Jerry Seinfeld Still Has It

I love watching standup comedy.  I’ve always thought that good standup is 50% content and 50% delivery. Some people are great at delivery (Sam Kinison, Aziz, Michael Richards) and some people have great content (Patton Oswalt), some are just pretty good at both (Jim Gaffigan, Daniel Tosh), while the legends are great at both (Chris Rock, Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle). 

It had been a while since I’d seen Jerry Seinfeld do standup, but I recently went and saw him that the Buell Theater in Denver.  Let me tell you, he killed it. I was crying for most of the show.  He’s still got it. Here’s a clip of some of his new stuff that he did on Jimmy Fallon: 

I also listed to him on Howard Stern where he did a really long interview.  He goes deep into his process of creating a joke and while he’s still doing comedy. I love long interviews like this.  

Some items

  • Talks about how bad network TV execs are about being able to determine what is funny. What they are good at is finding funny people, but the more involvement 
  • He was offered over $100 million to do another season of Seinfeld show
  • He has a strong sense that timing is everything. He knows how great his TV show was, he’s loath to do another one, he knows it could never be as good. As he says, you can love a comedian at an hour and 10 minutes and hate him at an hour and  30 and that’s why he had to end the show.  He said that the audience would turn on him if they did another season. 
  • He thought that Martin Short could have played the Kramer character
  • He saw no need to put women and blacks on “Seinfeld,” but after ten episodes Colin Quinn told him he was gonna get in trouble for it, and he did.

PandoMonthly’s Fred Wilson Talk

One of my new favorite things to do is watch the PandoMonthly videos.  They are really long – usually over 90 minutes – but it is a super in-depth interview with one of the internet’s big dogs.  My favorite one so far is a 2-hour video with John Doerr who worked early on at Intel and sits on the board of Google and Amazon. 

Last night i watched Fred Wilson’s interview.  Some highlights:

  • He talked about how it was a huge loss for Twitter to not buy Instagram.  He thought that with the trifecta of tweets, images and video, Twitter could challenge and possibly unseat Facebook.  But Twitter didn’t have the assets that FB had of pre-IPO shares or valuation to be able to offer them the amount they needed, thus they lost the sale.  He remarked on how it was just genius for Zuckerberg to recognize that possibility. 
  • He talked about CEO’s of his portfolios such as the Twitter trifecta, Etsy and Tumblr.  How Twitter is like the Beatles in that it had multiple creators who were all vital at different stages: Jack at stage 1 in building the product, Ev at stage 2 in building the company and Dick at stage 3 in building the business.  He also points to this terrific post about how Tumblr is all about David Karp and is really a one-person product. 
  • On that he told a story about how at Etsy, they were promoting the #2 guy to the CEO position and he went to the board and said, “hey, you’re promoting the wrong guy. That guy down the hall is beloved by the company, runs the biggest business unit and bleeds Etsy.  You should promote him.”  Pretty cool story of something putting the company’s interest above theirs. 
  • Hating Saas: he talked about why he hates investing in Saas companies (1:18 mark) because they get commoditized too easily. 
  • About bitcoin: he talked about how it is the closest thing he’s seen to a replacement for cash money and that’s why he’s investing.  He’s also investing there because he’s burnt out on social. 
  • About SnapChat: It’s not a replacement of instagram, but rather the text message (or WhatApp).  It’s not a photo service but rather a messaging service.  (see my thoughts on Snapchat here)
  • About blogging every day:  He hates how media distorts his message so he’s taken it on himself to create his own media so he can control it. 

All in all, some good stuff.  The full video is here:

Take some time to play

My mom sent over this video over the weekend and it is great.  You’ve probably seen it.  If not, it’s a good reminder that sometimes you need to stop what you’re doing and remember to have a little fun every now and again.

Billy Joel is Orange

Chuck Klosterman has a great phrase about Billy Joel. He says that on a scale of white to black, where white is the lamest someone could be and where black is the coolest person in the world, Billy Joel is orange. He’s cool the way your grandpa is cool. That’s why this clip is so awesome.

Here’s a clip of Billy Joel and Vanderville University taking a request from a young kid in the crowd. He could’ve said no. Could have said that he just didn’t have time. But he indulges the kids. And he really let it go. Listen to the crowd when he puts his sunglasses on – you can see the Old Billy come alive. He’s up for the challenge.  

I love Billy Joel. I was have. I recently listened to the podcast about him where he talked with Alec Baldwin about his career.

I was wondering why Billy had been married three times. He’d always nailed everything – his music, his image, he always did everything the way you wanted to. Why did he fail so miserably at his relationships?  He talks about how when he’s in the middle of an album he can’t turn “it” off. He thinks about every chord and lyric of every song, every second of the day, and he thinks you have to be like that because it’s art and he must get it right. But. As a result his relationships have all suffered and he was never really be there for other people.

Anyway these are two great clips. Definitely watch the video if you have a few minutes. If you have a little bit longer them listen to the podcasts it’s a great one too.

I also like what the music writer/pundit Lefsetz said about the clip

Billy does these college shows. Where he tells his story. Can’t make as much money as he does in an arena, but it’s much more fulfilling, it’s different. And at this small show, he knocks it so far out of the park you become a fan, even if you weren’t one before.

Billy Joel… Wasn’t he supposed to be a joke?

Don’t pay attention to the press. Hang around long enough and you outlive the critics. Don’t forget Led Zeppelin was panned by “Rolling Stone.” And we can’t even remember who wrote the review.

College kids are not supposed to care, they’re not supposed to know. But listen to them ooh and ahh in this clip. That’s what’s great about being young, the moment is the most important. It’s all about the now. Which is why we revere the youth, they’re untainted by experience, they don’t know what they don’t know, and they can let go.

Normally, “New York State Of Mind” is about poignancy. But in this case, it’s like being at Yankee Stadium, Billy is truly playing to the last row, and he has each and every person in the palm of his hand.

And he does Sinatra and acknowledges it.

And the longer he goes on, the more you realize that Elton gets all the accolades, but his old piano-dueling partner is the one who’s still got the pipes. You realize that Billy is an American, one of us.

Hostess Bailout

Good one:

Hostess Bakery plants shut down last Friday, the result of a union strike idling some 18,000 workers.  The federal government will hire most or all of these displaced employees.  Meaning….

The State Department will hire the Twinkies, the Secret Service the Ho Hos, the generals will sleep with the Cupcakes, and all the Ding Dongs are going to Congress.

Thanks to Mac and Rob Braunohler for the joke – also for pointing me to the funny John Stewart comments about it.   Here’s Mr. Steward, doing his thing:

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