In a hilariously awkward interview with Late Night host Seth Meyers, Jerry Seinfeld has pulled back the curtain on how talk shows really work.
Seinfeld, making his first appearance on the show, told Seth Meyers that he was only there for two reasons.
The first reason? He’s out of options. “Dave’s gone, Jay’s gone, Johnny’s dead — I’m auditioning for other shows,” he joked.
The second, less flattering reason? Late Night producers hounded him until he agreed to be on the show.
“Here’s how a talk show works,” Seinfeld explained to the audience.
“It looks like he (Seth Meyers) and I are chatting, right? … It’s all totally phony.”
Seinfeld then explained the process of the ‘pre-interview’, when a producer interviews a guest before the show and workshops their amusing, ‘off the cuff’ anecdotes with them that they will later discuss with the host on air.
“Why should I have to do a pre-interview?” Seinfeld asked. “You want me here. I don’t want to be here.”
Seinfeld explained that the ‘pre-interview’ makes sense for up-and-coming talents, but is beneath someone like him.
“That’s fine when you’re a new young comic or an actor or an actress with nothing,” Seinfeld said, “but I’ve done a few things and I feel like… you want to be a talk show guy… so you should do the work.
“Let’s be completely candid. I did not call you and say ‘I want to be on your show’. I don’t need it… but they (the producers) keep calling so eventually I say, ‘OK, I will come on’. So then what do you think his producer says? ‘So what do you want to do?’ I don’t want to do anything! I don’t want to be on these shows!”
Seinfeld later told the amiable Meyers: “I’ve really enjoyed being on the show, but I am looking at other shows.”