By Norman Golightly
April 16, 2015 – It’s good to be on top. I’m not there so I wouldn’t know. But it’s probably hard to recall the long hungry climb from when you started back at base camp. Clawing your way up, getting attention any way you could, trying to get people to know your name. Climbing. Inch. By inch. By inch. Maybe once you get to the peak you forget some of those who were by your side on the way and didn’t make it. And now you can toss pebbles at the people far below. People just like you – or at least like who you once were.
When Jerry Seinfeld recently hosted Crackle’s Upfront in NYC, promoting the brand and it’s upcoming shows, he took a pointed jab at user-generated content producers and the “garbage can” that hosts them. Turns out Seinfeld doesn’t have time for your ice bucket challenges, and don’t you dare show him a cat playing the piano.
“The less the better,” Seinfeld said when asked about content that’s posted online by non-professionals. “I don’t want to see this crap. We have a giant garbage can called YouTube for user-generated content. We’re trying to generate a little higher level.” He added, “I think show business is for talent, that’s who should be in it. But let’s keep it in its hierarchy. And I like being at the top of the pyramid.”
Top of the pyramid? What are you, a pharaoh? Granted you’re at the top, but you don’t have to say it. I can’t imagine Robin Williams giving a speech like that. Ryan Gosling doesn’t walk around saying he’s hot, he just is. Unless you’re a rapper or a wide receiver in the NFL, it’s generally cooler to not tell your fans how awesome you are.
And if YouTube is a garbage can, what then are comedy clubs? Brutal trenches of hungry artists loving and hating each other at the same time, vying to make it to the next level. Scrapping for a few minutes at an open mic night in the hopes of performing to an empty room. That’s where you came from, Jerry. That’s your garbage can. And you made it out. And like it or not, there are a lot of people out there trying to do just what you did, and YouTube is a good place to do it. Significant talents have emerged from YouTube. That’s how the world works now and it’s universally democratic.
You made it to the top. I thought it was a mountain, but it’s apparently a pyramid. Either way, it must be pretty foggy up there to not be able to see where you came from and recognize that if you were born a generation later you’d be spewing out “crap user generated content” yourself.
No soup for you today, Jerry. Not today.