He redefined television comedy, and now an American cultural icon opens up about his stingingly funny film, Bee Movie, his kids, his cars, his wife—guys: memorize what he learns from Oprah!—and his top three rules for living well.
Over a late-night cup of coffee at Manhattan's Westway Diner in 1988, comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David had an idea: a sitcom based on the life of a New York stand-up comic. In July 1989, their brainstorm became The Seinfeld Chronicles, a quirky pilot that...yada yada yada. Everyone knows what happened next. Seinfeld redefined television comedy, won ten Emmys, and became a cultural phenomenon. Lines from the show are still lodged in our lexicon—not that there's anything wrong with that.
After Jerry decided to end the show in 1998 (an incredible 76 million viewers tuned in to the finale), he returned to his first love, stand-up comedy, and also happened to find a new love: In the year and a half following Seinfeld's last episode, he met and married Jessica Sklar, then a publicist. They've since had three children, Sascha, age 7; Julian, 4; and Shepherd, 2.
But Jerry, 53, still makes time for brainstorming sessions over coffee. Four years ago, he had dinner with legendary director and DreamWorks Studios cofounder Steven Spielberg; it was a serendipitous meeting that gave birth to an entirely new type of Seinfeld project. Bee Movie—the title is a twist on Hollywood slang for a second-rate film—is an animated story about Barry B. Benson, a bumblebee who leaves the predictable life of his hive in search of adventure. Jerry cowrote and coproduced it, and provides the voice of Barry; the cast also includes Renée Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, and Chris Rock. (And if you hear a familiar voice during the courtroom scene, yes, that's me.)
In August 2007, Jerry and I sat down in his living room on what he called one of the happiest mornings of his life: He'd just completed four years of work on Bee Movie.
Start reading Oprah's interview with Jerry Seinfeld
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