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Beginnings: The Breakthrough Moment

Jerry Seinfeld, Comedian

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

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.