Read Jerry Seinfeld's essay on the passing of George Carlin. It appears on June 24 as an oped piece in the New York Times. People keep telling me how great it is.
It's better writing than anything else in that newspaper. Seinfeld says that for comics even death is just a premise to make jokes about. He reports having called Carlin nine days before his death to compliment him on his recent HBO special and Carlin began making death jokes. They remarked on the deaths of Tim Russert and Bo Diddley.
Carlin said that he felt safe for a while. He always liked to fly an airplane after a crash, figuring there'd be a break before they come after the next one.
Seinfeld writes that Carlin invented stand up comedy in many ways. He says that when talking to other comedians, he can't even count the number of times he's heard somebody say, Carlin does it. Carlin already did it. Carlin did that eight years ago.
Seinfeld ends the piece saying that it makes him sadder that as he himself dies, he'll have to be thinking at that moment, "Carlin already did it."
Don't take my word or my precis. Read the essay.
Jerry Seinfeld is great.
Let me repeat that: Jerry Seinfeld is great.
What makes the Seinfeld show immortal is not the writing which is about the best on a sitcom ever. Nor is it the terrific sparks and play among the actors.
It's Jerry Seinfeld's heart.
No matter how cruel or silly or immature his lines were -- his innate decency just came through and complicated and raised the comedy up to art in all sorts of unanalyzable ways.
Then the press gives us glimpses into his life.
Thus I am just flabbergasted by the public outline of his decency. First, a year or so ago, a passing photographer caught him giving his all to push a cab out of what I think was a snowdrift. Then he was cited by local police for his courage at turning his car whose brakes were failing into a field (and in the process it overturned) to avoid hurting anyone else in an intersection.
Once I watched him on morning TV with Chris Rock and I think it was there that he said Rock was the best standup comic in the country. He loves to credit comic Robert Klein for all sorts of reasons.
His generosity always surprises.
Jerry Seinfeld has heart -- a totally unexpected commodity in his business or in any business for that matter.