The foundation of Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy, whether in his stand-up or his ’90s sitcom, is finding the absurdities of everyday life, the significance of the insignificant.
And as he told comedic filmmaker Judd Apatow last year in an interview for Apatow’s new book “Sick in the Head,” he finds the perceived insignificance of his own life to be a calming, creative force in his career.
It’s why he would hang photographs of space taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in the “Seinfeld” writers’ room.
Here’s one of the stars “hatching” from interstellar gas globules:
“That would calm me when I would start to think that this was important,” he told Apatow.
Apatow replied by saying it would instead make him depressed.
“Most people would say that,” Seinfeld said. “I’ve often said this and people say, ‘It makes me feel insignificant.’ And I don’t find being insignificant depressing. I find it uplifting.”
To Seinfeld, stress and anxiety caused by both his own and the public’s expectations of him are based on artificial meaning attached to things. When he imagines himself as a speck on Earth, which is itself a speck in the universe, he feels empowered to take risks and create shows and routines that make him happy.
He brought up his worldview with fellow comedian Bill Maher in a recent episode of his web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Maher is more attuned to Apatow’s idea of man’s place in the world.
“You’re an interesting guy, Jerry,” Maher told him, smiling.
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