Seinfeld on smartphones and texting: "I could have called you and I chose not to."

Stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld's been back on the prowl recently with his oddball and descriptively-titled Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, though his eponymous "show about nothing" has never been far from the public consciousness (see: iToilet and Google Wallet). Seinfeld himself showed up on The Tonight Show this week and he, as he's prone to do, talked about how we use our smartphones and the way they've changed how we communicate.

"That's your life, because of the people, right? That you need to stay in touch with that are so important. The people in your life, they're so important, aren't they? Yes. Really? They don't seem very important, not the way you scroll through their names in your contact list like a gay French king. 'Who pleases me today? Who shall I favor? Who shall I delete?'

And we call it a phone, but we don't really use it much as a phone, do we? No, we don't, because they gave us the option. Some years ago you were given the option when you want to communicate to another person: you could talk or you could type. Well once you had that option, well that took half a second — talking lost. Talking's over!"

Seinfeld's not entirely wrong, as Facebook's recent $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp indicated, text message-style communication is incredibly important to us these days. Have we lost something in the process, or, as Seinfeld pointed out, has texting just made things easier and more to-the-point?

"If you want, I could text you this whole thing and we could get the hell out of here."

Source: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (YouTube), Thanks to Brent for the tip!

 
There are 56 comments

Phillycat says:

Sometimes texting is just more convenient and less hassle.

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kelayz says:

I agree. I'm a very private person and don't like people knowing what I'm talking about so texting is best for me

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DS1331 says:

Haha he's still the fucking man

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FreudSlipped says:

So, you text message people so they don't know what you are talking about? LOL

wyldemf says:

^^Talk about not knowing what he's talking about.... ^^

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paul-c says:

I still like calling people and talking on the phone.

Jay Holm says:

Calling and talking is what real, Genuine people do!

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Kvoth says:

Real annoying people I think is what you mean...

Actually calling someone is downright rude, forcing their attention to you instead of allowing them to respond at their leisure. Next time you think you're favouring someone with a call, stop and wonder if they actually want to talk to you... (hint: most don't).

Jay Holm says:

You don't even know me. Your just another rude, prick on the internet.

I want to get this straight with everyone, I don't user or acknowledge internet words like "troll"! Feeling a certain way about something doesn't make someone, what those of you who use internet language call a ""troll"".

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l00natic71 says:

I find it that each has it's place. If I'm at the store and I need to get something, it's simpler for me to text "I'm at the store, what do you need?" then to call. However, to catch up, phone call is better.

False_Aesop says:

Maybe I value both of our time enough to not waste it trying to make small talk for a two sentence question.

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iowabeakster says:

This is exactly true and I agree with this, in that very simplistic example of communication.

But on the flip side...

There are those fairly frequent times when what could be done in a two minute phone call, using spoken conversation, with a series of back and forth questions, a retelling of an event, and a few more questions, and goodbyes turns into an absurd half hour of my phone buzzing every 60 seconds because some socially maladjusted folks absolutely insist on texting everything.

How about valuing their and my time in those instances?

How about when a cousin dies? Do I text my aunt and uncle, "srry 2 hear."

Texting can be very convenient, and helpful. But some people really need to learn when and how to use it. And some people need to see a therapist to help them with their social skills so that talking on the phone isn't so terrifying for them.

Synycalwon says:

+1 Well said!

Jay Holm says:

Which is exactly why I consider those I TALK to better friends than the ones I text constantly!

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ScottJ says:

I feel sorry for your friends. Do you troll over the phone too?

Jay Holm says:

That's an internet word, I'm a genuine person, I speak in regular language. "Troll" is a weird movie from the 80's.

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cporier91 says:

This guy

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xlDeMoNiClx says:

I'm guessing that's a yes then.

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SirBobaFett says:

Sounds like something a troll would say...

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drazum77 says:

Lol exactly!

Galaxy Note 2 GT-N7105

ScottJ says:

Texting is asynchronous. That's the advantage. I can ask a question and get back to what I'm doing and the other person can respond when they want to as well.

that's it

wyldemf says:

Exactly.

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yankeesusa says:

Seinfeld is still awesome! Man I miss the tv series. Even watching episodes over and over again I crack up.

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Jay Holm says:

Oh yeah! Tv was never the same after Seinfeld went off the air. Nothing but a bunch of stupid reality shows, or contest shows. There's a few good legal dramas, but that's it.

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Quis89 says:

Texting allows the convenience of holding long conversations without taking a lot of another person's time or communicating when talking over the phone isn't the best option. I feel there's a time and place for both options.

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Being old, I constantly philosophize on this kind of stuff. It's interesting to look back at his old "Seinfeld" show and see how much of the humor was based on people being unable to get in touch with each other (out on the road someplace and there aren't any phone booths, or if there is one, someone's on the phone and won't get off). These days, no one would even understand what was happening.

NickLippert says:

I actually saw a payphone the other day. I cant remember the last time I had seen one.

scribe4food says:

Funny clip. Regarding talking and texting, to each their own. Asinine to say one is more genuine than another - or maybe judgemental is more apt.

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Jay Holm says:

Texting isn't a genuine form of communication!

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vpblaze says:

How is it not genuine? I would say the exact same thing in a text message as I would if I were in a phone call with that individual.
The only difference is a text message is more convenient.

