Looking For a ‘Residency’ of My Own
Photo Courtesy of The Beacon Theater
BY LORRAINE DUFFY MERKL
It’s just been announced that The Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side of Manhattan will be Jerry Seinfeld’s new home (a residency, as it’s called) where he’s going to perform standup once a month starting in January and keep going until June. After that he says, “We’ll see how it goes.”
The entertainment icon got the idea from another 50+ New Yorker, Billy Joel, who plays a monthly gig at Madison Square Garden and will do so until April 2016.
Jerry’s kept himself busy since the end of his eponymous sitcom – the most successful in the history of television. He wrote, starred in and produced movies (Comedian, Bee Movie), created and starred in a short-lived marriage counseling TV show, directed and produced a Broadway hit (Colin Quinn Long Story Short), wrote a best-selling book (“Seinlanguage”) and a children’s book (“Halloween”). Currently he stars in the acclaimed series he created for Crackle: Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.
The Emmy, Golden Globe and People’s Choice award-winner is also known to drop by New York comedy clubs unannounced, jump on stage and try out some new material.
A lot of people are asking, “Why?” Jerry Seinfeld is made of money. He doesn’t have to work. But like a lot of people in their second chapter, he wants to keep working, because not doing so can make one feel irrelevant.
Right now I’m looking for a “residency” of my own.
I left my full time job twenty years ago to work freelance and so I could also be a stay-at-home mother. I figured when my two children Luke, 21, and Meg, 18, were in school, I’d go back to at least part-time employment when they were both in grade school, but my plan (ha ha) kept getting derailed. Meg had some special needs that I didn’t want to delegate to anyone else to take care of, and when that phase of our life passed, my mother, who used to help me care take Luke and Meg, needed caring for.
Luke is away at college now, and Meg will be heading to higher education next year. My mother is 93 and, although in good health, no one lives forever. I anticipate the day in the not so distant future when I’ll wake up and all the people I spent the last two decades catering to no longer need me to do so. Neil will be off to his job, and because freelance is precarious, there will be days when I’ll have no assignments in my queue.
I’m sure there are some for whom this might sound like a golden (years) opportunity, affording the luxury of sitting and catching up on all my reading, lunching with friends, or spending the day at museums. That I’m sure is probably someone’s life, but not mine. I’ve got ants in my pants – always have. I need things to do and places to go that require deadlines, details, and me using my marketing or writing skills as well as my wealth of ideas.
Even if freelance continues to be good to me, working from home, which has always been a godsend, will be kind of unnecessary and perhaps isolating; like Seinfeld, I’d like to get back in front of an audience, have some human interaction and instantaneous reactions to my work.
I also comprehend that a lot depends on the state of the economy in reaction to whomever our next president will be, and whether the ageism in our society will temper.
I must confess, thinking about the future causes me a bit of anxiety, although sometimes I get excited about the potential of “what’s next,” but often, realizing the absurdity of trying to map out what I have no control over serves as comic relief.