Archive for category Seinfeld
One of the great honors of my career was receiving the Edward L. Bernays Award from the Maine Public Relations Council. It’s the organization’s highest honor, and I’m humbled to have my name listed alongside some of the great PR people in our state. My acceptance speech shared a handful of tips gleaned over the years, and I though you might find it of some value:
Thanks, Linda for that warm introduction.
And thank you to Kelly, the MPRC board, and to the Bernays Committee for this award.
I’m touched, honored, and humbled to know that my name will be listed alongside some of the best public relations people from our great state.
I wrote three different drafts of today’s remarks, but none felt right. I don’t particularly like talking about myself, and because this is a conference, every speaker should give the audience a takeaway or two, so how about if I to share a few tidbits of the best advice I’ve received through the year, with the hope that one or two might resonate with you.
- Doing the right things is the always the right thing to do — particularly in PR. We need to be the conscience of an organization. A corollary to that is something Mark Twain said: the best thing about telling the truth is that you don’t have to remember anything.
- The next one came from the big store at the top of the hill, L.L. Bean: Put your customers first and remember that they’re the reason you’re in business.
- At the end of the day, the person you have to answer to is the one in the mirror. If you do that, everything else seems to fall into place.
- Perhaps my favorite quote is from Thomas Jefferson who said he was a big believer in luck and the harder he worked, the more if it he had.
- Finally, trust your gut and trust your instinct. Or in the words of the great American philosopher Cosmo Kramer, “what does the little man inside you say? You’ve gotta listen to the little man…the little man knows all.”
In closing, I’d like to thank the many people who have provided guidance, encouragement, and unwavering support to me for so many year. I accept this award on behalf of all of you, and in my mind, your names are etched on this with mine. But, I’ll keep it at my house.
Thank you again for a few minutes of your time…..I hope you enjoy the rest of the afternoon….
- The first one’s easy: Who won the World Series last year?
- In the television show Seinfeld, what was Jerry’s favorite team?
- What was Babe Ruth’s primary position when he played for the Red Sox?
- With a runner on first and one out, the batter hits a pop up to the shortstop. But before the fielder catches the pop, the umpire calls the batter out. Why?
- What is a southpaw?
- Which team did the Mighty Casey play for?
- These three brothers all played professionally: Joe, Dominic, and Vince. What was their last name? Hint: the best known one played for the Yankees.
- Name the last person to have a batting average over .400.
- In the play/movie Damn Yankees, what does the lead character do in order to play for his beloved Washington Senators?
- What is the claim to fame of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance, of the Chicago Cubs in the early 1900s?
- This uniform number has been retired across baseball. What is the number and who wore it? Hint, the number was the title of a 2013 movie about that player.
- Name the two Major League Baseball teams with nicknames that do not end in “s.”
- What is the distance between the bases?
- Which team has the highest payroll in baseball?
- The Cy Young Award is given to the best ___ in each league.
- The popular movie series “Major League” is about a hapless team of misfits that unite and win the pennant. Name the team.
- The 2014 season really began earlier this month when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks played two games in this faraway land. Name it.
- Speaking of the Dodgers … what is a Dodger?
- What is a “can of corn?”
- Shoeless Joe Jackson and other deceased players return from the beyond to play ball in a field built at the site of an old cornfield in this 1989 movie.
- The Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series.
- Like the real-life Seinfeld, Jerry was a Mets fan.
- Babe Ruth was a pitcher with the Red Sox, and a very good one.
- The batter is called out because of the Infield Fly Rule. It prevents the fielder from intentionally dropping the ball and turning a double play (the runner would be staying on first because of the pop-up, thus being an easy out).
- A southpaw is someone who throws left-handed.
- In the poem written by Ernest Thayer, The Mighty (albeit overrated ) Casey played for the Mudville nine.
- Joe, Dominic, and Vince DiMaggio all played in the majors.
- Ted Williams batted .406 in 1941.
- In Damn Yankees, Joe Hardy makes a deal with the devil to play for the Washington Senators.
- The three Cubs ability to turn a double play was immortalized in a poem, “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon.” Written by a New York Giants fan during a game, it begins: “These are the saddest of possible words: Tinkers to Evers to Chance …”
- The number 42, worn by Jackie Robinson, has been retired across Major League Baseball.
- The Red Sox and White Sox are the only teams with nicknames that do not end with an “s.”
- The bases are 90 feet apart.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers have the highest payroll in baseball at $235 million, followed by the Yankees ($204 million) and Philadelphia Phillies ($180 million).
- The Cy Young Award is given to the best pitcher in each league.
- The “Major League” movie series portrays fictional players of the Cleveland Indians.
- The Dodgers and Diamondbacks played the first two games of the season in Australia. The Dodgers won both.
- The name Dodgers dates back to the team’s days in Brooklyn, when it was called the “Trolley Dodgers,” a tribute to the many trolley cars throughout the borough. The name was eventually shortened to Dodgers.
- A can of corn is an easy-to-catch fly ball.
- Shoeless Joe Jackson and others returned from beyond to play in Field of Dreams.
11-15 All Star
0-5 Bench warmer
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Festivus, odds are good that you’re a Seinfeld fan. So to celebrate the season, let’s test your knowledge of the hit show.
- What was Kramer’s first name?
- Who was Jerry’s arch enemy?
- George worked at which well-known organization?
- Which comic strip hero appeared in every episode?
- Who won “The Contest?”
