Martin Messier

September 19, 2023

NLP coaching lessons by Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld was on Howard Stern a couple of years ago. Inside their hilarious exchange, he spilled this:

Jerry: I'm never not working on material. Every second of my existence, I'm thinking: "Could I do something with that?"

Howard: That to me sounds torturous, like you cannot let go! 

Jerry: Why?

Howard: So if I came over to your house and we were hanging out, you're kind of really looking for material.

Jerry: Not kind of! I'm looking for material! All the time! Making jokes is not work. It's a gift.

Howard: Like when you're with your wife, are you authentically with your wife or are you saying "oh, what she just said is universal and I can relate to that."?

Jerry: No, no, I'm not authentically with her, nor am I authentically with you right now.

Howard: You are somewhere else.

Robin: There's material in here?

Jerry: Yeah, I'm looking for a joke right now and guess what? There's nothing here. 

Howard: It sounds like a tortured life! And you say it's not.

Jerry: It is. But you know what, your blessing in life is when you find the torture you're comfortable with. And that's marriage, it's kids, it's work, it's exercise, it's not eating the food you want to eat. Find the torture you're comfortable with and you'll do well.


The transcript doesn't do it justice. You can't get all the humor without the classic Seinfeld intonation. But the gold is there.

During the entire exchange, you're hearing a battle of perceptions. Seinfeld simply presents a fact: he's always working on material. To Howard, it sounds like torture. To Jerry, it sounds like heaven. And he pounds the final nail when he reframes torture into a blessing in his last line.

Is he consciously reframing?

I doubt it.

Herein lies the superpower of NLP training: you get to catch that stuff on the fly when it happens.

Not only do you hear it happen AS IT HAPPENS, but you can pick up on nuggets to leverage with your clients later. Plus, you get to see what reframing actually sounds like in pedestrian, non-coaching or non-therapy settings.

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