Having developed a taste for stand-up comedy while in college, Jerry Seinfeld took a chance one night in 1976 at an open mic at New York City's Catch a Rising Star. His performance landed him on an HBO Rodney Dangerfield comedy special which led to a small, but recurring role on the TV show Benson in 1979.
Though he was fired from the role, Seinfeld had some momentum. In 1981, an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson turned into a regular thing, and stints on Late Night with David Letterman followed suit as Seinfeld toured the comedy circuit.
Jerry teamed up with Larry David in 1989 to craft The Seinfeld Chronicles for NBC, later shortened to Seinfeld. The show, based around a semi-fictional representation of Seinfeld himself, was a monster hit for nine seasons. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, and Jason Alexander portrayed Jerry's friends on the show.
After the last episode of Seinfeld aired in 1998, Jerry returned to his stand-up roots and went back on tour. A comedy special soon followed in I'm Telling You for the Last Time. Jerry's comedic process was also captured in the documentary Comedian and collections of some of his routines have been released in book form.
Jerry also capitalized on his comedic talents by participating in various ad campaigns. First up, in 2004, was The Adventures of Seinfeld & Superman for American Express. A subsequent Windows Vista campaign was canceled before it even began, but Jerry did end up hawking HP Computers in a television spot, as well as Australia's Greater Building Society.
For the next few years, Seinfeld kept a fairly low profile, making special appearances on Saturday Night Live, at the National Museum of American History for a donation of the famous Seinfeld “Puffy Shirt,” as a presenter at the 79th Academy Awards, and on a 2007 episode of 30 Rock titled “Seinfeld Vision.”
By 2008, Jerry was ready to jump back in with the animated Bee Movie, for which he was a co-writer, co-producer, and lead voice actor. The project wasn't as successful as the hype had assumed. In 2009, Jerry gathered the Seinfeld cast for a special appearance on Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm. Jerry also played himself on an episode of Head Case and was the first guest on The Jay Leno Show.
Hitting the SNL stage again in 2010, Jerry sat in with Seth Myers for the Weekend Update "Really!?!" segment. He also acted as executive producer and occasional panelist on The Marriage Ref. Another big doing in 2010 was Seinfeld's surprise showing on The Howard Stern Show where the two men patched up a decades-old rift.