Jerry Seinfeld is best known for starring in a sitcom loosely based on his life. Seinfeld became one of the most popular comedies of all time thanks to how relatable it all felt, even for people who didn’t happen to be single comedians performing in New York City. It all worked because to Seinfeld, life is hilarious.
The 66-year-old comedian still performs his standup act plus shares funny anecdotes on the Netflix series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. His act involves stories about his real-life family members including his wife and three children.
Recently, Seinfeld revealed how he gets away with constantly making fun of his loved ones. As it turns out, he’s making the whole thing up.
Jerry Seinfeld specializes in observational comedy
It’s not immediately obvious to the casual observer. But different comedians use different style of standup, including genres such as character comedy, insult comedy, political satire, and improv.
Seinfeld is the master of observational comedy, which essentially means finding the humor in everyday life. It’s the same sort of situations that Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer found themselves in during the NBC sitcom.
And that’s what Seinfeld continues even now two decades after the series finale of his hit show. One of the comedian’s biggest fans, Howard Stern, couldn’t help but wonder how Seinfeld gets away with mocking his family.
He revealed to Howard Stern that his stories are made up
Seinfeld did an interview on The Howard Stern Show to promote his Netflix special, 23 Hours to Kill. That’s where he revealed to his friend and fellow funnyman that most of his shocking stories are made up.
In the segment, Stern asked if any of Seinfeld’s jokes at his wife Jessica’s expense ever caused fights in their marriage. The Seinfeld alum had an interesting reply.
He said, “Howard, you don’t really think that any of those things are things I really think? It’s not honest. They’re all lies. It’s all concocted. Invented.”
Seinfeld continued, saying “it’s an exaggeration” when he tells unflattering anecdotes, thethings.com reported.
Apparently, the audience doesn’t mind that the stories are fabricated as long as they’re funny. Plus his family doesn’t mind having their lives exposed a little bit if most of the details aren’t even real.
Jerry Seinfeld thrives on exposing universal truths
One reason Seinfeld is so successful is he manipulates everyday situations to make them feel real, relatable, and hilarious. His family needs to have a sense of humor. But also, they recognize that Seinfeld’s job forces him to talk about them to some extent.
When Stern asked if his family ever gets annoyed with Seinfeld or needs to be reminded it’s all lies, the comedian said no. “Aspects of the truth are just one of the many tools a comedian uses to hold an audience’s attention,” he said while explaining his technique.
Harnessing universal truths — like the classic “What’s the deal with airline food?” — means Seinfeld isn’t necessarily talking about a recent flight, just flying in general. And when he complains about his wife, he’s not revealing Jessica’s deepest secrets.
He’s just assuming most people have spousal grievances. That’s why it works.