Jerry Seinfeld’s Top Trick for ‘Changing Modes’ Might Help Us All

It’s been years since Seinfeld aired its series finale on NBC, but star Jerry Seinfeld is still going strong. The comedian might not be touring due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. But, he found a way to trick his brain into maintaining stellar time management.

The ‘Seinfeld’ star lives for routines — especially during a pandemic

Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld
Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld | Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Good Plus Foundation

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In the “new normal,” everyone is trying to get through a day — whatever that means. For Seinfeld, that means utilizing “organized behavior routines,” as he told the New York Times.

“I do put my toothpaste on the same spot all the time. I’m not O.C.D., but I love routine,” he said.

“I get less depressed with routine. You’re just a trained animal in a circus. I like that feeling: Now we’re going to do this trick, now we’re going to do that trick. That makes me feel better. I don’t want too much mental freedom. I have too much of that anyway.”

However, despite having a routine, it doesn’t change the state of the world. That means the comedian can’t know when he’ll return to standup with a live audience. How does he navigate the new landscape and still stay productive?

“I still have a writing session every day. It’s another thing that organizes your mind. The coffee goes here. The pad goes here. The notes go here,” he said. “My writing technique is just: You can’t do anything else. You don’t have to write, but you can’t do anything else. The writing is such an ordeal. That sustains me.”

There’s another thing Seinfeld does to help him change from thing to thing or place to place — and it might help you, too.

This trick helps Seinfeld transition between things

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While some celebrities have rewritten their daily routine to suit the pandemic, Seinfeld has a more subtle tactic when he needs to transition.

“The first thing I do is put water on my face. I got it from the movie The Hustler, with Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman. That’s how I change modes from lying down to standing up,” he said.

“It’s like on Broadway: You need a curtain to come down between the first act and the second act. To me, that’s water on your face. And then I look at my face with water dripping off it. And that’s when I go, ‘All right. Let’s go.’ I want to look like Muhammad Ali on a coffee-table book.”

Seinfeld isn’t into at-home performances

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Even with the water-splashing and writing routine, there’s one thing Seinfeld isn’t into.

“I don’t like home show business. I don’t like these homey shows. I mean, I watch them. They’re OK. And I think it’s nice that people are trying to do that. But I don’t want to be doing that,” he said.

“I like wearing the suit and having the crowd and the energy and the crackle — I like the magic. I don’t want to know who you really are. I don’t want to see how you really live. We’re all just sick of people’s houses. They’re all so depressingly normal.”

He continued: “And the better the person, the crumbier the house is going to look. Because they’re too busy to do anything. The only people that have fabulous, fabulous places, stink. They’re horrible at what they do. They’re spending their money on the house instead of focusing on their art.”

That said, the comedian is certain things will bounce back, at least in some way. Still, he’s aware of the climate, and the difficulty it will be to joke about it in his profession.

“I wonder if people will find it’s more difficult to laugh right now. There is a general, base-level sadness that our species is under threat. You’ve got to feel a little sad about that,” he said.

“The laughter, when it comes, will feel great. But it might be harder to get there. We were putting together the trailer, and there was a bit in there where I was complaining about specials in a restaurant. And I thought I can’t lead with that. You can’t be complaining about that. That was not going to feel quite right.”