Jerry Seinfeld Is Returning to TV, But It Almost Didn’t Even Happen

Jerry Seinfeld did return to television after Seinfeld. He hosted Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, but that was an unscripted interview show with his fellow stand-ups. In a recent interview, Seinfeld said he has been developing a new show during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. But he resisted it the whole time.

Jerry Seinfeld gives a speech at the New York Baseball Writers dinner
Jerry Seinfeld | Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Seinfeld was a guest on the first episode of Kevin Hart’s Comedy Gold Minds podcast on Jan. 26. Seinfeld explained what brought him back to television development and why he almost didn’t do it.

Jerry Seinfeld’s new idea was too good to pass up

Seinfeld wouldn’t spoil what his new show will be about. However, he described it as an idea so good he couldn’t resist developing it. 

“But then this thing popped up,” he told Hart. “One of my writers from the show said can we try and work on this? I go, ‘There’s nothing here. This isn’t anything.’ He said, ‘Let’s just try it. One meeting. Just give me one meeting.’ And it was my idea that I pitched to him just to be funny. And we started.”

Seinfeld likened it to a childhood metaphor. 

Jerry Seinfeld wears a suit on Zoom
Jerry Seinfeld | Getty Images/Getty Images for the Critics Choice Association

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“You know when you’re a kid, you had that hill and you had the sled on a snowy day and you take your sled out on the hill,” he said. “You gotta push to get it to start going down the hill. If you gotta push a lot, it’s not a good hill. If you give one push and the sled starts going, oh my sh*t, this thing’s going down the hill. That’s what happened with this idea. It just took off.”

The new show will be different from ‘Seinfeld’

The new show won’t be filmed before a live audience like Seinfeld was and it certainly won’t be 22 episodes a year. However, Seinfeld said he’d written off ever writing scripts and acting in them again.

“We’ve been doing it now about six months,” he said. “I haven’t shown it to anybody. I haven’t talked about it to anybody but I know once this virus thing is over we’re going to be putting film in cameras and making this thing and I’m going to be doing that again. It’s not going to be an audience but I never thought I’d go back to scripts, dialogue, casting, editing rehearsal, all that. I’m very happy in my work as a standup, very happy. But this thing just happened so that’s what I’m working on right now.”

Jerry Seinfeld was spoiled by ‘Seinfeld’

Seinfeld said he thought he could never top Seinfeld so he thought he wouldn’t try. 

“I did TV,” he said. “The ride I got doing that, here’s what was so intense about it. You’re performing for a live audience going out to 30 million people every week. There’s nothing higher than that. I remember doing The Tonight Show one time in between to promote the show at one point thinking ‘this is the smallest number of people that are going to see me this week.’ The Tonight Show used to be this big thing, whatever, it was five million people.”

Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus stand in his kitchen
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jerry Seinfeld | Joseph Del Valle/NBCU Photo Bank

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After Seinfeld ended in 1998, Seinfeld was content to leave scripted television behind and stick to standup.

“I never thought I would want to do another script and want to make something because I’m very happy in the life of standup,” he said. “I love the life. I’m in Chicago and Chris Rock’s in town and we get together after at a restaurant. I love that life, I love knocking around the clubs, I love working on stuff.”

Source: Comedy Gold Minds podcast