Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld Are Working on a Top Secret Project

Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 6 2014 5:18 PM

Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld’s Top Secret Project (and Other Highlights From Seinfeld’s Reddit AMA)

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Jerry Seinfeld doing something funny.

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Jerry Seinfeld was on Reddit today to do an “Ask Me Anything” to promote his new season of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and the thread immediately went to the top of the site, garnering more than 10,000 comments in just the first three hours. By far the biggest headline from the Q-and-A (if it’s true) was the revelation that Jerry and his Seinfeld co-creator Larry David are working on a new project together:

We wrote this script for this thing that you will eventually see but I can’t reveal what it is at this time. All I can do is tell you is that it’s big, huge, gigantic. Even bigger than that Amazon package.

For fans of Seinfeld, the entire AMA is worth reading. Seinfeld is thorough in his responses to fans, charming, casual, completely engaging, full of all sorts of weird funny asides, and most of all hilarious.

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Because it’s sometimes tough to scroll though AMAs and because Jerry posted 100-plus responses, we’ve done our best to reconstruct and condense the finest moments from the AMA for you here. Enjoy!

On the real idea behind Seinfeld:

The pitch for the show, the real pitch, when Larry and I went to NBC in 1988, was we want to show how a comedian gets his material. The show about nothing was just a joke in an episode many years later, and Larry and I to this day are surprised that it caught on as a way that people describe the show, because to us it’s the opposite of that.

On the real idea behind Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee:

I could talk about anything with another comedian as long as it’s dumb. That’s the whole idea of the show right there.

On his responding to hecklers philosophy:

Very early on in my career, I hit upon this idea of being the Heckle Therapist. When people would say something nasty, I would immediately become very sympathetic to them and try to help them with their problem and try to work out what was upsetting them, and try to be very understanding with their anger.

Writer’s block is a phony, made up, BS excuse for not doing your work.

On why he found it so hard not to break character while shooting the show:

The thing about the show is that you have to realize that I had to look into the faces of those people, six inches away, so if you think Kramer is funny on TV, imagine his real face six inches from your nose, how funny that is. You can’t imagine. It’s impossible not to laugh. So I would.

Favorite Seinfeld episode to film:

The Rye, because we got to shoot that at Paramount Studios in LA which was the first time that we thought "wow this is almost like a real TV show." … We thought "this is where the ADULT shows are, the REAL shows like Murphy Brown."

Favorite Seinfeld supporting character.

Newman. I mean, when I got to have a real evil nemesis like Superman would have, that was a dream come true for me.

The guy who ran the parking lot who when you went to get your car, he said "we can’t do it, we can’t get your car."

Favorite Seinfeld line to quote:

The only line I quote from the show (and I’ll be very impressed if anybody out there remembers this line) is "If you’re one of us, you’ll take a bite." 

A lot of times [my] kids won’t want to try certain foods, and so I’ll use that line. Sometimes I’ll quote Newman in flames screaming "Oh the humanity."

Weird Seinfeld plot that they never made that I wish they had made that it’s probably best that they didn’t make:

There was one episode where Jerry bought a handgun. And we started making it and stopped in the middle and said "this doesn’t work." We did the read-through and then cancelled it. A lot of other stuff happened, but trying to make that funny ended up being no fun.

How he met Larry David:

The first time I met him, that’s a long story... I actually was eavesdropping on him talking to another comedian, and I wasn’t even in comedy yet. But he was leaning on my car in front of the Improv on 9th Ave and 44th Street, and this would be probably 1975. That was the first time I ever saw him. But we didn’t talk. But him and this other comedian were leaning on the fender of my car, and I knew that they were real comedians and I was still just flirting with it. (You know what’s funny? He doesn’t even know that story. My car was a 1973 Fiat 128 SL. Is this my coffee or yours?)

Then when we finally did talk in the bar Catch a Rising Star on 1st Ave and 78th Street 2 or 3 years after that, we couldn’t stop talking. We were both obsessed with the smallest possible issue.

Which “Larry David character” Larry David most resembles in real life:

Larry David is not really that much like George in real life. George is a little bit angry. And does not care if he has to break the rules to get what he wants. And Larry David is not like that at all. Larry David is a very considerate and respectful kind of person. George is not.

I find his character on Curb to be the most reasonable and logical person. And I’ve never understood why people think of him any other way. To me he is one of the most intelligent and perceptive people, and our minds are very synchronous. So I think he is very much like that character, maybe not as nice all the time.

On the origin of his white sneakers obsession:

It started with wanting to be Joe Namath of the 1969 New York jets, who at that time was one of the only football players to wear white shoes. … Also, Bill Cosby on I Spy always wore white sneakers. And they were my fashion icons.

On “modern Seinfeld” Twitter accounts:

Oh this is a very painful subject. As you can probably imagine, over the nine years of doing the show, Larry David and I sat through hundreds of ideas that people wanted to do on the show. And most of the ideas are not good.

Everything would have had to change. The character would have gotten married and started families, I suppose. But I still think everything has its life cycle and if you respect it, people enjoy it longer. And if you disrespect it—look at The Hangover movie. If you made just one, the movie would be a comedy legend. Because they made three, it isn’t.

Best exchange with a fan that captured the essence of Reddit:

Coolrudski: If you could hi-five anybody in the world right now, who would it be and why?     
Seinfeld: It would be you. And I would say "That’s it!" and that’s the end of high-fiving forever.

Best exchange with a fan that turned into an analysis of the existential sadness of Richie Rich:

Hallucino: Hello Jerry. Then again since we’re not friends (yet) I’ll call you Mr. Seinfeld.  When you were a kid what was your ultimate "one day if I’m rich I will...." Fantasy?  And did you fulfill it yet?     
Seinfeld: First of all, I love being called Mr. Seinfeld. In fact, all my children call me that. It’s funny that you should ask this, because something I loved to do as a kid with my friends was sit on my stoop and think "what would we do when we were rich.” And I remember thinking "The greatest thing you could do if you were rich would be to have a go-kart track."
I don’t have one. I do have a long driveway in my house in Long Island, and sometimes I ride on it on a scooter. And that makes me feel like Richie Rich. Richie Rich, that comic book, made me anxious. Just the whole thing was kind of weird, it brought out strange, uncomfortable emotions of envy, and you know, sadness. He had parents, but it was one of the most depraved comic books of all. I wonder if it still exists, it can’t possibly still exist.

Best exchange with a fan that could be read as an insult if it came from another comedian.

Ttoastt: If you weren’t doing comedy, what would you want to do?     
Seinfeld: Die.

Best responses to dumb questions/comments:

Tlott: Are you the master of your domain?
Seinfeld: Never try and make a comedian laugh with one of his own jokes.
Homestarguy: Do you want to be the pirate?
Seinfeld: Once again, nothing less funny to a comedian than his own material...
Hawatcha: If you could grab a coffee with any comedian no longer with us, who would it be and in what car?
Seinfeld: Wow. I probably would have to say Charlie Chaplin in a Duesenberg.     
RedditAuthority: That’s a duzy     
Seinfeld: That’s where that phrase comes from!
Zeebs: TIL

The deal with airline food is everything is miniaturized, as if we’re in Gulliver’s Travels.

Favorite joke of all-time:

Whenever my kids ask me this question, I always answer with "Two peanuts were walking along, one was assaulted." And I like that joke because anybody can tell it, and it always works. And it’s very short.

Jeremy Stahl is a Slate senior editor. You can follow him on Twitter.