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Jerry Seinfeld Interview: How to Write a Joke | The New York Times

by The New York Times • 1,059,019 views

The comedian describes the anatomy of his Pop-Tart joke, still a work in progress, and shows his longhand writing process. Subscribe on YouTube: http://bit.ly/U8Ys7n Watch more videos at:...

"My favorite donut is the Old Fashion donut. It never goes stale. It can't go stale because it was never fresh." -A joke I wrote when I first started comedy ten years ago. Nice to know my joke writing is on par with one of the great comedy writers of all time. Too bad I can never use that joke now. O'well...good video.
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+Jason Downs I laughed. It's pure gold Jason, pure gold.
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The internet is filled with keyboard warriors, but I must admit that Seinfeld is still the most hilarious of all the popular sitcoms I've ever watched. Albeit, George Costanza made the show all the more funny, rather than Jerry (the character). But it was the most amazing TV writing in comedy I've seen to date.
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+Debarshi Kanjilal what are you talking about? I understood the bulk of your comment, but what does any of it have to do with keyboard warriors?
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+Alex Mack Agreed.  Jerry Seinfeld co-wrote the entire script, and purposely made Costanza, Kramer, and Benice funnier than his character.  However, his wit does not discount other people's wit if they type down their jokes.  It's just the way Jerry does his comedy routine.
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They should have labeled this 'Jerry Seinfeld. Strictly For Comedians'. It's frustrating seeing all the negative comments from people who have never told a joke onstage in their lives. 
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+Louis Johnson dude, be thankful for the morons. but for them, the rest of us could not succeed ; )
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I'd crack a Jew joke here but I realise which channel I'm on xP
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+Dylan G Lee er, fyi, all channels are controlled by jews
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What are some books to read about this? I didn't know they arranged syllables and things like in songwriting. 
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iambic pantameter is a good start. Thanks for answering my question assholes :p
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+Mike J I have a few books on comedy: Stand up Comedy the book by Judy Carter, the Comedy Bible by same author and How to be a working comic by Dave Schwensen. All are solid. The bible is all things comedy and not just stand up.
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Anyone else noticing he is becoming to look like Goofy??? AHyykAHHUYYUK
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+abu ryad get a mirror, look at yourself, then come back and apologise. ok?
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I love Jerry Seinfeld as an Actor and Comedian
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This man is my hero. I can't imagine anybody else being more fun to hang around with. Thank you for the Seinfeld show!
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This segment should be under 20 seconds long, and it should just be a black screen with the words "Get Larry David to write it for you" on it.
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Wouldn't this be a better question for Dave Chappelle, or Bill Burr, or Dave Attell, or Lavell Crawford, or 1000 other people who are actually funny!!!???
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He knows what he's talking about, I just don't find him funny.
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When he got to, "cause they were never fresh" I laughed pretty good even though he's not really telling the joke here, really goes to show you sometimes just the words can make all the difference.
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Wow, he is really popular. If you replaced him with an actor telling you the exact same things, you'd get 60:40 thumbs, but when Seinfeld does it, it is 95% thumbs up ...
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Not sure why he is so popular. I guess in his heyday people's sense of humour was different.
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Was the cameraman drunk?
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I'm steal waiting for the humor.
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941,948 people HAVE been interested in this.
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+Sacha Proctor They THOUGHT they'd be interested in this.
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he's my favorite comedian,nobody stands a chance against jerry seinfeld
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nice vid, shame someone had to almost ruin it with the idiot music.
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Always a fan of Jerry Seinfeld, even read Sein Language twice or three times, just has a natural talent of being an observational comedian
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Andy Askren Shared on Google+ · 4 months ago
Did I post this already? Can't post it enough. Gold. 
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Sounds like comedy is about honesty, paying attention to how things are literally said, and yes, cool words that let all of the creativity go mad (based on the first and second things I just mentioned.) No?
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I once (Dane) cooked my Pop Tarts and they didn't taste funny.  Also chimps playing with there dirty sticks could not be funny too. Ok , going back to watch NPR radio now.
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that whole pop tart thing, I thought was not entertaining at all!!!!!
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so cheap of NYT to force ads on users before video begins. shameless greedy pigs
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Adblock Plus is free and works great!
