Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld is a reflection of Seinfeld’s near fifty years in comedy. But this book is so much more than pages of jokes, and that’s why I wanted to have a discussion about it.
Is This Anything?
I’ve always admired Seinfeld. His work is sharp and compelling. His comedy goes beyond the surface to the insightful, and that is reflected in the pages of this memoir. So if you’re looking for some of that classic, observational humor you remember from the famed 90s television show, you’ll find it here.
If you’re looking for what it was really like for a comic in the last half of the 20th century and into the 21st, you’ll find that too.
Behind the Jokes
I’m a fan of Jerry Seinfeld for the laughs, of course, but I also enjoy following his career as a creative. I’ve watched all the documentaries. I’ve watched Comedians in Cars (some of them more than once), because as a writer, I’m always curious to see how other creatives work.
It’s a weird business creating something out of nothing, and sometimes you just need to see what other people like you are doing so you don’t feel so weird.
Seinfeld shares a lot of that in this memoir. He talks about getting his start in the comedy clubs of New York and his first appearance on late night. He talks about the show. But the part that grabbed me came later.
What do you do after you have a mega-successful TV show?
The Later Years
There’s a poignant moment in the book when Seinfeld reflects on life post-show. He’s at a comedy show, and he suddenly realizes – he wants to be like the comedians on stage!
I loved this moment. It’s a rediscovery of the why. Why are you doing this thing? This thing where you open yourself up to criticism and failure. Why would you choose to do this?
Seinfeld shares that exact moment for him in this book, and as a fellow creative, it grabbed me by the throat. It’s so important to remember the why.
Seinfeld wrote this book in the heart of the pandemic, and he doesn’t shy away from mentioning it. This was another huge moment in the reading of this for me. He relates how there are no comedy shows right now, so he must find another way to connect with people who want to hear his jokes.
That’s the word that stuck out to me. Creatives are always looking for a way to connect with our fans, and this book just showcases the heart of Seinfeld’s comedy. He’s here to make people laugh. It’s that simple.
I freaking loved this memoir on so many levels. If you want a good hearty laugh, pick up a copy. If you want to feel connected, pick up a copy. If you want more, pick up a copy. Just go pick up a copy. You’ll be glad you did.