7:42pm PT by Chris Gardner
Jerry Seinfeld Hosts Fatherhood Lunch, Jokes: "Being a Dad Is the Biggest Pain in the Ass"
Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld are a great team.
He, of course, is cool and quick with the Seinfeldisms. She is cool, too, but quick to reveal her emotions and passions concerning her philanthropic organization, the Good+ Foundation, previously known as Baby Buggy and rebranded in recent weeks to cover the diversity of services and programs it offers to entire families, not just mothers.
So when Jessica got choked up on Wednesday, standing in front of a packed crowd at The Palm during the second annual Los Angeles Fatherhood Lunch, her host husband was there to play off her inspirational side with some off-the-cuff observations about what it really means to be a dad.
Good+ Foundation founder Jessica Seinfeld and host Jerry Seinfeld attend the second annual Los Angeles Fatherhood Lunch to benefit Good+ Foundation at The Palm Restaurant in Beverly Hills on April 20, 2016. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Good+ Foundation)
It was Jessica, though, who kicked off the lunch presentation, joking that it was an easy gig because events typically require several (or many) nudges to get guests in their seats, but not at Bruce Bozzi's Beverly Hills hot spot. "Because we are eating at The Palm, everyone is already digging into an incredible lunch that — for the second year in a row not only in New York but out here as well — was donated by The Palm and my long, longtime friend and huge supporter of what we do, Bruce Bozzi."
And because everyone was seated, all eyes were on Jessica as she held a microphone in one hand and a piece of paper in the other. "I'm a little bit nervous speaking in front of my husband and lots of other fancy people here, so excuse my shaky hand," she smiled before giving additional shout-outs to sponsors including ICM Partners, Esquire magazine and George Shapiro.
Jessica wasn't too nervous to gracefully glide through a brief history of Baby Buggy's beginnings through its maturation and eventual expansion to include programs and services for the entire family, including partnerships with the Children’s Institute’s Project Fatherhood, which was well-represented at the luncheon. "They make our work so real and I'm so grateful to each of you for showing everybody what we do in such a beautiful way," she said, pointing out the fathers in attendance and getting choked up in the process. "Thank you, it's the beginning of something really important."
As Jessica took a seat, Jerry walked over and gave his wife a kiss, then took the microphone in front of guests including Project Fatherhood’s director Alan-Michael Graves, Judd Apatow, CAA's Bryan Lourd, Dan Bucatinsky, Don Roos, Brad Falchuk, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Bob Saget, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tuc Watkins, Ilaria Urbinati and Eric Ray Davidson. (One of the clients of Project Fatherhood also spoke, sharing an emotional tale of coming back into the lives of his children and teaching them lessons — like accepting your mistakes — that he missed while growing up.)
It only took a minute before the comedian delivered laughs with bits like this: "People use a lot of annoying words and phrases at these things. 'Giving back' is very popular. I am not a fan of giving back because I didn't take anything. I didn't take anything. I don't have to give anything back. I believe in just giving. It's nice to just give. It doesn't have to be that I have something that I didn't really deserve. There's no guilt here. This is a positive strong thing of dad-ness."
That last word figured prominently into Jerry's remarks about Good+ and its partnership with Project Fatherhood. He also name-dropped Chris Rock, recounting their recent conversation about the dominance of NBA star Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors. "[Rock] was in awe of what this guy is doing at this moment, and he was telling me about this other basketball player, who I will not mention, who had a similar talent but was much more fragile and never got to where what we are watching Curry do now," Jerry explained. "Chris says to me, 'Steph Curry is the same guy with two parents.' That was powerful. He's right. That is a very powerful unit."
Host Jerry Seinfeld speaks during the second annual Los Angeles Fatherhood Lunch to benefit Good+ Foundation at The Palm Restaurant in Beverly Hills on April 20, 2016. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Good+ Foundation)
Ballers aside, Jerry said fathers can play a powerful role in the lives of their children, which in turn affects the man. "When he makes that connection and has that kid in his life, his whole perspective and mindset and life force is remolded. You have a different perspective on your daily existence and what it's about," he said.
Even if, he continued, that your kids don't think your cool. "When the kids are laughing that dad doesn't know what is going on, you've arrived," joked Jerry, who has three kids with Jessica — daughter Sascha and sons Julian and Shepherd. "If kids think dad is cool, something has gone terribly wrong."
And although on paper, the following quote may seem wrong, it drew laughs and struck a chord amongst those in attendance: "Being a dad is the greatest pain in the ass in the world you could possibly be involved in. That is the ultimate dad-ness, full dad-ness."
No doubt Jerry meant that in the best possible way.
From left: Joseph Murphy, Deny Merino, Terry Hayward, Good+ Foundation founder Jessica Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld, Doyn Richards, Thomas Enrique and Project Fatherhood director Alan-Michael Graves attend the second annual Los Angeles Fatherhood Lunch to benefit Good+ Foundation at The Palm Restaurant in Beverly Hills on April 20, 2016. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Good+ Foundation)