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this stuff is actually funny
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Please, Jerry!!!! Grow your hair back out...like even a 1/4 inch. ♡♡♡
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this video has some of the worst cinematography i've ever seen. why does the camera person keep going in and out of focus for no reason? very distracting
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This video stinks! It would be much more entertaining and insightful to just see the first 100 iterations of "They can't go stale, because they were never fresh." The genesis of that joke all the way to the finish. I can do without this rest of the happy horseshit.
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Bania: Why do they call it Ovaltine? The mug is round; the jar is round... they should call it Roundtine. (pauses) That's gold, Jerry! Gold!
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"the wrong'er some thing is the right'er it is" said the cleanest comedian ever.
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I know what you mean. But Jerry meant getting angry and compulsive towards something as small as a poptart.
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You do know both jerry and Larry wrote the show. Not just larry
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Larry did bear most of that burden, save the final 2 seasons. That was mostly Jerry (and actually 2 of my favorite seasons in the history of the show).
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Yes! I don't like that cursor flashing at me, either.
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I could do this, "writing comedy"
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He looks amazing, at his 60s!!
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Urban Brain Shared on Google+ · 7 months ago
Jerry Seinfeld is one of my heroes.  His observational humor is just amazing.  So this little interview with the master was a great treat worthy of being shared.  "How to Write a Joke" with Jerry Seinfeld. 
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He should've said pop tarts were like the obelisk in 2001: A Space Odyssey and we were the chimps in the dirt playing with sticks.
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Seems a little overcomplicated..... I just be funny without a script....
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do people writing stand usually write out what they intend to say word for word like jerry did in the video or do they usually write short points/bullets about their jokes? i was just wondering
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+Minh Pham the first one. good comedians are always working on their bits...polishing them, making them tighter. that;s the art form ; )
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Jerry giving us such a detailed analysis of his work almost feels like a magician letting us see behind the curtain.
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sorry, just stole a joke from Larry David. ~.~
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The Pop Tart is the quintessential breakfast for parents in way over their heads.
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Someone 1: Dude stop trying to give my sister a strip pole! Someone 2: It’s just a present. Someone 1: Well forget about ok. Someone 2: Fine. Someone 1: ..…Anyways what are you giving her for Christmas? Someone 2: Oh you know just some make-up, a purse, a book and a fireman’s pole that comes with some money thrown at her. Someone 1: Sorry? Someone 2: I mean……nothing. Someone 1: Dude firstly stop trying to get with my sister, and secondly a fireman and a stripper pole are practically the same. Someone 2: Oh I'm sorry, I don’t remember the last time a couple of strippers save me from a burning building. You know, if they’re not too busy doing business with businessmen. Someone 1: What? Someone 2: Can I oink your sister? Someone 1: Get out! Someone 2: Oh come on, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't mind getting that rod….if you know what I mean. Someone 1 chases Someone 2 with a knife
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He didnt write all episodes.....
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pop tarts were a great idea. what else can you put in your toaster besides bread? its boring that you could put only one thing. thats why people like it.
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Waffles, English muffins, bagels, the list goes on and on.
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Learning from a master. Take notes children.
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But only on a yellow pad with their blue clear barrel Bic pens.
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I think Jerry shows you can be funny with words. You don't have to be a bad ass. You can just enjoy words. You can live in your own head and be perfectly entertained. He preaches a personal religion in a way. It's a philosophy of happiness. Just watch the world and laugh at the irony. Mock everything that's a threat, reducing it all to silly. We don't have much control over what happens but we have total control over what we perceive happens.
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+Annabella Cruze  I love Larry too and curb :) I love things that are simple. It's like a magician that lets you see how the trick works but you still love thr trick. There's no barrier between the performer and the audience. It's very enabling.   
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2:02 What I wanna know is if he uses the cristal or the round stic.
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WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH POP TARTS I MEAN, COME ON
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+MegaDrummerboy2009  ..they don't pop, and they don't tart
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Made2Write Shared on Google+ · 8 months ago
Jerry Seinfield a explicar como escrever uma piada… imperdível!
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I find Seinfeld fascinating. He has a unique confidence that gives him the opportunity to be brilliant.
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are you serious.. the words chimps, dirt, sticks? Obviously Larry David wrote all of Seinfeld and Jerry sat there eating pop tarts
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that's gold jerry, gold!
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Watch the Stern interview with him.  No one could ever love Seinfeld as much as Seinfeld.  His show was a big deal.  I think he has a hard time coping with no one giving a hoot any more. But he's not nearly as funny now as then.  He's rich enough to waste 2 years writing something?  Congratulations!  He has done benefit concerts and donated to charities...yet he might feel better about himself if he did more to help others.  He thinks of himself higher than most people or entertainers see him.  Without George and Kramer, he bores me personally.
