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Some people believe there is truth in every joke. Jerry Seinfeld does not, and he’s kind of an expert in jokes. His latest standup comedy special, 23 Hours to Kill, premiered on Netflix May 5. In it, he talks about some of the funny things in his life right now, a married man and father, a man in his 60s. 

23 Hours to Kill star Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld | Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Philly Fights Cancer

Seinfeld appeared on The Howard Stern Show on May 20 to promote the special. Even Stern believed Seinfeld was expressing his true feelings on marriage, kids and friends. Seinfeld explained why he wasn’t. 

Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t really believe the things he said about marriage in ’23 Hours to Kill’

When Seinfeld began doing standup, he was telling jokes about dating. Some of those routines became the subjects of Seinfeld episodes. Now that he’s married, that’s what he talks about, but he assured Stern and the listeners he doesn’t believe any of it. 

Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

“Howard, you don’t really think any of those things are things I think for real,” Seinfeld told Stern. “That whole bit I do about the tone, I didn’t know that I spoke in the wrong tone, I made that up. It’s all made up. I’ve heard other people fight about it. I eavesdrop. I listen in.”

Even Jerry Seinfeld’s kids know he’s just joking

When Seinfeld talks about his children in his standup, they know he doesn’t mean it too. 

“They understand at this point that I don’t mean anything that I say,” Seinfeld said. “Ever. On stage. It’s true. To me the dumbest thing people say to comedians, ‘You know what I like about a lot of your stuff, it’s so true.’ In your mind you’re thinking yeah, you think it’s true. It sounds true to you and that’s what makes you laugh. It’s all complete manipulation.”

Why Jerry Seinfeld makes stuff up for his act

Seinfeld has been studying comedy and performing it for a long time. He let Stern and his listeners in on some of the technique behind fictionalizing his act. 

“We will make up and say or do anything if the audience likes it,” Seinfeld said. “That’s the fun of it. No one’s going to check. No one cares.”

Stern did get Seinfeld to acknowledge that some of the things he says on stage is true. The point is Seinfeld will never reveal which is which.

Jerry Seinfeld | Andrew Lipovsky/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

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“Some of it, and some of it isn’t but nobody knows which is which,” Seinfeld said. “That’s the key. Comedy uses truth in quotes as a tool amongst other tools to catch attention, to hold people’s mind’s eye at a certain place. It’s very much a martial art of flipping people unexpectedly in directions they didn’t think they were going to go, but the manipulation is the whole thing. The truth is just a tool embedded in the manipulation because people respond to the truth.”

Okay, some of Jerry Seinfeld’s friends really do annoy him

Another bit from 23 Hours to Kill involves how annoying Seinfeld finds his friends. Stern took it a little personally, and Seinfeld confirmed he was right. Stern is one of Seinfeld’s annoying friends.

“Yes, you are,” Seinfeld said. “You are. Aren’t you also annoyed by me. You are. We can switch, we could get other friends but they’re going to have annoying things too. It’s the same movies and meals and holidays. Changing all the numbers in the phone is what makes it not worth doing.”