A while back, Jerry Seinfeld was a guest on Larry King Live. Anyone who’s a frequent reader of this space knows how much of a Seinfeld fan I am, so when I saw he was going to be on Larry King’s show, I naturally tuned in.
As always, he was not only incredibly quick with his remarks, but the things he’d say came out of nowhere. When a comedian - or anyone for that matter - is quick-witted, it’s apparent that it’s an art, to possess a brain that can respond that rapidly to an interviewer’s question - or a conversation in general. Producing a humorous retort doesn’t come easily to most people - which is why people who can do it are considered funny - but to think up an off-the-wall response is a skill that can’t be taught or learned.
Jonathan Winters had it and, according to many who were close to him, it kept him walking the fine line between genius and insanity. Robin Williams and Billy Crystal are others who come to mind who say things that make (some) people exclaim, “I wish I’d said that.” It’s not just being funny. These guys, Seinfeld included, have parlayed their talent into, as Seinfeld writer Larry David says, a pretty, . . . pretty, . . . pretty, . . . pretty, pretty” good life for themselves.
How good? When Larry King kidded with Seinfeld that he’d heard Jerry really didn’t want to be on his show, the comedian made as insightful a remark about how successful his life was as I’ve heard. And when I thought about it afterward, I realized he captured the dream job. I also realized there are precious few who can make this statement.
Seinfeld looked directly at King and said:
“I’m nowhere I don’t want to be. Wherever I am, I’m there because I want to be there.”