Oprah Talks to Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry: This is the day I step into the next place in my life. I didn't walk in the house last night, I stumbled in. I had no idea how much is involved in making a movie.
Oprah: You've never made a movie before.
Jerry: No. I've been to movies, and I'll tell you, it's better to see them than make one.
Oprah: Tell me how Bee Movie came about.
Jerry: I asked Steven Spielberg to direct a commercial I was going to make for American Express. I'd never met him, but I thought, "What the hell—why don't I call? I'm Jerry Seinfeld, I'm not just nobody." [Laughs] Steven says, "I can't do it, but why don't we have dinner tomorrow in East Hampton?" I say, "That sounds great." Then I hang up the phone and go, "Oh my God! I'm a Jewish boy from Long Island, and I'm having dinner with Steven Spielberg!" It was like my second Bar Mitzvah. So I get up the next morning, I shower, and I sit down on a chair at 9 A.M. I was too excited to do anything but wait.
Oprah: I know what you mean!
Jerry: There I was, waiting until 6 P.M. when my wife, Jess, and I would meet Steven and his wife, Kate Capshaw. Now, my wife is one of the best-dressed women I know, but at 20 minutes before 6, she comes out and says, "What do you think?" and her blouse was just slightly see-through. Slightly. I then said something I'd never said before: "I'm not crazy about the top."
Oprah: Twenty minutes before you were supposed to meet Steven Spielberg!
Jerry: Exactly. Every husband knows when he has moved into DEFCON 2. My mind was spinning with all the right and wrong ways to talk to a woman about her clothes.
Oprah: Why couldn't you just say, "Honey, I can see through your top"
Jerry: Because when you're a good husband, you don't "just say" anything! You think first, especially in a moment like this. We'd only been married for three years then, so I wasn't very experienced. Being a good husband is like being a good stand-up comic—you need ten years before you can even call yourself a beginner. My skills were stretched to the max. I had to get this wife into another blouse without a fight.
Oprah: And the clock is ticking!
Jerry: And ticking. I started with compliments. Then I accepted all the blame for taking too long in the shower, or for showering in the first place, or for whatever I did wrong—it was all my fault. So I engineered the blouse change, we got into my Porsche—the one that's 43 years old and has a piddly ignition—and we have exactly the amount of time we need to get to the restaurant. I had wanted to get there early; instead of gushing about his movies, I wanted to show respect by being there when he arrived. But on Long Island, the police write tickets to the fancy-pants New York City people who flood their little towns in the summer.
Oprah: And they'd know you're one of those people because they'd spot your Porsche.
Jerry: Right. I'm on a straight road that I could have gone pretty fast on, because I really want to be sitting in that booth before Steven gets there, but I did 33 in a 30 miles per hour zone. So a day that started off with me waiting in a chair for hours turned into that scene in Star Wars where the walls are closing in on Luke Skywalker. Just as I'm pulling in to the place, I spot Steven and Kate driving in behind me. I think, "I could run into the restaurant and hope that Steven doesn't recognize me from behind." But when I get out of the car, he sees me and says hello.
Oprah: And you walked in together. Now, is that so bad?
Jerry: It wasn't. And at least I got this funny story out of it. That's the end.