Jay Leno Asks Audience Question at Seinfeld's Netflix Premiere

The former 'Tonight Show' host called Seinfeld's long-awaited stand-up special "brilliant" after Ted Sarandos called on him in the crowd.
Dan Steinberg/Netflix
Seinfeld (left) and Sarandos at the screening of 'Jerry Before Seinfeld.'

At Netflix's premiere of Jerry Seinfeld's long-awaited stand-up special Jerry Before Seinfeld, held Sept. 19 at the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study, the Q&As weren't the usual humdrum.

After Netflix boss Ted Sarandos chatted with the legendary comedian about his prolific career, his strategy for crafting timeless jokes and when he'll get around to turning in that second special the platform ordered ("Might be a couple years [before] I'll get the time to do it," Seinfeld admitted), the chief content officer called on an audience member who had his hand in the air.

The man turned out to be none other than Jay Leno.

The former Tonight Show host proceeded to review the special that had just screened, calling it "brilliant."

"You know, nobody hates [Donald] Trump more than I do. When I got to comedy clubs it's, 'Trump's an asshole, Trump's a…' and I just come out negative," he said, adding that he thinks every young comedian should watch the special to learn from it. "This is so positive and it's so fun and there's just a good heart to it. It's what comedy is supposed to be. You're supposed to go and forget your troubles for a while. I don't want to be reminded of North Korea and all this other crap."

Leno wasn't the only comedian hidden in the crowd: Curb Your Enthusiasm's Bob Einstein, who plays Super Dave Osborne, piped up after Leno to ask Seinfeld two questions. One, how much did Netflix pay him for the special? "It's an overall comprehensive deal, you don't really break out the elements," explained Seinfeld, adding, to awkward laughs in the room, "It's a relationship."

And two, how does the pay compare to the Seinfeld deal? "It's OK," joked Seinfeld. "It's fine."

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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