Your arguments here could be considered an oxy moron.
Your points are only little white letters and not actual sounds coming from your mouth through a PA speaker in the form of a debate.... So does that not make your points genuine?
Or are you just trying to be Devils advocate and pretend you are better than the average user that texts his/her contacts instead of calling?

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vpblaze says:

Also Jay, I am not trying to insult you at all, just showing that everyone has different opinions, preferences, conveniences, capabilities, etc.
To say that one way is the only way to be genuine, sincere or speak with your true friends is a bit much.

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wyldemf says:

Me and my best group of friends would annoy the hell out of each other if we were calling as much as we all text.

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I think why many people think texting isn't as genuine as a phone call is because a lot of times subtleties like tone of voice, sarcasm/humor are gone from a text and can't be conveyed as well. Also, you tend to be more brief or blunt over text instead of going through the pleasentries of on actual conversation. Honestly, it depends on who you are talking to any for what purpose. Both talking and texting have their purpose, in my view.

geck says:

What the hell? Someone needs to go back to kindergarten to find out what communication is

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HeyImAlexD says:

I never really found Seinfeld all that funny really :( .

On the topic at hand, I use texting and calling. I use texting for smaller, more direct questions and statements, and for larger more elaborate things I call.

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mspace81 says:

I have never been a Seinfeld fan myself and just couldn't get into the show. But I know that many people enjoyed the show and his standup.

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mspace81 says:

I use both. I enjoy texting because it gives me time to formulate my thoughts and what I want to say, especially if its just a quick question or statement. I have friends and family that calling for a quick 2 minute conversation will easily turn into an hour long conversation. I make phone calls when I know I have the time to give that person my full attention. Both forms of communication have there place. And one is not more genuine than the other. Because whether my mother text me that she loves or wishes me a good morning or calls me to say these...they both have the same impact.

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xlDeMoNiClx says:

Honestly, I never found this guy to be funny. He's right, but he's just not funny to me. His show was boring as hell too.

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Robsey444 says:

Variety is the spice of life,I believe there is room for all of the options now available! Just saying!☺

gamefreak715 says:

Being a younger guy, I always call my mom. I like talking to her and hearing her voice since I only see her 3-4 times a year but also because it's frustrating trying to decipher her texts and shorthand. Most younger people stopped texting in shorthand and spell out most words now that we don't do T9 anymore.

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someguy01234 says:

I hated getting phone calls before smartphone exists.

Aclee says:

- Advantages of Text: Fast, Precise, Cheap, Discreet (not overheard) & Convenient for Recipient (doesn't need immediate attention).
- Disadvantages of Text: Less personal, tone can be misread & feedback not always instant.

- Advantages of Voice: Instant communication once answered & Tones/Warmth read more easily
- Disadvantages of Voice: Unknown length, Unknown costs, Not discreet (others can hear), Not always convenient & almost always less efficient.

Summary: I rarely call anyone unless it's someone I haven't spoke to for a while. I'd rather visit someone in person than call. To be honest I find people who call first all the time to be very self centered and wasteful.

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FishenFool says:

Personally if someone doesn't call first they will most likely find me not answering my door.

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sublimaze says:

Jerry Seinfeld has not aged well. I saw the Superbowl commercial, and Jason Alexander and Wayne Knight still look pretty good. But Jerry looks like he has been through hell.

vividrich says:

I was thinking the same thing; it kinda broke the mood so to speak. The other guys....it might as well have been the 90s.

Sad to say I have more in common with Jerry than Jason and Wayne.

Jonneh says:

replied to wrong thread.

Jonneh says:

Different genetics is all that is. Nothing he (Jerry) or anyone else could have done. He lost most of his hair and his skin is more wrinkly. I'd say that's been a pretty obvious and well-documented part of aging for hundreds of years now.

Edited to add: Also, can't wait until someone you know tells you you look like you "went through hell" and "did not age well", lol.

drazum77 says:

Omg! I wondered the same thing. Everyone at my superbowl viewing party said how both Jerry and George aged but here walks in Newman! The guy never ages. So much for being fat = aging sooner.

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vividrich says:

I hardly ever use my phone as a phone.

TxAndroidGuy says:

Call me an old fogey but I would rather call someone and discuss something for 10 minutes instead of taking an hour and a half to text back and forth.

sher9501 says:

I don't even call or text that much. If I need to say something urgent, I call. If I can wait for a reply, then I text.

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I do both. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Now I'm going to be really old school and mention letters, the kind that you write by hand and mail. When I was in college, the Internet wasn't available from home (my school didn't even have it at all), and no one could afford a cell, plus the cost of long distance was still high enough and college students poor enough that you didn't do it all the time. So, during the summers, we wrote letters to each other. And when I say letters, I mean multi-page documents about what we were up to, what other friends we'd heard from, and asking how the other person was doing and what was going on in their world lately. Letters are a completely different animal because they're often longer than e-mail, and you have to send them off and wait for a response to come by mail, which takes a few days. But this forces you to think about what you're writing and really work at it. They're also more personal, since they're in the person's own handwriting instead of being typed out. Letter writing is, unfortunately, a dying art, and I haven't written one in quite a while. Now it's all e-mail, text, and IM, and I really feel like something has been lost.

Cheetah23 says:

Why did he get all Brian Reegan sounding on us?