Kate Hawkesby: What we can learn from Jerry Seinfeld

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 7 May 2021, 11:19AM
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld. (Photo / AP)
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld. (Photo / AP)

Kate Hawkesby: What we can learn from Jerry Seinfeld

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 7 May 2021, 11:19AM

I listened to a podcast the other day which got me thinking, which is probably the point of podcasts.

I got lured into this podcast by comedian Kevin Hart, purely because his guest was Jerry Seinfeld, and I love Jerry Seinfeld.

He is the old school style of comic who has that rare ability to transcend generations with his humour, because it’s generic.

It’s small observations of life, it’s not weighty political activism or current affairs based, it’s just little observations, and in that is his genius.

Anyway, Kevin Hart just FYI is no great podcast host, I’m not sure why he’s dipping his toe into it, he tended to talk more about himself than ask any pertinent questions of Jerry, but when Jerry did get to speak, he spoke truth, and wisdom.

He is all about work ethic, something sadly remiss these days.

I don’t know how we seem to have bred that out of the human race but it feels like we have.

Younger generations appear more work shy, less driven, more into work life balance and how much leave they get versus putting in the hard yards.

Jerry Seinfeld’s mantra is ‘just work,’ that’s it.

He said there’s too much apathy these days, and all you actually have to do to get ahead, is just work. Keep going.

He said the only question in life should be, are you working? 

It doesn’t matter what at, it could be your pottery class, or your 9 to 5 job, the point is to just keep going.

To work for something, or towards something, he said, is greatness, that’s the top.

As long as you’re working, doesn’t matter on what, put some effort in.

To love your craft, well that’s the icing on the cake, but he says too often these days we are obsessed with what could make us happy and looking for that, instead of just putting in our best efforts now. 

This struck me given a survey a couple of months ago showed 79 percent of Kiwis want to change their job.

Jerry Seinfeld also pointed out these post Covid times are of course tricky times to be working anywhere, but particularly in his line of work, comedy.

Actually it’s not just comedy but all media is tricky these days. We live in cancel culture, he says we swim in toxic water, our ecosystem has never been more toxic and all we can do is swim to survive.

He points out that the comics who get stuck in the times, in the culture of the day – they’re making a mistake. Nobody wants to hear a Clinton joke now, he says. Reacting to the current climate is short-sighted, because it will change. 

All you have to do, according to Seinfeld, is keep swimming. Culture, he claims, is liquid, it’s fluid and you can’t pin too much on the here and now.

His approach of ‘just keep working’ means survival and longevity, and in that way, he says, you’re winning. So if you’re heading out the door to work shortly, see, just by doing that, you’re already winning.