I’m listening to Alec Baldwin interviewing Jerry Sienfeld on Alec’s “Here’s The Thing” podcast.
(It’s an fantastic show, by the way. Alec is a terrific host with a perfect radio voice and awesome guests. Check it out if you haven’t yet.)
Near the end of the show (~51m), Jerry is telling Alec about the earlier days in his stand-up career. He tells a story about how, about 3 weeks after his first stand-up gig, an older comedian pulled him aside and tells him he’s “got it,” and that he’s destined for greatness.
Alec asks Jerry if any other older comedians ever showed him that kind of support early on, and Jerry runs with it:
You don’t need that. Any self-respecting professionsal comedian… you don’t need that.
You don’t need anyone or anything. You are built for brutality. You have this relationship with the audience that is private, between you and them.
Critics wanna write, people wanna talk. We have our own thing. Nobody can break that.
Once you build that, it can’t be broken by outside forces.
This is the difference between being a comedian who has his own thing, and everybody else in the entertainment field who needs to cooperate to survive.
The comedian… What do I care what somebody writes about my show? What do I care?
So, even doing the series and even knowing I have these other avenues I could pursue…
That’s so pure and so perfect and so good.
It’s not easy. It is a rigorous life to maintain that. I don’t hang out on stage, I’m up here to work. I’m going to work for you, because I respect this relationship, and I want to to keep it.
Because once you have that, you can do what you want.Jerry Seinfeld
I heard this, and the analogy was so perfectly clear. This is Jerry telling us about how important our customer relationships are.
Anything else – press, fundraising, blogs, social media – all that stuff is secondary. The only thing, what’s paramount in our business, is the relationship we have with our customers.
It’s sacred. It can’t be broken by outside forces. And once we have it, we can do what we want.