Jerry Seinfeld gave an in-depth interview to GQ Magazine ahead of the release of Unfrosted, his movie about the advent of, and we are not making this up, Pop Tarts. In that interview, in such a high-profile outlet, he made a comment that has set all sorts of hares running across Hollywood.


He spoke about his cast and crew, and people all across the industry and how hard they work, then he dropped a zinger:

“…they don’t have any idea that the movie business is over”.

Of course, the interviewer probed this answer and got him to elaborate:

“Film doesn’t occupy the pinnacle in the social, cultural hierarchy that it did for most of our lives. When a movie came out, if it was good, we all went to see it. We all discussed it. We quoted lines and scenes we liked. Now we’re walking through a fire hose of water, just trying to see.”

What does he think is now taking up people’s mental capacity?

“Depression? Malaise? I would say confusion. Disorientation replaced the movie business. Everyone I know in show business, every day, is going, ‘What’s going on? How do you do this? What are we supposed to do now?’

I’ve done enough stuff that I have my own thing, which is more valuable than it’s ever been. Stand-up is like you’re a cabinetmaker, and everybody needs a guy who’s good with wood. There’s trees everywhere, but to make a nice table, it’s not so easy.

So, the metaphor is that if you have good craft and craftsmanship, you’re kind of impervious to the whims of the industry. Audiences are now flocking to stand-up because it’s something you can’t fake.

Stand-up comedy is apparently going through something of a resurgence, particularly with Netflix and their high-profile specials of everyone from Ricky Gervais to Bill Burr and Dave Chappelle. However, maybe Jerry hasn’t considered that could be because it is cheap and highly profitable.


The performers get the ticket revenue and the cash from Netflix. Netflix gets content that drives a lot of eyeballs, but outside the fee doesn’t cost them anything to produce.

It is a win-win.

Doesn’t it feel a bit too soon to be declaring movies dead, particularly slayed by stand-up? If anything, big-budget and slick streaming content seems to be more of the threat, but at the production end that employs all the same people as movies anyway.

Is Seinfeld right?

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