There was a time a while back – do all my posts have the words “a while back” in them or do they just seem to – where, one season, Jerry Seinfeld was nominated for an Emmy Award as “Outstanding Lead Character In A Comedy Series” and the following season, he wasn’t.
At that time, I was working on a sitcom being directed by a man who had previously directed numerous seasons of Seinfeld. As the Emmy Award ceremony was approaching, in the back of my mind, it occurred to me that maybe I could write a monologue about that, slip it to the director, in hopes that the director would pass it along to Jerry and perhaps he might be interested in performing it on the Emmys.
So that’s what I did.
I completed the monologue, and I submitted it to the director. But, instead of saying, “Would it be at all possible for you to get this monologue to Jerry Seinfeld and see if he might be interested in performing it on the Emmy Awards?”, I handed him the material and I said,
“Do what you want with it.”
Hoping he would do what I wanted him to do, without my directly requesting him to do so. Why did I do it that way? Because I’m shy, I have trouble asking for favors, and because I am not, in any identifiable manner, a grownup.
The next thing I know – not the next thing in life, but the next thing related to this story – Jerry Seinfeld is performing at the Emmy Awards, doing almost exactly what I had written.
And that was that. (No, I did not later speak to the director about it. Why not? See: Two paragraphs above.)
When that occurrence took place, I thought to myself,
“Hm. Jerry and I are funny people. We must have both thought of the same thing.”
But it never felt right.
Today, for inexplicable reasons, even to myself, I am attempting an improved version of what I had written back then and had seen Jerry Seinfeld deliver at the Emmys.
Just go with it, okay?
THE SCENE: THE EMMY AWARDS CEREMONY. JERRY SEINFELD ENTERS, TO APPRECIATIVE APPLAUSE.
Thank you, and good evening. I am happy to be here tonight, hobnobbing with the most illustrious luminaries in television. And believe me, I can hobnob with the best of ‘em. Bring ‘em on. I will hobnob them into the ground.
I am here tonight to present the award for “Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series”, and though this is an exciting moment for the five talented nominees, in all honestly, since I am not one of them, I really don’t care.
Am I bitter? Perhaps. But not entirely without reason.
You see, last year, I was nominated for “Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series.” But this year, the Emmy Award Nominating Committee, in their unquestionable wisdom, has decided to exclude me from the list. You know how they say, “It’s an honor just to be nominated”? Well then how are you supposed to feel when you’re not?
(OBJECTIVELY SELF-EVALUATING) “You… stink!”
Of course, many talented comedians are not nominated every year. The great Kelsey Grammer is not always nominated. So when it comes to losers, I am in excellent company.
The thing is…
Kelsey Grammer plays “Frasier.”
I, on the other hand, play…
Do you have any idea what it‘s like to be nominated for playing yourself one year and then the next year, you strike out? What exactly does that mean? That somehow this year, I am less competent at playing myself than I was last year? That must be the case, because…
Last year – Nomination.
This year – No nomination.
And I’ll tell you the crazy part. Although professional adjudicators have determined that I am not the “me” I was last year, frankly,
I can’t tell the difference!
It’s still me! A character I’ve been playing, quite competently I believe, my entire life. I mean, I’ve heard people say, “You’re not yourself today, Jerry.” But that is not the same thing. I am an expert on “me” and I’m telling you,
I am the same “me” every day!
I don’t see my “me” varying from year to year. And yet, the Emmy Award Nominating Committee, again in their unquestionable wisdom…
(AS AN EMMY AWARD NOMINATING COMMITTEEMEMBER, CONTEMPLATIVELY RUBBING HIS CHIN): “I can’t put my finger on it. There is just something missing.”
What are they talking about? It’s me!
I have wracked my brain, studying videos, conferring with my co-workers, trying to figure out what I did when I was “on fire” playing me last season, whereas this season, that fire has apparently gone out.
What could possibly have happened? Have I actually, like an aging ballplayer, somehow lost a step playing myself? Have I unknowingly become blasé about the process and started “mailing myself in”?
Or, what if – and this is really scary – I am losing my identity in actual life and it’s simply reflecting itself in my performance on the show? Do you understand what that means? It’s not that I’ve “lost it” on television. Television’s the shadow. What is really disappearing is me. “My God! What’s to become of me!?!” (REACTING) That was pretty good. Maybe I should try drama.
Anyway, before I disappear entirely… the nominees for “Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series” – who play somebody other than themselves – are…
That wasn’t too bad. I feel better now. Don’t ask me why.
It was just something I had to do.