Seinfeld: “This ‘new hour’ nonsense – I can’t do it.”
You’re gonna wanna read the New York Times Magazine’s new profile on Jerry Seinfeld and why he keeps doing standup all the time despite being worth as much as a Saudi royal. Above, a pretty amazing look at his writing process, which is all done by hand on legal pads.
If you need further convincing, here’s a pretty facinating bit on why Seinfeld will never pull a Louis and create a new hour of material every year, tossing his old material in the trash:
Seinfeld’s shows last a little over an hour, but he has about two hours of material in active rotation, so he’s able to swap in different bits on different nights. There is a contemporary vogue for turning over an entire act rapidly: tossing out jokes wholesale, starting again from zero to avoid creative stasis. Louis C.K. has made this practice nearly synonymous with black-belt stand-up. Seinfeld wants no part of it. “This ‘new hour’ nonsense — I can’t do it,” he said. “I wanna see your best work. I’m not interested in your new work.” C.K., who used to open for Seinfeld, has called him “a virtuoso — he plays it like a violin,” and the two are friendly. I asked Seinfeld if he thought C.K.’s stand-up hours, widely praised, would improve if he spent more than a year honing each one. “It’s not really fair for me to judge the way somebody else approaches it,” Seinfeld replied. “I care about a certain level of detail, but it’s personal. He would get bored of it. It’s not his way. It’s a different sensibility.” There was another big difference between the two, Seinfeld noted: “Working clean.” Almost from the beginning, Seinfeld has forsworn graphic language in his bits, dismissing it as a crutch. “Guys that can use any word they want — if I had that weapon, I’ll give you a new hour in a week,” he said.