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Beginnings: The Breakthrough Moment

Jerry Seinfeld, Comedian

“I thought, ‘I think I can live on $50 a week.’”

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Jerry Seinfeld at the Comedy Strip.   

I was working at Brew Burger on Third Avenue. I did the lunch shift there, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It was a pretty good job — I was out very late at night, and I could get in at ten. It was interesting to see people come in for lunch from their real jobs — my whole life, I’ve never been around people that had real jobs, really. I especially liked the guys who would come in and drink a lot during lunch — I always just wondered about, you know, what else is going on here?

I would make about $14 to $17 a day, which I could live on. And then I got a job emceeing at the Comic Strip on Second Avenue and 81st, and that paid $25. Then I got two nights — that made it $50, so then I had $50 a week, and I thought, I think I can live on $50 a week. I handed in my apron — I remember the moment so clearly. It was a red apron, and I gave it to the guy across the bar, and I knew this was the greatest moment of my life. I knew that I would never again not be telling jokes to make money.


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