A month ago, if you had told me I’d be interviewing Jerry Seinfeld for a national entertainment news show, I’d say you were crazy. But life is weird (or at least mine is).
One Thursday when I was at work, my manager called me and asked if I’d be interested in a sort of New York correspondent gig for Extra, the entertainment news show. Being an actor, I figured I could play the part of television interviewer. Adding the fact that nothing else was knocking on my door, I said yes. Besides, the idea of being in front of a camera that I wasn’t also holding would be a refreshing new twist for this TikTokker.
After some behind-the-scenes pitching, my manager arranged a Zoom meeting with him, me and several producers from Extra. The meeting was a breezy thirty minutes in which they asked questions of me, and I gave them my funnest self. I think most of my jokes landed. I learned that one of the reasons they were interested in me was that they needed someone to interview Jerry Seinfeld, who was celebrating all 9 seasons / 180 episodes of Seinfeld coming to Netflix.
The prospect of interviewing a comedy icon whom I’ve admired for decades was very exciting to say the least. I’d never really interviewed anyone before other than a few casual live conversations on Instagram. This situation with Jerry would be on national television. A thrilling possibility.
After the meeting, I called my manager to get a temperature. I felt it went okay, and he told me it went very well. “Congratulations” was the word he used. And then it hit me:
“Wait… Did I land this?” I asked.
“Yes. You got it.”
Holy shit. My first professional on-camera interview gig was to be on national television with Jerry fucking Seinfeld. Not bad.
The interview with Jerry was to happen the following Wednesday, September 29th. I feel like I should have been terrified or something, but I wasn’t. Strangely, I felt totally comfortable with the idea of interviewing him. That’s not to say I didn’t feel the need to prepare, because I certainly did. I watched, read and listened to a few past interviews with him. He’s also been part of my pop culture diet for decades, giving me hours of material I’d personally like to talk about with him, even without the homework. But luck favors the prepared. The biggest challenge was to constrain the questions I had for him to the seven minutes I would be allotted.
The interview for Extra was happening at Citi Field before a Mets game. Not only is Jerry a comedy icon, but he’s also a magician. I’m the least sportsy person on the Northeast Corridor, and Jerry got me to a baseball stadium before a game. That’s magic.
Since the Covid protocols were sensibly rigorous, requiring proof of vaccination and a negative test result within 48 hours of the interview, Netflix only allowed the interviewer to be there and no one else from Extra. But the Netflix people couldn’t have been nicer and more helpful.
After waiting for about a half hour, Jerry had arrived. There were reporters from three other shows (Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood and E!) and I was up first.
Before the cameras rolled, Jerry and I bumped elbows and had a nice back and forth as we had met earlier this year and follow one another on Twitter and Instagram. Then the cameras rolled.
The time goes fast, and I found Jerry to be a total delight. I could have gone on for another twenty minutes with him, but I only had seven and a very specific directive. All in, I had a great time. My only regret was wearing my transition glasses, which turn into sunglasses outdoors, where the interview took place. Totally unintentional and not my preference, but there it is.
Will there be more work with Extra? We shall see. For now, I’m very happy I got to do this and I’m proud of the end result.
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