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Jerry Seinfeld & Jim Gaffigan on the Difference Between Stand-Up and Acting

Jerry Seinfeld & Jim Gaffigan on the Difference Between Stand-Up and Acting


  • Jerry Seinfeld’s new film
    features a bevy of famous faces, including great actors and stand-up comics.
  • Seinfeld doesn’t take his work as an actor seriously, preferring to portray characters close to himself.
  • Jim Gaffigan highlights the difference between stand-up comedy and acting, sparking discussion with Seinfeld.
    hits Netflix May 3.

Jerry Seinfeld told Mo Rocca of CBS Sunday Morning, “I don’t take my work as an actor at all seriously.” It’s an interesting statement from someone who was the face of one of the world’s most successful sitcoms, and who now stars in Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story, which Seinfeld also directs. The film is filled with funny people who blend the line between stand-up comedy and acting (Bill Burr, Sarah Cooper, Amy Schumer, Cedric the Entertainer, Sebastian Maniscalco, Fred Armisen), along with great actors (Melissa McCarthy, Hugh Grant, James Marsden, Peter Dinklage, Jon Hamm, Christian Slater, Max Greenfield). Meanwhile, co-star Jim Gaffigan (Linoleum, Tesla) is one of the rare stand-up comics who is also a truly great actor. We spoke with Seinfeld and Gaffigan about the two different performative worlds.

Unfrosted movie poster

Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story

Release Date
May 3, 2024

1hr 33min

Spike Feresten , Barry Marder , Andy Robin

Columbus 81 Productions, Netflix Studios

“I became a comedian because that’s the only person I wanted to be,” explained Seinfeld, which makes sense — even if he ‘acts’ in Seinfeld, he’s quite literally playing himself. In Unfrosted (which Seinfeld co-wrote with his old friend Spike Feresten of ‘The Soup Nazi’ fame) it’s almost like Seinfeld is playing a character from a joke he himself would tell (which is kind of the case); it works. He addedL

Everyone else in show business, you have to assume some sort of persona that’s not you, but in stand-up comedy, you’re trying to get as close to ‘you’ as possible. So that’s why acting — I don’t know how Jim is so good at it, but I can’t do it.



Hugh Grant Says Arguing with Jerry Seinfeld Got Overblown & Bridget Jones 4 Is ‘Incredibly Moving’

The actor unpacks his working relationship with Jerry Seinfeld in Unfrosted and how he ended up crying in public while reading Bridget Jones 4.

Jim Gaffigan Responds and Says That Stand-Up Is a Kind of Acting

“I think that stand-up — I feel like a split personality. Because I totally get why so many stand-up comedians are so good at stand-up, but when it comes to acting, don’t necessarily go crazy for it,” explained Gaffigan, who added:

But there is the other side of me that, I love the process of acting, climbing into a character, finding aspects of that character within you. And I think some comedians, they do it in their act, they just don’t do it outside that.

“That’s what I was gonna say,” replied Seinfeld. “Don’t you think every comedian, even if they can’t act professionally — you have to be able to act to tell a joke.”

“Well, you know, even the basic conceit of performing it like it’s the first time you’ve said it, that’s acting,” continued Gaffigan. “So I think all comedians have the ability, but not necessarily the desire.”

“It’s the work, we don’t want to do the work,” laughed Seinfeld.

“I think some of the acting, kind of like living in the scene, is a little bit different,” added Gaffigan. “Also, comedians, we live without that fourth wall. So there’s very much an improv element that’s always ongoing. That’s why I think most comedians should [act], and probably are, but it’s just a resistance.” Unfrosted begins streaming on Netflix May 3, and you can watch it through the link below:

Watch Unfrosted

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