Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld

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While it’s not a memoir, you’ll certainly learn a thing or two about Jerry Seinfeld with Is This Anything? Like: when he knew he wanted to be a comic, he worried he wouldn’t be funny enough, but then figured he just had to be funny enough to afford a loaf of Wonder bread and a jar of Skippy each week. As a man who could have easily bought the entire Wonder Bread brand if he wanted, it turns out, he’s funny enough. 

When comedians are working out a bit, they’ll ask themselves, their spouse, a roommate, another comedian, “Is this anything?” like, do I have something here that will make people laugh? Does this idea have that kernel of truth wrapped in irony and sprinkled with absurdity that makes comedy work? In Seinfeld’s case the answer was often yes. The book is the result of forty-five years of writing down thoughts, ideas, and lines for jokes. Working them out on a yellow pad, he saved everything.

Separated into decades, starting out in the 70s and continuing through to the decade we just finished up, the book lays out the best of his material, with bits and jokes under headings like “Father Sofa,” “Lobster Tank,” and “Vivian is Back.” You can dive in anywhere and get a dose of his brand of observational humor. He’s still honing it on stage nearly every week because he loves hearing people laugh. And this book will make you laugh. But Jerry will be just a little bummed that he won’t be in the room to hear it.    

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