Carol Leifer uses her 'Seinfeld' lessons in her new sitcom deal

By Josh Wolk
November 10, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST
Jonathan Exley
  • TV Show

When you’ve been trained in the art of sitcom writing by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, you end up with a refined taste in jokes. Their “no hugging, no learning, no message” rule made a strong impression on Carol Leifer, who wrote for “Seinfeld” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” then created her own sitcom last year for the WB, the now defunct “Alright Already.” She just signed a deal to develop two new sitcoms for the Greenblatt-Janollari Studio (which produces “Maggie Winters” and “The Hughleys”), for which she’ll still use her “Seinfeld” rules.

“If you pitched something and Larry David wasn’t crazy about it,” Leifer tells EW Online, “to lighten the blow, he’d say, ‘Well, you could see that on another show,’ which was like, ‘Ouch!’ But I’ve consulted on other shows, and on one somebody said, ‘Oh, I saw that on “Perfect Strangers.”‘ In my world, that’s like, ‘Oh, forget it. There goes that idea.’ But there, someone said, ‘Oh, great, then let’s do it!’ I was floored.”

Leifer says she probably won’t star in her next sitcom. She’s suffering residual exhaustion from executive-producing and headlining “Alright.” “Seeing Jerry and Garry Shandling doing it, I always knew they worked hard, but it’s not until you do it that you realize how hard it is to accomplish,” she says. But Leifer, who started as a comedian in 1977, won’t be giving up performing entirely. She does stand-up occasionally and enjoys it a lot more than during her pre-“Seinfeld” days when she’d been working in clubs nonstop for 16 years. “It’s definitely more fun now,” she says, “because when you’re in that grind, doing your act every night becomes kind of like doing ‘Oklahoma.'”