Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld surprised comedy manager-producer George Shapiro by delivering impromptu standup sets at the Beverly Wilshire on Saturday night.
Shapiro, who received the David Lynch Foundation’s inaugural Lifetime of Bliss award, told the audience that former client Andy Kaufman had introduced him to two things: “One was transcendental meditation … and the other was ‘Eraserhead.’ It was Andy’s very favorite movie.”
Lynch discovered TM 35 years ago while making “Eraserhead,” later forming the org to offer the technique to high-stress populations, including at-risk youth and veterans suffering from PTSD. As the evening’s hot-blooded emcee, Russell Brand suggested other stress-relieving techniques: “I, for instance, enjoy fellatio, but the bliss is more transitory.”
Sarah Silverman pushed the envelope even further, joking about rape and terminally ill babies, which got big laughs from fellow performer Garry Shandling. Surveying the crowd, Silverman quipped: “There’s pockets of judgment. That’s not what transcendental meditation is about.”
Shapiro has long evaded career-celebrating awards, so accepting Lynch’s honor gave four generations of comedy talent incentive to attend, with guests ranging from Michael Cera to Carl Reiner, plus a healthy contingent of old William Morris colleagues.
Leno stepped onstage to tell the room how Shapiro had encouraged him from the outset. “Meditation is a wonderful thing, but kindness beats all of it,” Leno said. Finally, Seinfeld closed out the evening with personal stories about the “Seinfeld” producer, kidding that most people “have to die to get this. This is what a nice George Shapiro funeral should be.”