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September 2007

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Eight Questions with Jerry Seinfeld

This is part of our Sep/Oct 2007 issue.

This November, Jerry Seinfeld is making his big screen debut as an animated insect in Bee Movie, a movie he wrote, produces, and stars in. He voices Barry B. Benson, a bee fresh out of college who is disillusioned at his lone career choice: making honey. On a rare trip outside the hive, Barry discovers humans are mass consumers of honey and decides to sue the human race for stealing bees' honey. We had the opportunity to give Seinfeld a call to shmooze with him about the upcoming film, fatherhood, and what's in store for his future.

AJL: There's a line in the movie where your character's mom says about a girl you're interested in, "I hope she's bee-ish" -- which is an obvious reference to your religion. How does your Judaism influence your work?
Jerry Seinfeld: I think it's more the heritage of being Jewish; you tend to make fun of things. I don't know why Jewish people do that, but they seem to do a lot of it. And I think what's affected my work the most is somehow when you grow up in a Jewish family, there's a lot of joke making.

AJL: What did you learn about bees while making this film?
JS: One of the things that you have to know about in the movie -- we talk about the fact that all bees, once they sting, that's it for them. You sting, your life is over. So it's a big step. You really have to control your temper. You don't just sting somebody because you get upset. You have to control yourself. Makes you really think about anger management, doesn't it?

AJL: Sure does. Speaking of bee behavior, where did the idea for a bee to file a lawsuit come from?
JS: I figured that bees don't know that we're taking their honey, and what if they found out. What would they do? And I see bees as very civilized and very elevated socially and I thought they would want to try and do this in the most civilized way. And they wouldn't want to be violent. They wouldn't want to organize an attack. They'd say let's try and do this like grown-ups. Let's settle our differences like mature adults. And that's why they go to the court system.

AJL: Have your kids gotten a chance to see the movie?
JS: They haven't seen the whole thing yet, and I think once they do, I think they're going to really like that their dad is a bee. But I hope they don't go up to bees after this. That's what I'm worried about is a lot of kids seeing bees after the movie and trying to go pet them.

AJL: Now that you're a dad, can you tell me what some of your favorite things to do with your three kids are?
JS: My favorite family activity is putting all the kids on the bed and then trying to roll them all up in a blanket. And then piling them all up on top of one another and I like giving them horsy rides. I like making up funny, crazy games. I like hitting them in the face with a pillow. I like when they push me in the pool. I like looking at them underwater. They're very cute underwater.

AJL: How do you balance work and family?
JS: Oh, that's a good question. Well, the answer for me is I am unable to. And as a result I'm not going to work as much after this because I have worked a lot in my life and now I want to make my family more important. So after this movie, I don't know if I'm going to do anything for a while besides perform stand-up which doesn't require that much time. You know, you can go out for a night or two and come home.

AJL: Do you think that you'd ever do another TV show?
JS: No. I could never do a TV show better than the one I did. And I wouldn't want to do another one that's worst. That would be depressing.

AJL: What do you hope people will remember you for at the end of your life?
JS: Oh, that's a heavy one. I hope that the humor in everything I did was original and hopefully funny. I try to be original. I try to do things where people feel like, well gee, I haven't seen anything like that or that feels new and fresh. So that's important to me.

-- Interview by Benyamin Cohen / Photo by Andrew Brusso

This is part of our Sep/Oct 2007 issue.
posted by Benyamin | 2:33 PM | Link | |
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