Carol Leifer, Jerry Seinfeld's buddy, speaking at MJCCA September 10

This was posted on Friday, September 1, 2017 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Carol Leifer, a veteran stand-up comic and writer for "Seinfeld" and the Academy Awards, is celebrating her 40th year in show business, going back to her first appearance at the Comic Strip while in college at behest of her friend Paul Reiser. The emcee that day in 1977? Jerry Seinfeld.

None of them were famous at the time. Both Reiser and Seinfeld, of course, would eventually blossom into sitcom stars. Leifer became part of those circles and carved out a voluminous career.

She is opening later this year at the Beacon Theater for Seinfeld, where he is doing a residency in New York City. She is also doing speaking engagements, including the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta on September 10 to discuss her 2014 book "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying," a mix of memoir and advice. 

"I still feel for anybody who wants to get in show business or any type of business," Leifer said in a recent phone interview, "it's a good guide in terms of outlining a lot of smart things I did along the way, and a lot of not-so-smart things I did that you can avoid."

Leifer is also an executive producer of last year's surprise summer hit "Better Late Than Never," starring William Shatner, Henry Winkler, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman. The foursome traveled Asia season one and their humor and rapport charmed audiences.

"It was really satisfying," Leifer said. "So many people said to me, 'I watch the show with my kids. It's a multi-generational hit.' My son is 11. He loves the show."

For season two, they hit Europe. It's set to air sometime in early 2018 on NBC.

"The second season is so much better," Leifer said. "Their friendships are deeper. They've gotten to know each other so much better. It was really fun to watch their camaraderie build."

Shatner, at age 86, is a revelation, she said. "He has a work ethic I've never seen. A 21 year old would find it hard to keep up with him." And he is the king of knowledge, she said. "Who needs Google when you have Shatner?" she said. "And he has a true lust for life."

She admires the spirit of Bradshaw, the 69-year-old football legend. "You're hanging with Terry, you know it's going to be fun. He has a great curiosity of everything." And he challenges his fears. During season one, despite a fear of heights, he went up to the highest point of Tokyo.

As for Foreman, the 68-year-old boxing phenom, Leifer calls him a "gentle giant. He's a very soulful person, a quiet person. You go to a kind of deeper, more introspective level when you're with him."

Winkler, in the meantime, is considered one of the nicest guys in Hollywood. Leiber said Winkler came to her wedding and when her sister in law came up and said she was sorry her husband couldn't be there to meet him, Winkler taped a video on her phone without a moment's notice. "Just the biggest mensch," she said.


Carol Leifer, comic, author

7:30 p.m., Sunday, September 10, 2017

$20 members, $25 non-members

Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta

5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody, GA

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.