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I neva gave a hoot mayne.
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frickin learn how to focus a camera this video is pissing me off
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can't go stale because it was never fresh..that beats his boron taxi driver joke
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Oh, Jerry. You silly fool. We're interested in everything you do.
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Jerry Seinfeld gets people's attention including yours
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"I know it sounds like nothing...and, it is nothing."
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The comments I read on here criticizing Jerry the unfunny jew Seinfeld, is actually funnier than the actual video.
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My favorite moments of Seinfeld is when he's just talking, or interacting with someone in a conversation.
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Jerry is one of the most unfunniest comedians that I know, while Seinfeld is one of the funniest shows I´ve ever seen. It´s funny, isn´t it?
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Learn how to focus a camera you scrub.
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Brunch. Has he done a joke about brunch? If not, why? Brunch is better than pop tarts. As we all know, brunch is half way between breakfast and lunch. But what about linner? How come we don't have linner? You know, half lunch half dinner? Well I'll tell you why we don't have linner, it's because after we waste most of the day putting things off with breakfast, brunch and lunch, we realise we have gotten nothing done and have to pull our finger out and get something done before we clock off, go home and have friggen dinner!
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think that "bit" could use a bit of work
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I have to go get a glass of water.   Ok, I'm back.    With imagination like that why isn't Jerry writing children's books?  A children's story about nothing has got to be funny somehow.
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He tried warning you.
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like every word out of his mouth has to be a sensational hit. he probably did the interview a favor by showing up to begin with.
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Adi Hillel Shared on Google+ · 1 year ago
‘The wronger something feels, the righter it is’ – Jerry Seinfeld on funny writing. #writing   #comedy  
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Thanks for nothing, Jerry.  :-)
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One of the worst jokes I've ever heard. Larry David runs miles around this guy
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Larry seems to be the kind of guy that doesn't really feel comfortable in that type of setting
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+Chris G Watch Jerry Seinfeld's Howard Stern interview. It explains a lot.
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Matt Williams Shared on Google+ · 1 year ago
Jerry Seinfeld tells how to write a joke.   I know what he means about the blinking cursor.
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"Do you have a special pen?" 10 second slater "Oh you can't be in this?"
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why isnt he on jupiter reporting in on how the luxury colonies for poor ppl are coming along?
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What a comic. I got one, why did the chicken cross the road? Because Jerry Seinfield was trying to tell him a pop tart joke. 
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The most overrated comedian ever!
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trick question: you don't. have you SEEN seinfeld standup....
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Hey he was right, turns out I didn't care about anything he said in this video. 
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Jerry your the best!!!
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Jaimie Shared on Google+ · 10 months ago
Funny and and idea of the craft of joke making
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My jokes can't get old because they were never new.
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I have no idea how this guy ever became famous, he is not funny and has a squeaky ass winy Jew voice that is annoying .. this guy could not touch a guy like Don Rickles if his life depended on it.. now that's funny..  the real star of Seinfeld was Kramer and George, Jerry Seinfeld sucks, he is the worst of all the Jewish comedians, I say the Jews because they are right up there with the black people even funnier .. Jerry go away and stay away.
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stick to writing for tv your stand up sucks balls
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Title should read "Jerry Seinfeld Interview:Why I Like My Joke About Pop Tarts"
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+BoBGAD The mass, mob are idiots, porn, tv, sports zombies Money doesnt = talent, value. Like i said, overrated, loved by some Newyork city rats.
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He is good writing jokes, but boring at delivering jokes.
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oooooh, I just watched a funny video let me try to be funny!
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My jokes can never get old because they were never new.
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"cant go stale because they were never fresh"...I smell larry.
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I can't believe he's 60! Now I feel old!
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Seinfeld is overrated. I beat him in a joke off on west 54th street. Or was that a jerk off???
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he got rich because of Larry David's comedic genius and insistence on commitment to singular vision. 
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booooo....    booooooo
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itt: some people trying to be funny, others saying their not funny. I'm not funny.
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What a hack. Thank god for Larry David
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part of the reason his brain is able to be so funny is that he is so wildly rich and successful that there is zero smidgen of doubt in his mind that he is funny, which allows his acts to have an impenetrable presentation
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I used to do my electronic revision on yellow pads just like Jerry's!
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