Oprah Talks to Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry: I don't like to talk figures, and besides, I never even went into negotiation. We just ended the show. I did the show for the people watching it, and I didn't want them to say, "That show was great in the beginning, but..." The Beatles created something that never trailed off. What a gift that was to their fans. If you're into the Beatles, you loved them from beginning to end.
Oprah: I was just saying to Gayle the other day, I'm really surprised I never married Paul McCartney, since all my other dreams came true.
Jerry: It's not too late! In fact, your timing could be inspired.
Oprah: When I first interviewed Paul in 1997, I was so nervous. We were live on a stage in New York, in front of a big audience, and I said, "I used to have your picture on my wall, and you were on the back of my cereal box. As I was eating breakfast, I'd wonder, 'Is Paul eating his cereal, too? Is he thinking about me?'" Oh, well. New topic: If I were to run into you on a Saturday or Sunday, what would you be doing?
Jerry: I'd be with the kids. Then I'd look for a moment to go for a drive in one of my old cars. Taking in a baseball game on TV is also a big treat.
Oprah: That sounds so normal. Someone once said you were the most normal, balanced, and collected guy, unless you were crossed. Then, whoever crossed you became dead to you. True?
Jerry: And somebody else said, "He's as normal as someone with 30 Porsches could be." I've had many of the same friends for 30 years; I haven't been crossed enough to even speak to that.
Oprah: What makes you feel crossed?
Jerry: I'm big on civility.
Oprah: So what are your top three incivilities?
Jerry: Number one, cutting people off on the road. Why are we fighting over eight feet? I love to just let others cut in front of me. I'm like, "Please—be my guest." It's a little thing that can change someone's day. That's what civility does.
Oprah: I used to give big tips to mean cabdrivers. I figured if I gave him $20, it might change his mood for the next passenger.
Jerry: I tried to build that principle into Bee Movie. When someone does a small task beautifully, their whole environment is affected by it. Incivility number two: the BlackBerry. You can throw the cell phone in there, too. We've fallen into a trap of ever-widening orbits of contact, and there is a total disregard for the present moment. I recently sat down for breakfast and asked a friend about a trip she'd taken. Eventually, she looked up from texting someone and said, "You mean me?" I said, "No, I'm talking to the stack of logs behind you." Then my wife got upset because she thought I was being rude. Then I got steamed.
Oprah: Not long ago, I took my senior producers on a retreat where there was no wireless service. For the first time in five years, people were present and engaged with one another. By the end of the retreat, everyone said, "This has been the most amazing time." All because they couldn't get a signal! What's the third thing on your list?