Jerry Seinfeld Says ‘Seinfeld’ Was Like the Beatles Except for 1 Major Difference

It seems Jerry Seinfeld has been discussing Seinfeld ever since the classic TV sitcom ended in 1998. And yet, he keeps finding new angles to take on it. Recently, Seinfeld compared his show to The Beatles, including the reasons for it ending when it did. 

Seinfeld today
Jerry Seinfeld | 2020 New Yorker Festival/Getty Images

Seinfeld was a guest on The Tim Ferris Show podcast on Dec. 8. In discussing the end of Seinfeld some 22 years later, the comedian used The Beatles to help explain it.

What ‘Seinfeld’ shared with The Beatles 

The Seinfeld gang may have been the Fab Four of television between Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, and Jason Alexander. They were really five including co-creator Larry David. The show also lasted as long as the band was together. 

Beatles or Seinfeld cast
L-R: Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Jason Alexander | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

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“The closest I had and I would never compare myself in any way, shape or form, was the Beatles,” Seinfeld told Ferris. “The time frame of The Beatles was nine years.”

Jerry Seinfeld did not break up the show for the same reason The Beatles broke up

Each of the Beatles went solo, and so did the cast of Seinfeld ,sort of. Seinfeld went back to stand-up and his co-stars went on to other shows. However, there were no conflicts within the cast.

Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus
L-R: Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jerry Seinfeld | Monty Brinton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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“[The Beatles] broke up for different reasons,” Seinfeld said. “We had no discord on my show like they struggled with but the portion size of the Beatles just felt so right to me. And they were together about nine years and we were together about nine years. There was something about adding that other digit to go to 10. If people said to me, ‘How long did you do that series for?’ and if I said 10 years, I could just hear people go wow, 10 years, just the portion size felt too big to me.”

There were other reasons to end the show

The Beatles weren’t the only comparison Seinfeld made. He also discussed stand-up as surfing — and described making a TV show in other nautical terms. 

“The TV series got to a point, we did it nine years, and the way I was doing it, that was as far as it could go before it was really going to stop cutting through the water in that beautiful way that it was doing,” Seinfeld said. “That’s why I pulled out of it before I had to, before anyone wanted me to, because I didn’t want to be on a boat that was starting to struggle. I didn’t want to have that experience.”

Seinfeld was also thinking about the fans. He wanted to go out while on top.

Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander
L-R: Jason Alexander and Jerry Seinfeld | Joey Delvalle/NBCU Photo Bank

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“Even more than that, I didn’t want the audience to have that experience,” he continued. “I wanted to complete this gift to them in a way that they would always go, ‘Oh, I was given a lovely thing one time in the ’90s and it was just lovely.’ I wanted them to have it like that. No excuses, no if onlys, no ‘it did go on a bit maybe longer than it should have.’ I just wanted them to have this lovely gift. That’s why I stopped the TV series.”

If boating doesn’t work for you, Seinfeld has even more metaphors.

“I could also describe the TV series to you as a weather event that has an energy, that gathers and becomes cyclonic,” he said. “But every storm blows itself out and that storm was about the run out of energy, and so was I. I was at the center of the storm and I could feel the slowing of the cyclonic funnel.”