
The Mets, that's our team."
Really? Is it our team?
Who are these guys? Where are they from?
They're not from around here.
They're just paid to wear those clothes.
The uniform
is the only constant in the sport.
The guys are moving around,
different teams,
teams are moving from different towns.
We're really just rooting for our clothes
to defeat the clothes
from the team of the other city.
That's what sports is.
We are rooting for laundry
and nothing else.
I always find it weird how upset we get
when a guy leaves your team
and then he plays against your team.
"Different shirt! I hate this guy!"
"I can't believe he's wearing that shirt!"
Everyone you see every day
is wearing a different shirt.
You don't get upset with them
for some reason. I don't know.
But I'm excited for the clothes
that you're wearing tonight.
Your clothes got out.
That's a big night for them, too.
Clothes are waiting all the time.
They're waiting in the store,
closet, hamper, drawer.
Everything you're not wearing now is home,
hoping to get picked tomorrow.
Laundry day is another exciting day.
The washing machine
is a nightclub for clothes.
It's dark, bubbles are happening,
they're all dancing.
They seem to kind of dance in there,
don't they?
The shirt grabs the underwear,
"Come on, babe, let's go."
You come by,
you open up the lid, they all freeze.
"Could you close the door, please?
It's kind of a private club."
"There's a dress code,
no one's allowed to be on anything."
Now, things progressing along
in little Jerry's comedy adventure.
I got to a point
where I could afford a maid.
The first time...
You remember these little firsts.
I remember the first time I could afford
a maid, I felt so guilty the whole time.
I was following her around the apartment.
"I don't know why I left that there.
I'm sorry. I..."
"Obviously I could have picked it up.
I should have.
I just didn't, and I don't know why.
I have no excuse. I apologize for that."
This is why I could never be a maid,
because that's the attitude...
I would walk in the house.
"Oh, I suppose you couldn't do this?"
"No, no, no. Let me clean up your filth...
while you just sit there
like a subway rat with a trust fund."
"You make me sick!"
Socks hate their lives, we know that.
They're on the stinky feet,
the boring drawers.
They wait for the laundry.
That's their one chance to escape,
and they all know it.
How many times have you done a wash,
go to the dryer, count up your socks,
one of them got out?
Escaped, took off.
Never takes his partner!
"To hell with you! Tired of everyone
thinking we're the same!"
The dryer door swings open, the sock
is always waiting up against the sidewall.
You're feeling around. "I know
he's in there, that little son of a bitch.
I know he's trying to get away!"
Sometimes they grab onto a sweater,
gives them a head start.
And off they go down the street.
[hums tune]
What can he do?
How is he going to survive out there?
On a golf club, puppet show, amputee.
What are the options?
Sometimes you see a dirty sock
on the street, just one.
Just dirty, twisted, exhausted.
He only made it a couple of blocks.
What about his partner left behind?
What are his options?
"Oh, now I'm going to get thrown out
because of him? How is that fair?"
"The whole drawer knew he was going
to pull a stunt like this someday.
That's why he was always inside out
and rolling down.
He wasn't one of us to begin with."
So I told you
my parents came to see me here.
They had already moved to Florida
by then, anyway.
Um... They didn't want to move to Florida.
They got old and that's the law, so...
A little golf cart pulled up with a siren.
"Let's go, pop.
White pants, belt and shoes.
Get in the car.
I got it all ready for you.
You're out of here. This part's over."
[laughter and applause]
Visiting my parents in Florida in these...
I don't get those minimum-security
prison places that they like down there.
Little guard-gate booth at the front,
the thing comes down in front of your car,
19-year-old kid in a phony cop uniform
comes running out.
"Where the hell do you think you're going?
Your name is not on the list!"
"Dude, who is stealing the old people?
What's the...
What is the lockdown here?"
"I got a granny! Let's go."
Go down there to visit your parents,
end up in a hot tub with your father
and three or four really old men.
That's a perfect way
to meet elderly people, right?
sitting in tubs of hot bubbling water?
They get out,
they look like an ad for gravity.
Why do these old guys love heat?
Steam rooms, hot tubs, saunas, Jacuzzis.
If they ever decide to land a man
on the sun,
these old retired guys
would be able to handle it.
No space suit,
just a towel, a pair of flip-flops.
They will sit there on a wood bench,
with a washcloth on their head, going,
"Close the door!"
"Come on, in or out.
You're letting all the heat off the sun."
My mom is uh... still driving.
Can't see a goddamn thing.
Don't you have to see to drive?
Isn't that part of driving?
I had her car fitted with
a cataract-lens windshield.
It's a one-foot thick, curved glass...
prescription windshield.
Everyone's head inside the car
looks huge now.
People think it's a car full of
sports mascots coming down the street.
They don't know what it is.
My dad would wait for me to come home
so that I could help him move furniture.
This is his favorite bonding activity.
I don't see him for three months.
"Give me a hand with this, would you?"
"I haven't seen you in three months."
"Get the other end. Let's go."
