last month, netflix released the comedy special jerry before seinfeld. the title is a reference to the extremely popular, eponymous series that made jerry seinfeld a household name (known to everyone).
before seinfeld, jerry was a stand-up comedian, and the show was based on his stand-up comedy.
several years after seinfeld had ended, hbo aired (showed) jerry seinfeld: the comedian award. part of the show was this acceptance speech that is a popular video on youtube.
- as the title indicates, jerry spends most of this speech criticizing the idea of giving an award to a comedian. at :12 on the video he explains
first of all, comedians don’t need awards. awards are for people who are looking for work, we’re not looking for work. if you’re any good as a comedian you’ve got tons of work. we’ve all got wrinkled suits and smelly shirts from packing and unpacking and schlepping all over the goddamn country doing 10 million different kinds of gigs. secondly and most importantly, is um, your whole career as a comedian is about making fun of pretentious, high-minded, self-congratulatory, bs events like this one.
first of all is a good way to introduce the first in a series of observations or points. secondly is used to present the second point you’ve got is the same as u have. a wrinkled suit has visible, temporary lines or creases in the fabric. smelly means smells bad. schlep means difficult travelling. a gig is a job, usually related to live music or comedy. make fun of means joke about, laugh at. pretentious (acting important), self-congratulatory (telling yourself that u did a great job) and bs (bullshit–>fake) are all negative vocabulary. seinfeld is using high-minded (ethical) to criticize awards too, but by definition, it has a positive implication.
this suit jacket is seriously wrinkled. (fascinate.jp)
- at 1:05, jerry characterizes the event as a crock which is similar to bs. in fact, the idea is often expressed as a crock of shit.
a generic framed award that could be formatted for presentation to a hotel, a real estate agent, or car salesman. (displays2go.com)
- at 1:25, after saying that awards are stupid and getting a big laugh from the crowd, he mocks (makes fun of) awards in other professions
every real estate office has some framed, 5-diamond president’s award by the desk, every hotel check-in has some gold circle service thing, every car salesman’s a platinum jubilee winner. it’s all a big jerkoff. it is. the hotel sucks. the real estate person is stupid, and the only thing the car salesman is good at is ripping u off.
real estate is buying and selling land & buildings. framed means presented in a picture frame. jerkoff literally refers to masturbation, in this context the idea is that the awards don’t have any substance; they are self-congratulatory. sucks means it’s bad. rip off means take advantage of, give a bad deal.
to infinity and beyond is a catchphrase associated with buzz lightyear
- at 2;10 jerry continues to rip into (attack) the concept of entertainment awards.
it is beyond me that we feel the need to set aside a night to give out these jagoff bowling trophies six times a year so all these people can pat each other on the back about how much money they’re making boring the piss out of half the world.
it is beyond me is an expression that means i don’t understand, i’m confused. set aside, applied here, means designate or schedule. give out means present. jagoff means stupid. jerry doesn’t literally mean bowling trophies, he uses that unglamourous metaphor to make fun of other supposedly prestigious awards.
a (jagoff?) bowling trophy (trophystore.co.uk)
pat each other on the back means tell each other they did a great job; it doesn’t necessarily mean they actually did a great job. the piss out of emphasizes how boring hollywood productions are.
cam newton getting a pat on the back from teammate david yankey. (giphy.com)
- at 3:20 jerry has some particularly harsh (severe) criticism for one of his professions: acting.
i don’t know why we’re so fascinated with actors in this culture. they haven’t got a thought in their stupid bedhead hairdo mini-brains. we must honor this man. why? he pretended to be bob johnson.
bedhead is what hair looks like right after waking up, but it is also an intentionally messy hairdo (hairsytle) worn by celebrities. pretend is make believe, imitate.
michelle obama with an intentional bed head hairdo at a state dinner in 2011 (rex features / ap images)
- at 2:25 jerry makes a hypothetical observation (using past perfect and second conditional) and admits
if i hadn’t already won all these awards, i would not be talking like this
in reality, he has won quite a few awards.
and at the end of the video jerry spends the final minute thanking hbo for the opportunity they gave him to break into (start working on) television.
jerry seinfeld wrote, produced and starred in bee movie.
do u recognize jerry seinfeld? do u agree with his opinion that all awards are stupid? share your opinion under leave a reply