- During a blind date with Elaine’s cousin, Jerry was turned off by what physical feature of the woman?
- What’s the fictitious name regularly used by Jerry and George?
- What was Jerry’s favorite baseball team?
- What distasteful act did Elaine do at a company party?
- Seinfeld co-creator, Larry David, gained success as the star of his own show. Name it.
- Elaine worked at which catalog company?
- Which of the following was not part of the Festivus celebration: Airing of grievances, feats of strength, a metal pole, eating broccoli?
- When Kramer moved to Los Angeles, he was mistakenly arrested for what?
- Who was the voice of late Yankee owner George Steinbrenner?
- What was the name of the diner where the gang hung out?
- What career professional did George pretend to be?
- Kramer was said to have the “kavorka.” What is that?
- Which legendary comedian played George’s father?
- What was unique about the episode in which Elaine’s friend, Sue Ellen Mischke, was married?
- Jerry was unable to kiss his girlfriend, played by Kristin Davis, because she used something that fell in the toilet. What was it?
Bonus: The opening dialog in the first show and the closing dialog in the final episode were about the same topic. Name it.
- Kramer’s first name was Cosmo.
- Newman was Jerry’s nemesis.
- George worked a number of jobs, most notably for the New York Yankees.
- Superman appeared in every episode, usually in the form of a figurine on Jerry’s shelf.
- In the final episode, we learn that Jerry won The Contest, when George confessed that he cheated.
- Elaine’s cousin had “man hands.”
- Jerry and George often referred to the fictitious Art Vandelay. BTW, he has a profile on LinkedIn.
- Jerry was a fan of the Mets.
- Elaine was a terrible dancer, a fact that George discovered at one of her office parties.
- Larry David stars in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.
- Elaine worked at J. Peterman.
- Eating broccoli was not part of the Festivus celebration.
- The police thought Kramer was a serial killer.
- Larry David provided the voice for George Steinbrenner.
- Monks Café was the restaurant’s name.
- George pretended to be an architect (as well as a marine biologist).
- The kavorka, or the lure of the animal, made him irresistible to women.
- George’s father was played by Jerry Stiller (who happens to also be Ben’s father).
- The scenes in the Sue Ellen Mischke wedding episode were aired in reverse chronological order.
- Kristin Davis’ toothbrush fell in the toilet. She used it before Jerry was able to alert her.
BONUS: The first episode opened, and the last show ended, with Jerry commenting on the placement of a shirt’s buttons.
How did you do?
15 – 20 correct: NBC executive
10-14 correct: Comedy writer
5-9 correct: Network intern
1-4 correct: Kramer
Related post: Good communication no laughing matter for Seinfeld
Seinfeld may have been a show about nothing, but its well-polished writing offers many lessons to help us improve our communications:
Create an image
Jerry compared the “man hands” of his blind date to the paws of wrestler George “The Animal” Steele. The reference to Mr. Steele made the segment even funnier by drawing this bizarre — but specific — reference. Our lesson: precision and details in communications help get your message across.
Tell a story
When Jerry’s pal George Costanza rescued a whale by freeing a golf ball from its blow hole, his recollection painted a vivid picture for viewers: “The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.” Much more powerful than simply saying, “The water was rough.”
Keep it simple
Each plot revolved around a specific theme or two, ranging from marble rye bread and a gassy horse, to an overzealous auto mechanic and President Kennedy’s golf clubs. This is an especially good reminder to limit the number of key points in a message, else you risk losing readers’ attention.
Be an everyman (or woman)
Seinfeld’s character was, in many respects, an average Joe. He played softball, cheered for the Mets, ate cereal while watching late night television, and sported a wardrobe primarily consisting of jeans and sneakers. The audience related to that character more than had he been, for example, an architect.
Leave your comfort zone
One of the show’s funniest episodes, “The Contest,” took viewers down a path that ventured far beyond a typical sitcom plot, as the four wagered who could go the longest without … yada yada yada. Kramer, of course, was the first eliminated— seduced by the vision of a naked woman in the apartment across the street. We later saw Jerry, who was in a relationship with Marla the virgin, singing children’s songs to keep his focus off the naked neighbor. Clever, funny, and out of the box.
Seinfeld featured a unique glossary of terms. Millions of people, young and old, completely understand references such as Library Cop, serenity now, and of course, “No soup for you!” Colorful phrases catch people’s attention, and are particularly helpful during presentations or media interviews.
Viewers never really knew what to expect each week, particularly given the odd behavior of the show’s characters. George learns his fiancée has died and immediately suggests getting a bit to eat. The four watch a robbery and poke fun of the victim. And Elaine showed us dance moves unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Look beyond your walls
Seinfeld regularly connected to an event or newsworthy item beyond its set, such as the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the magic bullet scene from the movie JFK, bathroom hygiene, and The J. Peterman Company. Good communicators know their audience has interests outside of the topic at hand.
Brevity is better
Some of the show’s most memorable lines were short, catchy phrases. For example, Jerry advised Elaine to “Look to the cookie,” for the path to racial harmony. Those four words were much more effective than a formal delivery, such as: “The black and white cookie symbolizes the synergy between people of different races, creeds, and background, and will serve as a foundation for our future …”
Other short, but effective phrases: “I choose not to run,” “Not that there’s anything wrong with it,” and “Bosco.” The lesson: don’t use 10 words when four will do.
What do you think the writers of Seinfeld did particularly well? If you can’t come up with anything, you’re clearly not Pensky material…