Jerry Seinfeld Has Been Trying to Make Pop-Tarts Funny for At Least 13 Years

Seinfeld first revealed his obsession with the breakfast pastry in a joke-writing video for ‘New York Times’ in 2012
Jerry Seinfeld Has Been Trying to Make Pop-Tarts Funny for At Least 13 Years

If Jerry Seinfeld can’t make Pop-Tarts funny, he can at least make them into a movie.

Long before Seinfeld and Netflix unveiled the low-stakes and mildly watchable Unfrosted, Seinfeld felt that he had something to say about the toastable breakfast pastry that he had to get out of his system, much like how someone who eats Pop-Tarts has trouble expelling the cheap slabs of sugar from their own bodies. As Seinfeld has repeatedly admitted during the deliriously strange media blitz in advance of Unfrosted’s streaming premiere, he doesn’t even like Pop-Tarts all that much, he just thinks that there’s something compelling about their composition that’s worth spending 13 years of his life working into a project. Now, Unfrosted is on Netflix for fans of Seinfeld and Pop-Tarts alike to decide for themselves whether the comic’s efforts were worth the calories.

As many comedy fans on the internet have unearthed since the Unfrosted press tour first kicked into gear, the earliest recorded mention of Seinfeld explaining his Pop-Tart fixation came during a video on joke-writing that he recorded for The New York Times in late 2012. During the interview, Seinfeld said of his Pop-Tart process, “I know you think people are going to be interested in this, but they’re not,” which could honestly be the tagline for most of his non-Seinfeld projects.

“I’ve probably been working on this for two years,” Seinfeld said of the Pop-Tart bit. “Usually I’d write a bit in a couple days. It’s a long time to spend on something that means absolutely nothing. That’s what I do, that’s what people want me to do — spend a lot of time wastefully so that I can then waste their time.”

Seinfeld launched into the joke, “It’s a fun thing to say: ‘Pop-Tart.’” He continued, “When I was a kid and they invented the pop tart, the back of my head blew off. That got the whole thing started. … it was the 1960s, and we had toast. We had orange juice that was frozen years in advance that you had to hack away at with a knife to get a couple of drops, and it felt like you were committing a murder before you got on the school bus.

“In the midst of that dark and hopeless moment, the Pop-Tart suddenly appeared in the supermarket, and we just stared at it like an alien spacecraft, and we were like chimps in the dirt playing with sticks.” 

Seinfeld then recapped, “What makes that joke is that you have ‘chimps,’ ‘dirt,’ ‘playing’ and ‘sticks.’ In seven words, four of them are funny.”

“I had to figure out how to end the thing and that’s the hardest part,” he continued. “If you have a long bit the biggest laugh has to be at the end.” He settled on, “Once this Pop-Tart had come into the world, I didn’t understand why we were still eating other kinds of food, ‘cause this seemed to be definitely the new way. Two in the packet and two slots in the toaster — why two? Because one’s not enough, and three’s too many. And they can’t go stale because they were never fresh.”

Of the last line, Seinfeld added, “That took a long time, and I know it sounds like nothing, and it is nothing. In my world, the wronger something feels, the righter it is. To waste this much time on something this stupid, that felt good to me.”

Now that he has Unfrosted out of his system, I wonder if it still feels that good — or, like an adult post-Pop-Tart consumption, he wishes he stuck with toast.


Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?