Sunday, September 27, 2009
Close Encounters with Jerry Seinfeld
I recently worked on a TV show called "The Marriage Refs". It just so happens that Jerry Seinfeld is the Executive Producer for this promising reality/talk show. For those who don't speak TV lingo, that means he's the big boss man.
Although we were only working on a tech rehearsal for this show (which means the video we shot is not going to go on the air; it was a practice run through, so to speak), Jerry Seinfeld was with us at the studio and there was a special energy in the air.
I usually don't get too excited about spotting celebrities here in the LA area. But for some reason, even seeing Jerry's car made me giddy. As I walked past the shining white Porsche before entering the studio, I could smell the new rubber freshness of the clean, black tires and feel the engine's heat rising from under the hood. The car shined with value and esteem.
When I entered the studio and saw Jerry standing there interacting with other producers, the stage manager and the host of the show, I couldn’t keep from feeling embarrassingly excited. I had to hide the smile on my face. It was crazy how absolutely similar he is to the character he played on Seinfeld. His speech, hand gestures and laugh are all the same. I kept expecting to see Elaine doing her horrible dance near the craft services (snack) table.
Eventually, I got over the giddiness as I realized that (A) he was an executive producer, so he wasn’t there to sign autographs (no, I didn’t try to get one) and (B) he might not be as excited to see me as I was to see him. In fact, I found myself disappointed that he wasn’t reciprocating my friendly advances. I smiled at him when we were on the far side of the stage, watching the rehearsal next to each other. He didn’t seem to notice me. When he passed me in the production office hallway and I tried to gain his attention, he simply scratched at his face with a finger and walked past me. “Harumph!” I thought.
I pondered how I might make him laugh. Perhaps in the bathroom. I pictured myself next to him at an adjacent urinal and saying something funny and unexpected like, “I bet you never thought you’d be peeing next to me”. I figured that even if he didn’t laugh, it would at least be something he remembered and maybe even talked about on Conan O’Brien’s show or something. I could be one of Jerry Seinfeld’s talk show anecdotes! I’d say “That bathroom story he just told Conan is about me!”
Unfortunately for me – and fortunately for him – Jerry had his own bathroom where he could create his own anecdotes (or maybe simply do what people normally do in bathrooms).
After some thought, it occurred to me that big name stars like Jerry probably have to create a kind of wall around themselves. One that serves to keep every would be comic from chatting his ear off about their MySpace page or to keep aspiring TV show producers from pitching hackneyed shows to him (“It’s like ‘Seinfeld’, only the difference is…”). He has to create a barrier or he’d never get anything done. He’d be too busy pretending to be as interested in his fans as they are in him. (“Really? Your mom watches reruns of my show? How interesting. Go on…”)
Having said that, I do appreciate celebrities who take the time to be friendly to their fans. I’m told that Drew Barrymore and George Clooney are very gracious in that regard. It speaks well of their personalities and patience. My hope is that sometime soon, I end up in some Los Angeles bathroom, relieving myself next to George Clooney. I know he’d reciprocate.