Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and others tell EW.com how they used jokes to help the victims of terrorism and give New Yorkers a reason to laugh again

By Brian Hiatt
Updated October 10, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Clinton, Cosby and Seinfeld: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

Last month’s terrorist attacks seemed to have destroyed the New York of ”Seinfeld” — a gloriously self-involved world whose occupants had the luxury of worrying about low-talkers, mimbos, and Festivus. So there could be few better signs that Gotham is beginning to return to something like normality than the arrival of Jerry Seinfeld himself at Carnegie Hall Monday night.

The Brooklyn-born comedian was there to raise money for the families of terrorism victims by cracking jokes with some famous friends — including Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, and Will Ferrell — in a hometown benefit show. ”People are in a better frame of mind than they were a month ago,” Seinfeld said as he arrived at the event — which he organized — with wife Jessica Sklar on his arm. ”This kind of signifies to them that we really are back and we really have survived this.”

Seinfeld was well aware that it might be hard to get laughs from the night’s shell-shocked New York audience, which included former president Bill Clinton and mayor Rudy Giuliani. ”No joke is safe — any joke could bomb and suddenly I’m on the floor,” Seinfeld said. ”Every performance is different, wherever you work, and so tonight it’ll be a little bit about the events of the past month and it’ll [also] be just regular stuff that people like to hear.”

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