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October 13, 2015

Seinfeld, Rock, Gervais and Louis CK Are 'Talking Funny' for HBO, Plus an Exclusive Preview

by Nick Zaino, posted Apr 19th 2011 10:00AM
E.B White famously summed up the general attitude toward analyzing humor when he compared it to dissecting a frog: "Few people are interested and the frog dies of it."

'Talking Funny' (Friday, April 22, 9PM ET on HBO) avoids killing the frog by taking four of the biggest stand-up comedians in the business -- Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Ricky Gervais and Louis CK -- and putting them in a casual setting to interview each other.

Comedy nerds will be satisfied with the level of details, and casual fans will be happy to hear the big names swap stories. The quartet shareS a certain amount of familiarity, with CK being the common connection between them. He wrote the screenplay for the Rock vehicle 'I Think I Love My Wife,' played a supporting role in Gervais's 'The Invention of Lying' and, as Louis mentions in the special, angered Seinfeld when opening for him in Boston years ago. Louis was still making a name for himself, and he introduced Seinfeld as the best comic in the world, something that automatically set up expectations Seinfeld then had to meet.

At one point, as you can see in our exclusive preview below, Seinfeld actually tries to tell one of Louis' jokes, only to have Louis tell him "That's a completely Seinfeld-ed version" -- and Seinfeld fans know exactly what that means.

It's fun to watch these guys talk shop. Gervais wonders aloud at one point what would happen if the people who pay to see comedians realized they could do it themselves. "They can play touch football, too," says Louis. "They can watch each other play football. But the guys who make money on the Super Bowl aren't going, 'If people play football in their backyards they're not going to watch this anymore."

Seinfeld is a master of clean, observational comedy, while Louis takes a much more personal, often profane and scatological approach. But they found common ground when Louis remembered the first bit of material that worked onstage for him, about how street signs should be punctuated. Seinfeld, it turns out, once had a very similar bit.

Perhaps the most valuable bit of information for those looking for clues on how to be funny is the simple statement that you have to have jokes. "Under this weird persona, under your crazy glasses, under your crazy voice, whatever gimmick you have," says Rock, "Henny Youngman has to have something to do with it."

A couple of other highlights to look for: a discussion on profanity, including Seinfeld talking about the only F-bomb he ever dropped onstage and Gervais discussing the perception of "mean" comedy. All in all, an entertaining and informative discussion.

Watch our exclusive preview
& more clips from 'Talking Funny':

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Ah, it's just the middle-aged guy version of daytime TV's The View.

April 21 2011 at 1:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Seinfeld wasn't funny in his show, never funny as a stand up comedian and is a pompous jerk!! How he became successful is a mystery. But then again, as we see today, you don/t need talent to get ahead.

April 20 2011 at 11:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to politickwoman1's comment

How did he become so successful? It is called being a well connected Jewish male in New York. Seinfeld is a talentless dult. The show Seinfeld was a success because it was really Larry David's show.

May 01 2011 at 1:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Seinfeld is never funny. He is also a pompous jerk. How he became successful is a mystery. Obviously, you don't need to be talented to get ahead.

April 20 2011 at 11:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked the sitcom / Elaine, George, Newman, most of the occasionals were great and made that show IMHO (Kramer and Seinfeld sucked). Seinfeld's stand up is lame. Chris Rock, Louis CK, Gervais are terrible. No, make that really terrible.

April 20 2011 at 9:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

seinfeld is a jerk just like the other azzhole jewboy howard stern. seinfeld is a closet fag like so many jew boys are and got his start on some jew producers casting couch.

April 20 2011 at 9:03 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

These are 4 of the funniest people in the world. We can use and need a few laughs today. More power to them.

April 20 2011 at 7:35 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Seinfeld is a pompous little as**ole who isn't one bit funny. By the way, that's how a former "date" of his characterized him too. A master of JERK.

April 20 2011 at 5:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Three of them can make you laugh on their own.. One needs a supporting cast..

April 20 2011 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like just about everyone I know loves the Seinfeld shows. But, if it were just Jerry, the show would not have lasted past 2 shows. By himself, he is terrible. But with Kramer, George, Elaine and the soup nazi, the his shows can't be beat. Had a chance to go see him in Vegas one year, but was not prepared to pay $125.oo each for tickets. His ego is just too much for me. Nothing worse is to watch someone who like Jerry stood out for awhile and now it seems he just wants to be mean and stir up trouble. Get lost Jerry!!!

April 20 2011 at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Seinfeld has to be the least funny "comedian" ever

April 20 2011 at 11:30 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to KELLY's comment

Jerry will be shattered when he hears this news.

April 20 2011 at 12:27 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ncinkman's comment


April 20 2011 at 5:52 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down

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