Brian Williams interviewed Jerry Seinfeld on NBC Nightly News Thursday. During their chat, the comic said he believes he has autism, saying, "I think, on a very drawn-out scale, I think I'm on the spectrum."
Asked to explain, the 60-year-old comedian said, "Basic social engagement is really a struggle. I'm very literal, when people talk to me and they use expressions, sometimes I don't know what they're saying."
"But I don't see it as dysfunctional," he added. "I just think of it as an alternate mindset."
It was the first time Seinfeld discussed being on the spectrum, though he performed at several benefits for autism charities over the years, including Autism Speaks events and 2012's Night of Too Many Stars.
Though he's quite wealthy, Seinfeld continues to do stand-up. "I know that that's the healthiest thing I can do. If you're more interested in what you have achieved or what your financial position enables you to do than that thing that got those things, you're screwed," he argued. "In my opinion, you're screwed."
Seinfeld was on NBC Nightly News to promote his web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. "They're the only kind of people that I feel completely relaxed around," the Seinfeld star said of guests including Kevin Hart and Sarah Jessica Parker. "It's kind of an interesting sub-breed of humanity. I wanted to see if I could capture it and show people, 'Look at this group of people. Aren't they unusual?'"
"All comedy is distillation. So, I thought, 'What if you took a two-hour conversation and shrunk it down to 14 minutes? What would you get?' And I thought, 'Well, with certain people, I think you'd get something.'" According to Seinfeld, it was an experiment. "I didn't know that this could be anything."
What make someone funny? "There's no rhyme or reason to who God decided to give a sense of humor to," Seinfeld explained. "You just find it in your stocking...and these people that took it and just didn't want to do anything else in life but play with that toy, I'm endlessly fascinated and intrigued by them."
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