Jerry Seinfeld: How to Write a Joke

Did you guys read the recent New York Times Magazine interview with Jerry Seinfeld? What surprised me was how obsessive Seinfeld is when writing his jokes. His stand-up feels effortless, but actually Seinfeld will nurse a single joke for years, amending, abridging and reworking it incrementally, to get the thing just so, writes Jonah Weiner in the article. Seinfeld looks for funny words (chimps, dirt, playing and sticks are all funny, he explains). The joke cant be too long or too short; hell go so far as to shave off letters or syllables from a sentence to pare it down. Seinfeld also avoids four-letter words, which he thinks are a crutch: Guys that can use any word they wantif I had that weapon, Ill give you a new hour in a week, he says.

Here, Seinfeld dissects a Pop Tarts joke hes been working on for two years…It reminds you just how hard it is to make something look easy.

P.S. Have you heard of Seinfelds online series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee? Including Alec Baldwin!