My father's moving technique
was to pick up something incredibly heavy,
get it in the air,
and then he explains
what we're going to do with it.
He's always got a cigarette in his mouth,
burned to a quarter-of-an-inch long,
the smoke going right in his eye.
Because you want your eye
blinking and tearing
when you're going backwards
down a staircase, holding a wall unit.
That's the easy way to do it.
"Easy," that's his favorite word.
Lift it up. "All right, easy now.
Easy, easy, easy."
It's not easy, it's very difficult.
Why don't you say that?
"Difficult, difficult, difficult.
Impossible, impossible, impossible.
Put it down, it's impossible."
[movie projector whirring]
[Jerry] I try to put cigarettes
into my comedy as much as I can.
I want to do those moves.
When I'm arguing with a smoker,
if they have the cigarette and I don't,
they got me.
"You see what I'm saying?
Because I have a cigarette and you
have nothing. This is what I'm saying."
"Your hands are empty.
My hands are busy all the time."
"And it's on fire. Does that bother you?
It doesn't bother me. I'm used to it."
They put it out and the argument is over.
When they put that cigarette out,
there's nothing more to add.
I'm standing there, "I think this.
I feel this. My point of view is this."
They go, "That's your whole opinion?"
[laughter and applause]
"It's out, you're wrong."
It was all about the material,
the bits, the stuff.
Rodney Dangerfield said to me,
"The killers,
they're wanted in all 50 states."
Minutes - comedians think in minutes.
How many minutes do they want?
How many minutes do you have?
How many minutes did you do?
Any time I wrote something that worked,
I saved it in this accordion folder.
Every single thing.
And this is it,
from 1975 until this morning.
A lot of jobs I wouldn't want because
I don't like the attitude of the people.
The notary public seems to be very
thrilled with their power and position.
You go to the bank,
"I need this notarized."
"Oh, the notary's not here.
You've got to wait."
Only the notary can notarize -
has the skill, the technique,
the background
to take a stamper and go, "Boom, boom."
Sometimes I just want to take
that stamper, rip it out of his hands.
"There, I have the power now!"
"You see, he's just a man!"
How do they teach people to do that?
Notary classes
where the teacher stands at the front?
"OK, everyone, now, ready and..."
Press and stamp and hold
And up and back to the pad
And press, up, over, and stamp
Push down, up and back to the pad
Pressing, stamping, holding
And up and back to the pad
Press and stamp and hold and up
And back to the pad
If it was a musical notary public school,
I imagined it like that.
Thank you.
I don't like magicians.
I've worked with many magicians in
my many years in the nightclub business.
I don't like their attitude.
A little full of themselves,
a little arrogant.
"I come on, I fool you,
you feel stupid, show's over."
Never explain, you never understand.
That's how they do it.
"Here's a quarter. Now it's gone.
You're a jerk."
Craziest act I've ever seen was this guy
that could catch bullets in his teeth.
It was kind of a circus act,
really, but it was real.
I think it was real.
I don't really even know.
But this guy would come out,
they would shoot a gun at him,
he would go...
How do you know you're good at this...
before you do it?
They throw it - throw it at you
a couple of times first, really hard.
Put it in the gun. "OK, Jim, this one's
going to be coming a little faster now."
"We're going to pick up the pace
quite a bit here."
It's definitely a house you don't want
to break into if you're a crook.
You shoot him in the bedroom,
he comes walking out.
[spits] "I think you got
the wrong house, pal."
"I do this all day, OK?"
"So fire away."
To me, the worst part of the whole thing
is I saw this guy, I was amazed,
and I have no idea...
I don't know the name.
What's the name of the guy? I don't know.
If he knew that, wouldn't he feel, like,
"What the hell do I have to do...
to really impress people?"
President's a weird job.
How do you think... People say,
"I think the President might be crazy."
"Oh, yeah? So? Well, what do you expect?"
Anybody who thinks
they should be the president,
there's your test right there.
If you actually think for real,
in your head, that you should be...
You're out of your mind! You're crazy!
"I should be the president,"
to me, is like,
"I should be Thor."
"I think I would like to be
Dr. Neil Clark Warren of
That's what I want."
You're out of your mind, OK?!
These are crazy ideas!
"Who should be
the most powerful person in America,
the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces
and leader of the free world?"
"You know, that sounds like me."
"It seems like something
I would be good at."
"I can't think of anyone better than me...
to be in charge of absolutely everything!"
"Because I'm insane," is the rest of that
sentence. "Because I'm insane."
So I understand those people.
I don't get upset,
or I try not to get upset
about the politic people,
because you should know,
or you do know, this is who they are, OK?
I comprehend it.
What I do not comprehend is how we
ended up with the elephant and the donkey
as the two mascot animals
for only two major political parties.
You've got the whole animal kingdom here.
You can pick from magnificent stallion,
Bengal tiger.
Democrats: "How about a jackass?
How about...
Why don't we be the jackasses?"
"I like the jackass idea.
Did everyone hear that?
The jackass is a very impressive animal."
"You don't think people will think that
we're jackasses if we pick a jackass?"
