Jerry Seinfeld Is Banking On Pop-Tarts Being Funny

'I believe we have split the atom of breakfast.'

Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, and Melissa McCarthy in Unfrosted (2024). Photo by Courtesy of Netflix - copyright 2024 Netflix, Inc. IMDB.
Courtesy of Netflix. Copyright 2024 Netflix, Inc. IMDB.

Renowned comedian Jerry Seinfeld went on record saying the movie industry is “over.” This is all very curious timing considering that he’s currently promoting a movie.

The 69-year-old celebrity is still doing the standup circuit as he has been for close to five decades. He’s fresh off an appearance in the series finale of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” alongside his longtime friend and frequent collaborator, Larry David. In addition to comedy, Seinfeld has worked as an actor, writer, and producer.

Now for the first time ever, the Brooklyn native is taking a spot in the director’s chair with the debut of “Unfrosted,” a comedy about two rival cereal companies – Kellogg’s and Post – trying to outdo one another to create the perfect breakfast pastry.

Jerry Seinfeld, James Marsden, Thomas Lennon, Adrian Martinez, Bobby Moynihan, Jack McBrayer. Unfrosted. Photo by John P. Johnson / Netflix - copyright 2024 Netflix, Inc. IMDB.

John P. Johnson / Netflix – copyright 2024 Netflix, Inc. IMDB.

The stand-up legend spoke with GQ about making the leap into the movie business.

“It was totally new to me. I thought I had done some cool stuff, but it was nothing like the way these people work,” Seinfeld said of getting into the movie industry after so many years of being involved in other facets of the entertainment industry. “They’re so dead serious! They don’t have any idea that the movie business is over. They have no idea.”

“Film doesn’t occupy the pinnacle in the social, cultural hierarchy that it did for most of our lives,” he added. “When a movie came out, if it was good, we all went to see it. We all discussed it. We quoted lines and scenes we liked. Now we’re walking through a fire hose of water, just trying to see.”

When asked what has replaced films in pop culture, Seinfeld replied, “Depression? Malaise? I would say confusion. Disorientation replaced the movie business,” he answered. “Everyone I know in show business, every day, is going, ‘What’s going on? How do you do this? What are we supposed to do now?’”

NEW YORK - APRIL 25: CBS Mornings Co-Hosts Gayle King, Tony Dokoupil, and Vladimir Duthiers interview Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan on their upcoming film Unfrosted, Live on CBS Mornings.(Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS News via Getty Images)

Michele Crowe/CBS News via Getty Images

“Unfrosted” is scheduled for a May 3 release on Netflix. The logline reads, “Michigan, 1963. Kellogg’s and Post, sworn cereal rivals, race to create a pastry that will change the face of breakfast forever. A tale of ambition, betrayal, sugar, and menacing milkmen, ‘Unfrosted’ stars writer-director Jerry Seinfeld.”

The cast includes plenty of other celebrities, including Melissa McCarthy, Jim Gaffigan, Amy Schumer, Max Greenfield, Christian Slater, Bill Burr, Daniel Levy, James Marsden, Jack McBrayer, Thomas Lennon, Bobby Moynihan, Adrian Martinez, Sarah Cooper, and Fred Armisen.

Seinfeld has been contemplating doing a Pop-Tart origin story film for years. In 2018, he shared on X, “At one point I was thinking about an invention of the Pop-Tart movie. Imagine the drunk on sugar-power Kellogg’s cereal culture of the mid-60s in Battle Creek, MI. That’s a vibe I could work with.”

Plus, breakfast cereal is a topic he’s visited during his stand-up routines. GQ noted that one of Seinfeld’s earliest bits included the line, “Where in the world do you get your balls to call a breakfast cereal ‘LIFE?’”

The outlet also noted that Seinfeld and David were in a supermarket discussing breakfast cereal when they came up with the idea for the TV sitcom “Seinfeld,” arguably one of the most successful shows of all time. “[Cereal is] what we were discussing in that grocery store, when I said, ‘This is the show,’” Seinfeld said.

STUDIO CITY, CA - APRIL 3: (NO U.S. TABLOID SALES) Co-creators Jerry Seinfeld (second from left) and Larry David laugh while talking with actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus (back facing the camera) on set of the hit television show "Seinfeld" during the last episodes, April 3, 1998 in Studio City, California. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/ Getty Images)

David Hume Kennerly/ Getty Images

“Unfrosted” is an amalgamation of fact and fiction, with facts being presented alongside exaggerations for maximum comedic effect. When asked by Eater why he thought the invention of Pop-Tarts was funny enough to make a movie about, Seinfeld replied by saying it was just a gut feeling.

“I sometimes can’t explain why something is funny. But I just know that that is a funny thing,” he told the outlet. “It had to do with the name. It had to do with giving kids the power to make something with heat. Most kids when I was little never did anything like that — only adults handle things that had to do with heat — so it was an exciting new world to use a toaster. As a kid, you felt like you were cooking when you made Pop-Tarts.”

“I don’t think there’s anything as funny in the entire [1960s] — certainly in the food world — as the Pop-Tart,” the comedian continued. “It was such a surprise when it came out. It had nothing to do with anything else. There’s different cookies. There’s different candies. There’s nothing really that surprising in the candy world. But in the breakfast world, this was a total shock when they made this.”

He said even concocting the movie felt like a joke at first, until it became something real. Seinfeld compared the race to make a marketable breakfast pastry to the space race.

“[Writer] Andy Robin said, ‘It’s like The Right Stuff,’ with these two companies competing to get to the moon first — the Pop-Tart moon,” Seinfeld added.


Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, Fred Armisen and Melissa McCarthy in Unfrosted (2024)Photo by Courtesy of Netflix - copyright 2024 Netflix, Inc. IMDB.

John P. Johnson / Courtesy of Netflix – copyright 2024 Netflix, Inc. IMDB.

The longtime sitcom star said he took a similar approach to “Unfrosted” as he did to writing “Seinfeld” scripts, opting to always select whatever was “funniest” rather than going for historical accuracy. The Pop-Tart movie isn’t meant to be a documentary, but is rather a comedy filled with nuggets of truth.

While speaking with GQ, Seinfeld also said stand-up is still popular while other expressions of entertainment suffer because it’s real. He said in an era when people crave authenticity, comedy can still thrive because it’s too hard to fake.

“I’ve done enough stuff that I have my own thing, which is more valuable than it’s ever been,” the comedian told the outlet. “Stand-up is like you’re a cabinetmaker, and everybody needs a guy who’s good with wood. … There’s trees everywhere, but to make a nice table, it’s not so easy. So, the metaphor is that if you have good craft and craftsmanship, you’re kind of impervious to the whims of the industry.”

“Audiences are now flocking to stand-up because it’s something you can’t fake,” he added. “It’s like platform diving. You could say you’re a platform diver, but in two seconds we can see if you are or you aren’t. That’s what people like about stand-up. They can trust it. Everything else is fake.”

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