Sunday, 1 March 2009

More on Jerry Seinfeld

Funny. You write about Jerry Seinfeld one day, and the next day, you read about him in a book and then you meet someone who has a story to tell about him.

First, I was reading a book about project management when I encountered this story:

Jerry had a calendar that had a whole year on one page, and a red marker. Each day that he wrote, he put a big red X over that day. Jerry explained, "After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain." Don't break the chain!

Second, later in the evening, I meet a couple of sketch writers and one of them tells us she had attended a stand-up class in New York. The teacher of the class was someone who was once, years ago, in a stand-up class with Seinfeld. According to the teacher, his class had gotten along very well, they'd all hang out in a bar afterwards. But one guy never went to the pub afterwards. In fact, that guy was the worst performer; he'd do such cheesy, easy material that audiences would get bored of him really quickly. But the guy would always go over his experiences. He did not join them at the pub because he wanted to get home and go over what happened. By the end of the class, he had improved significantly. But no one took him seriously, because there were obviously far more impressive talents than his. The guy kind of felt it too, because he always took to the side a little. That guy was Jerry Seinfeld.

The lady who told me the story wondered how bitter the teacher must be, seeing his old classmate become the mega-star he became. Yet, the teacher was clear-eyed. He told them that this story showed the importance of working hard and not giving up.

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