This report is on two of my, and I'm sure many of your, favorite comedians, and how they have changed comedy. I'm sure that you're wondering who they are. So, I suppose then I'll have to tell you. They're Mike Weiss, and... nah, I'm only kidding. They're Adam Sandler and Jerry Seinfeld. Mike is funny too, of course, but I don't know his act as well.
Both of these comics are, of course, Jewish. And amusing. Both of them also started out small, just having fun with their family and friends, and slowly moved to bigger leagues.
Adam Sandler, my all-time favorite comedian, had a very interesting life. He started out as a normal child, but as his childhood went on, he received hurtful comments about being Jewish, and they hurt him. So, being the clown he was, he fought back by making others laugh, and as he got older, he continued making them laugh. One lucky night in college, one of his classmates, Lorenzo Quinn, heard his act and decided to introduce him to none other than Bill Cosby.
So Cosby decided to hear Sandler's act in private. His act consisted of foul language that was a more popular form of comedy at the time. Cosby liked it, but told Sandler that he wouldn't be able to get anywhere unless his act was cleaned up. So, taking Cosby's advice, he cleaned it up.
At a club that Sandler regularly went to, he was heard by the co-manager of the club, who offered to be his manager. Adam quickly agreed after hearing that he was once the manager of Eddie Murphy. So, Tienken and Moss, his new manager and co-manager, encouraged him to reaudition for The Cosby Show. Before long, he ended up being one of the more successful performers on Saturday Night Live, especially with his character Opera Man.
As he continued on SNL, he released a new album, They're all Gonna Laugh at You, which his brother reacted to positively, as did his father, but not in front of Sandler's sisters or mother. After that album, he created a new album with the ever popular "Chanukah Song" on it.
In addition to after that album, but before as well, he had starring roles in countless movies. Well, actually, I could count them. Let's see... The Wedding Singer, Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, Billy Madison... well, and a bunch of others, but I don't really know them all. I guess I was right the first time... turns out they're countless after all.
Adam Sandler continues his life with his wife, Jackie Titone, who converted for the wedding, and his two bulldogs, Meatball and Matzoball. He's still running around like the little kid he is, and still being a funny guy.
Now it's time for Seinfeld, another funny guy. Born in the 1950s, he grew up watching a lot of television. In his case, it wasn't a bad thing. While watching channel 11, he discovered Abbott & Costello. To him, they were the very idea of funny. Along with Jerry Lewis, they were his idols. Once he was eight years old, he was planning on when to watch TV based on when his favorite comedians were on.
Eventually, he would watch TV every single night that the Ed Sullivan show was on. As a younger child, he always seemed to get what he wanted. Not because he was spoiled, but because he was very persistent. He would never settle for less than what he actually wanted. It was either everything, or nothing. All the cake, or no cake. The big toy, or no toy. And just like every kid, the most important holiday is of course, Halloween. Even as a child, he had a stand up act.
"There's nothing else. Family, friends, school... they're only obstacles in the way of getting more candy. Kids actually believe they can distinguish between twenty one different versions of pure sugar. Only a seven-year-old kid can actually taste the difference between different colored M&M's. I thought they were different. For example, I thought the red was heartier, more of a main course M&M. And the light brown was mellower, kind of an after dinner M&M.
And, of course, Halloween night itself. "Just give me the god-darned candy. I've got eighteen houses on this block. I'm not looking to really make friends here." Really though, that kid did have some nerve. I don't think I ever met a kid willing enough actually say that. Well, anyway, back to his life. Surprisingly, and just like me, despite his humorous personality, he wasn't the family funny guy. That role was reserved for his father.
Cal seemed to be able to get along with anyone, even the big Mafia boss, Carlo Gambino, who played poker with him. To Jerry, his dad wasn't just his dad, but a partner, or even a coach, when it came to comedy. The two helped each other grow better and better, and Jerry's father introduced him to the comic stylings of a different comedian: Bill Cosby. Ironically, Cosby influenced both of my favorite comedians. Too bad he isn't a Jew.
Cosby became another of Seinfeld's idols. When Jerry wasn't watching television shows, he was either memorizing Cosby's albums, or staring at the full length poster of Cosby that hung on his wall. Cosby was a huge influence on him. According to Seinfeld, he would rather sit at home and listen to the albums than go on vacation. His parents once took him to Amish country. He says that, "As a kid to see a bunch of people that have no cars, no TV, no phone, you go, 'So what? Neither do I! Who wants to see a whole community that's been grounded?'" Several years later, he worked that vacation into his routine. "That's the way they should punish the kids after they've seen Amish country. 'All right, son, get up to your room. That's it. I've had it. You're Amish for the rest of this weekend. And don't come down until you've made some noodles and raised a barn.'"
Throughout the rest of his teenage years, he continued to have comedy as his main focus. He wasn't very good at sports, and didn't have many friends, so it wasn't very hard. Once into his later teen years, he began going to clubs, until he was well known around Manhattan, and was getting paid.
Then and there, he decided: Comedy was his passion, and as an adult, that was all he'd ever really be good at, so he began his professional career as a comedian. In his adult years, he continued going to clubs, and on his way he met many comedian friends. And almost immediately after going to the clubs, he decided to take a huge jump and try for TV shows.
While dining overnight with Larry David, they hatched an idea for a sitcom within a time span of ten minutes. Now seeing as Jerry couldn't act, they decided to create a sitcom about himself, and not about him playing some bogus character. David described the show as being about nothing, really. It was a sitcom about natural things that could happen to anyone in life. They presented the idea to NBC, and as David put it, "We were laughed out of the building with it." But that's only what happened at first. Then, the vice-president of NBC, Rick Ludwin, loved it.
The show was so lifelike that one of the characters, Kramer, was actually based on one of Larry David's old neighbors, Kenny Kramer, a former comedian. In the midst of me writing this essay, coincidently, I happened to meet him. It was a very exciting affair, because Kramer, being Larry David's neighbor, grew to be friends with Seinfeld, and I got to ask him questions. For example, previously, I thought that Kramer was Seinfeld's neighbor, but I found out that he was actually Larry David's neighbor. I also learned, that Seinfeld is not very religious.
At NBC, the show was a complete failure, and he received comments such as "It's too New York," or, "It's too Jewish." But Rick Ludwin thought that it was great, and he was neither Jewish or from New York... so they tried it again — and this time it worked.
Jerry also thought that the show was good, because he was the one who wrote it. He stated, "I have no ego about the show, believe it or not. I don't even care if I'm in it, to tell you the truth. If it's a good show, that's all that matters to me."
I do want to bring up the irony in the fact that so many comedians have been Jewish, and those who aren't comedians are just funny. I find irony in this because Jews don't really have much to be laughing at, you know with the whole genocide, and the Holocaust. I also want to say, although my topic is a very funny one, I don't want anyone to think that I didn't take my project seriously, because I did. This graduation is very important to me, and I would never play around with a project like this.
In conclusion, I will say that both Adam Sandler and Jerry Seinfeld have influenced comedy a lot. Adam Sandler has brought out almost a new form of comedy that no other comedian has tried before. He has tried to bring out the child in himself, and it has worked as his separate schtick, that only he can do. Jerry Seinfeld had another sort of comedy. He has a specific mindset to focus on the miniscule details in life, and simply applies them to his act, and makes them funny. Both of them have definitely influenced me greatly, and I will never forget the experience of getting to learn so much about them. And I will end with something once said by another great comedian Jackie Mason: "Did you know that Jews invented sushi? That's right, we bought a restaurant without a kitchen."