"No, it's two completely separate things."
The Republicans go,
"If they're going jackasses,
how about a smelly,
slow-witted circus animal? How about..."
An elephant is certainly impressive
when you weigh five tons wearing
the smallest possible hat you can get.
And you know, this is a true fact
about elephants in the circus.
Before they go out to do their show,
they take a broom handle,
they stick it up the elephant's ass
so the elephant empties himself,
because they don't want him to do it
during the show.
"And I think that's also a good image
for our party.
That says, 'We're willing to do
whatever we have to do.'"
Oh, this is a thing about pony rides,
that parents take kids on pony rides,
and there's nothing else
that they could use ponies for
except for rides for little kids.
The cops don't use them for crowd control.
This bit worked pretty good.
And uh... so I would do the cop going,
"You want to get back
behind the barricade."
Yeah, this is pretty funny.
Definitely late '70s.
To feel that your sense of humor
is actually being validated,
that is the only validation I think I have
ever really cared about as a human being.
But I didn't really care
whether they liked me or not.
To me it was, like,
do they like the material?
Do they like the jokes?
Do they like what I thought of?
It's like, I'm not out here, "I need you
to... I wish you would like me."
You know, if you like it, fine;
if you don't, that's fine, too.
I'm about out of time here.
Time is uh...
I think one of the things
people lie about the most.
Anything "20 minutes" is a lie.
Any time someone says, "I'll be there
in 20 minutes. It takes 20 minutes..."
"You said 20 minutes."
"It was!"
Nobody knows what 20 minutes is.
If you want to lie, just say, "I'll be
20 minutes. I'll be there in 20 minutes."
I saw an ad for a mattress store
a couple of months ago.
"No payments until June,"
because they know our idiot brain
is going to go, "Oh, June?"
"Well, that's not really my problem,
then, is it?"
"It will probably never be June, anyway."
"That's June guy's problem."
Same for when you're watching TV
late at night, right?
And you're tired,
and you're binge-watching
all your little Netflix shows,
and you think I don't know
you're doing it right now.
After you're done with me,
you're going to go back to your little
show, maybe find out who the killer is.
What about work tomorrow?
You've got to get up.
"Oh, that's morning guy's problem.
I'm night guy.
Party rocks on for night guy.
Fire up another episode,
crack open another sleeve of Oreos.
No rules for night guy!"
Then, the next morning,
the alarm goes off,
you're trashed, crumbs in the bed.
"Why did I do that?
I hate you, night guy!"
[laughter and applause]
Because night guy...
Wait there's more. Because night guy...
Night guy always screws morning guy.
Nothing morning guy can do.
He turns into coffee-all-day guy...
who's then can't-sleep-at-night guy...
totally-trashed-doesn't-do-his-work guy,
and out-of-a-job guy.
Does night guy care? No.
He's sleeping on a brand-new mattress,
courtesy of no-payments-until-June guy.
[laughter and cheering]
So, when you're doing stand-up comedy,
you absolutely have to connect
with the audience.
Not every other form of art is like that.
A lot of movies I see,
it doesn't seem like they care
if we can even follow the plot.
I'm the kind of guy...
I have a lot of trouble
with these movies like uh...
Jason Bourne, Mission Impossible.
I'm the guy you always see
in the parking lot after the movie,
talking with his friends, going,
"Oh, you mean,
that was the same guy from the beginning?"
That's why after he stole the money
he had the fake nose,
beard, and then he didn't!
"Did you enjoy the movie?"
"Yes, I'm enjoying it here
in the parking lot,
but in there,
I didn't know what the hell was going on."
Nobody will explain anything to you
in a movie theater once you get confused.
[whispers] "What is happening now?"
"Just pay attention."
"Why did they kill that guy?"
"I thought he was with them."
"They had to."
"I liked that guy. That was the..."
"That's the only guy that I liked."
"Would you just watch the movie?"
"I am watching the movie."
"I don't understand anything."
"You know as much as I do!"
"I know nothing!"
"Is this a space movie? Is it a Western?"
"I am lost in this movie."
"I hate this movie."
"And I hate you, too."
for the plot?
Closed-captioned for the movie-impaired.
These are the movies I would go to.
A little thing pops up.
"Don't worry about this guy,
he's only in this one scene."
"Here's the name of the movie
you can't remember
that you have seen this person in before."
[laughter and applause]
the story that I wanted to tell you
was if you ever wanted to know
how I did whatever I've done,
it really all started here
at the Comic Strip.
This was the place where I created all of
the material that I did for you tonight.
[cheering and applause]
And it's what got me from, you know,
open-mic Monday night - audition night,
living at home with my parents,
in my little room,
to, five years later,
being on The Tonight Show on NBC,
sitting next to Johnny Carson.
This was the stuff that got me there.
[cheering and applause]
Thank you very much.
You've been a fantastic audience.
I love you.
Thank you for letting me tell my story
tonight. I hope you enjoyed it.
Good night.
[applause continues]
Jerry Seinfeld.
Thank you, Jerry. Take a bow.