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Seinfeld Goes Meta on Late Night Shows: ‘It’s All Totally Phony’

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Jerry Seinfeld made his first appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers Tuesday night, but made clear that the show’s producers had worn him down by hounding him into coming on the program.

“Dave [Letterman]’s gone. Jay [Leno]’s gone. Johnny [Carson]’s dead,” Seinfeld quipped while explaining why he came on Meyers’ show. “I’m auditioning other shows. I want to have show that I feel comfortable going on, I wanna do well…”

“Yeah, it’s real make-or-break for you,” Meyers cut in, laughing.

Seinfeld then explained why he refused to do a pre-interview for the show, in which producers chat with guests to find out what they want to discuss in advance of the taping. During his explanation, the comedian revealed the behind-the-scenes mechanics of late-night talk shows.

“Here’s how a talk show works. It looks like he and I are chatting, right? ‘Oh, I see you went on vacation, I heard you went on vacation.’ Well, where did he hear that? His producer told him, ‘Jerry has a joke about his vacation.’ It’s all totally phony. And then I do my vacation bit, about the plumbing and Cabo San Lucas, and it was a nightmare, and luckily the nachos… And that’s great when you’re a new, young comic, or you’re an actor or actress with nothing. You gotta have it. But I’ve done a few things, y’know?”

Then Seinfeld jokingly turned on Meyers: “You want this job, right, you want to be ‘talk show guy,’ the desk… I think you should do the work.”

“Because let’s just be completely candid. I did not call you to say, ‘I’d love to be on your show.’ His people call, ‘When can Jerry do it?’ and [Meyers] did Comedians in Cars [Getting Coffee], so that was like, ‘You owe me a little,’ which I don’t. I owe nothing to anyone. ‘So you gotta come on my show.’ I haven’t got time for this, I don’t really need it, I don’t want it. But they keep calling, I’m not making this up, ‘Can you come on?’ So eventually I say, ‘Ok, fine, I will go on.’ So then, what do you think his producer says? ‘ Well, what do you wanna do?’ I don’t wanna do anything! I don’t want to be on these shows.

Check out the the full (and hilarious) segment above.


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