This famous dad of three talks about the buzz of Bee Movie and the funny business of being a dad.
It's been nine years since the end of the sitcom that gave us the Puffy Shirt, Soup Nazi, and yada, yada, yada, and now Jerry Seinfeld is heading to the big screen with his first animated feature, Bee Movie, also starring Renee Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, and Chris Rock (opening in theaters November 2). Seinfeld co-wrote and produced the movie, and voiced Barry B. Benson, a bee who discovers humans have been selling honey he's working so hard to make, and duly outraged, decides to sue. Now 53 and the father of three children -- daughter Sascha, 6, and sons Julian, 4, and Shepherd, 2 -- with his wife Jessica, the TV icon called to fill us in on the movie and more.
Parents.com: We haven't seen a lot of you since Seinfeld ended. Where've you been?
JS: I have been performing live. I've done hundreds of live shows. After I did the TV show, I wanted to get back to being in front of people without any electronics. I love the immediate response and it's the best experience for the audience. When you see a great live show you remember it for years. My real profession is to be a comedian. That's really what I like and what I think I'm best at.
Parents.com: Then what brought you back to Hollywood?
JS: I thought, 'What if I brought my comedy attitude to this kind of [animated] look?' It might make for an interesting movie. I started with the title. There were probably two and a half years of different ideas and stories until we had one that we felt would work -- that bees don't know that we're taking their honey.
Parents.com: So, doing voiceover -- a pretty sweet gig, right?
JS: It's a creampuff gig. You don't have to wear anything. No makeup. You don't have to look on the floor for where you have to stand.
Parents.com: Were your kids a factor in wanting to make a family film?
JS: Not particularly. Initially I just wanted to make a funny movie, although now I'm really excited about it because I know that they're going to relate to this better than anything else I could do. And they love when Daddy dresses up in the bee costume.
Parents.com: Yes, the teaser-trailer. Hilarious. Did you just call your friends to get them to do voices?
JS: Yeah. People really like being in these movies. They're pretty easy, it's fun and they get to take their kids or kids that they know.
Parents.com: How has fatherhood changed you?
JS: [It's changed] almost everything I do -- trying to stay healthy, how I use my time and plan my schedule, I think: "If this takes me away from them, it better be very important." I don't travel that much when I do standup. I only go for the night or two nights at most, not for weeks at a time. That's why I'm less likely to do another movie.
Parents.com: Do your kids think you're funny? How do you make them laugh?
JS: Yes, they do. I hit them in the face with a pillow. And we have fun playing games that we make up.
Parents.com: I bet your family provides good fodder for your act.
JS: Endlessly. It's a comedy goldmine.
Parents.com: Did you pass on the funny gene?
JS: I think I did with my daughter. In the car the other day she said, "You know, Dad, I really like making people laugh." That was like the greatest thing I ever could have heard.
Parents.com: How else do the kids take after you? Are they neat?
JS: No, there is no "neat" with 5-year-olds. My daughter is a fantastic swimmer. I'm a very good swimmer.
Parents.com: Who wears the pants at home -- you, your wife, or the kids?
JS: I'd say my wife. She runs a good, tight ship.
Parents.com: What's your parenting strategy?
JS: You figure out what the program is, and stick to it. I always say, "Ask Mommy."
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