Jerry Seinfeld has reserved his place among the most iconic stand-up comedians in history through his unique brand of comedy which is a defining characteristic of most of his work. Often cited as a pioneer of observational comedy, Seinfeld’s work has influenced countless comedians including the likes of John Mulaney and Jim Gaffigan.
While Seinfeld’s stand-up routines definitely contributed to his prominence, the central part of his legacy is formed by the sitcom Seinfeld which has retained its popularity through the years. An indispensable part of American popular culture, the show received widespread acclaim because it broke apart from the formulaic conventions of the genre.
“My theory is that proportion is key to everything,” Seinfeld explained in an interview. “You’re making this TV show, and it gets really popular, and you have to stop at a certain point or it loses the magic. I’m not comparing myself in any way, shape, or form to the Beatles, but they ended after nine years when I was a kid, and there was something about that single-digit number.”
Of course, a major reason behind Seinfeld’s enormous success was Larry David whose eccentric comedic vision was translated by Seinfeld in such a way that the sitcom became a global phenomenon. After the end of the iconic sitcom, both David and Seinfeld have continued in different directions with projects such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
“You can teach someone aspects of making it in the comedy profession, but you can’t teach someone to be funny,” Seinfeld added while talking about the importance of having a sense of humour. “Being funny is one of the ultimate weapons a person can have in human society. It might even compete with being really good-looking.”
While growing up, Seinfeld’s sense of humour was influenced by a wide variety of sources. He drew inspiration from icons such as Jerry Lewis and Richard Pryor in addition to cinematic pioneers like Charlie Chaplin. In order to understand Seinfeld’s taste in cinema, we have compiled a selection of his favourite works.
Check out the list below.
Jerry Seinfeld’s favourite films:
- A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood, 1935)
- The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)
- The Heartbreak Kid (Elaine May, 1972)
- The In-Laws (Arthur Hiller, 1979)
- Glengarry Glen Ross (James Foley, 1992)
Seinfeld’s list is definitely an eclectic one, containing a Marx brothers classic – A Night at the Opera – which is often considered among their best works by some. Seinfeld paid a tribute to the film in his own sitcom during season 8 episode The Pothole.
In addition to that, Seinfeld also named Mike Nichols’ seminal 1967 gem The Graduate as one of his favourites. Known for its influential exploration of the American youth and its unique visual narrative, The Graduate was one of the major works of the New Hollywood movement.