How to Laugh Your Way to Success

In her new book, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying, comedy writer Carol Leifer (Modern Family, Seinfeld) shares the surprising tips she picked up from Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and a career in Hollywood

by Laura Sinberg
carol leifer image
Photograph: Fayes Vision/

1. Always be the “easy hang.”
Sure, doing well at your job is important, but as Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld told me, there’s much to be said for being the person people like to spend time with. People like to hire people they like to hang around with.

2. Remember the rule of 10.
Jay Leno taught me this a long time ago. He never turns down a fan who wants an autograph or a picture. Anyone you’re nice to will tell 10 people that they had a good experience with you. If you’re a rude douche, that’ll get around to 10 people, too.

3. Don’t steal from your prospective employer.
I once nabbed a soft drink from the refrigerator of ├╝ber-producer Aaron Spelling during a meeting with the head of his production company. The next day, my agent called and said, “What the hell happened at Aaron Spelling’s office?!” Avoid any problem that is in your power to avoid.

4. Go to therapy.
Trust me, we’ve all got problems, and they will spill over into your work.

5. Embrace your “minorityness.”
I will always exploit the fact that I’m a woman for material. When I pitched the idea for the Seinfeld episode in which Elaine thinks the mirrors at Barneys are skinny mirrors, a lot of the guys on staff didn’t know what skinny mirrors were, but the idea interested them. Women have a different experience than men. Mine your life for things that will set you apart. 

Next: "It Ain't Over" for Marlo Thomas

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First Published Fri, 2014-03-07 11:31

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