Noel Gallagher has never been afraid to publicly bash his least favorite entertainers – from his brother Liam to Radiohead to most contemporary pop artists. But he’s equally effusive about his favorite performers, including Jerry Seinfeld. Speaking to Rolling Stone last month at an Los Angeles listening party for his new High Flying Birds LP, Who Built the Moon?, the singer-songwriter – and devoted Seinfeld fan – shared a hilarious story about meeting the stand-up icon as a birthday surprise.
“I’m in the middle of mixing [Who Built the Moon?], and it’s coming up to my birthday in May,” he says in the clip. “It’s a Friday, so I say to the engineer, ‘I’ll see ya Monday.’ And he says, ‘Oh, we’re not in Monday, Tuesday.’ I say, ‘Why not?’ He says, ‘I’ve been told not to come in.’ I say, ‘Who the fuck told you not to come in? I run the fucking record label – who told you not to come in?’ And he says, ‘You’ll have to speak to someone at your office.’ So I call my office, and I’m like, ‘What’s going on with the studio?’ They’re like, ‘Well, you better speak to your wife?’ I’m like, ‘What the fuck’s it got to do with her?'”
After consulting with his wife, Sara MacDonald, Gallagher learned he’d be traveling to New York for a mystery gift that she promised would “blow [his] mind.” At first, Gallagher wasn’t enthused. “I fucking hate surprises,” he says. “I cannot handle it. I can’t handle it. I go insane if I don’t know what the fuck’s going on.”
With the “tension building,” a driver transported Gallagher and MacDonald uptown past the Dakota Building, John Lennon’s former residence. “Maybe she’s taking me to see fucking John Lennon’s house,” Gallagher recalls thinking. “That would be amazing.” Instead, they arrived at the Beacon Theatre, where “two guys in suits” greeted the couple and escorted them to their seats.
When Seinfeld strode onstage, Gallagher’s jaw dropped. “I’ve never seen him [perform],” he says. “The funniest thing ever, one of the greatest nights. I’m crying laughing. It’s unbelievable. Not only that, after the show, [my wife] said, ‘And we’re now gonna go meet him.'”
Gallagher and MacDonald ended up sharing an elevator with Seinfeld and the comedian’s wife, Jessica – leading to an awkward, sitcom-worthy exchange that could pass for a Seinfeld B-story.
“Jerry Seinfeld comes in and says, ‘Hey,'” Gallagher recalls. “I’m like, ‘No fucking way.’ He went, ‘Great to see ya.’ And his wife went, ‘Jerry, this is the guy from London. It’s his birthday! I told you!’ Jerry’s going, ‘I don’t think you did.’ She goes, ‘Jerry, I told you – it’s his birthday!’ He was going, ‘No, you didn’t tell me.’ I said to Sara, ‘We’re in a scene from Seinfeld. It’s fucking unbelievable.'”
Back in Seinfeld’s dressing room, the comedian “pretended he knew who [Gallagher] was for 45 minutes.” But the singer admits he “didn’t fucking care” either way.
Gallagher gushed to Rolling Stone about his Seinfeld fandom in 2015, calling the acclaimed sitcom “still the best thing that’s ever been filmed.” “It reminds me of the Nineties — good times,” he said. “I was the only person in England who was watching it! That’s a fact. Certainly the only person in Manchester who watched it. I identify with Jerry. When I met my wife 15 years ago, she’d never seen it, and I was like, “If we’re going to be together, you’ve got to be into this shit, because this is important.” Luckily, she fuckin’ loves it.”
Elsewhere in his Rolling Stone listening party interview, Gallagher talked about the influence of Kanye West and French spoken word on his latest LP.