WASHINGTON — In a classic “Seinfeld” episode, Kramer practices the fictional Zen technique of “Serenity Now,” which of course backfires into “insanity later.”
But Jerry Seinfeld himself promoted a much different technique Monday night at the Kennedy Center’s “A Night of Laughter and Song,” benefiting the David Lynch Foundation, which hopes to teach Transcendental Meditation (TM) to 10,000 at-risk youth and PTSD veterans in the D.C. area.
“It’s better than Serenity Now,” Seinfeld joked with WTOP. “It’s similar though, because you want serenity now. You can do TM any time you want. You sit down, close your eyes and you find serenity.”
Seinfeld says he’s been doing TM for 45 years, including lunch breaks during the filming of “Seinfeld.”
“The analogy I use [is]: Imagine you have a phone and someone hands you a charger,” Seinfeld said.
Seinfeld says he’d recommend the technique to anyone, except for maybe Jay Leno.
“You’re like the one person I would not recommend TM,” Seinfeld joked to his ex-NBC teammate.
“Nah, I have Sirius Radio,” Leno joked, to which Seinfeld replied with a laugh, “That’s XM.”
Monday marked a Kennedy Center return for Leno, who received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2014, the same prize that will go to his former late-night rival David Letterman this fall.
“I remember when Dave first came to L.A.; I think he admired my performing skills, and I admired his ability to put together really unique phrases that were different and funny from any other comics,” Leno told WTOP. “He was initially awkward on stage, I went up and introduced myself, and he said, ‘How can you be so confident up there?’ … We talked and just sort of exchanged pointers. It was fun.”
Margaret Cho said she’s honored to share the stage with both Seinfeld and Leno.
“They both have incredible, illustrious careers,” Cho told WTOP. “They’re both icons in this incredible field. And they’re just cool guys, so I really love them both.”
Emcee Hugh Jackman admitted it’s bittersweet to let go of the Wolverine role after “Logan.”
“It’s bittersweet,” Jackman said. “I’m not waking up eating chicken breasts — that’s nice. Wolverine will be back, but it was the right time to leave that party.”
However, he’s excited to see Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman.
“I can’t wait to see it,” Jackman said. “I’ve got an 11-year-old daughter who wants to see it. … I’m a huge fan of any movie that celebrates women as heroes, women in powerful positions. Fantastic.”
Speaking of which, news anchor Katie Couric hit the red carpet as well. Exactly a week prior, the Kennedy Center had celebrated the JFK Centennial, so it’s only fitting that Couric compared her coverage of 9/11 to that of Walter Cronkite delivering the news of President Kennedy’s death.
“Important news events are the times … when journalism is the most important,” Couric told WTOP. “It’s when the nation comes together and they really need to understand what’s going on. I saw that when I was doing the coverage of 9/11. It’s when you have to be incredibly responsible and careful and caring and compassionate. Your entire skill set is brought to bear in moments like those.”
Other guests included Kesha, Ben Folds, Angelique Kidjo, Deborra-Lee Furness and Sharon Isbin.
But the night really belonged to Seinfeld, who contemplated what “Bizarro Jerry” would be doing.
“He would be not here, because he’s always doing the opposite of what Jerry does,” Seinfeld said.
Watch all the video interviews in the gallery above.
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