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Long Before Wale, Jerry Seinfeld Hit the Billboard 200 on His Own

Jerry Seinfeld
NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Jerry Seinfeld

In 1998, the comedy icon charted with his stand-up-based 'I'm Telling You for the Last Time.'

This week, rapper Wale bounds onto the Billboard 200 at No. 1 with his The Album About Nothing. As previously reported, the set starts with 100,000 equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music. On the pure-sales-based Top Album Sales chart, the album also begins at No. 1, with 88,000 copies sold.

As its title playfully references, Wale's new release was inspired by his friend, comedy and TV legend Jerry Seinfeld. The set's cover art even mimics the logo of Seinfeld, while the titles of all 14 cuts start with "The," just like every episode of the ground-breaking comedy that aired on NBC from 1990 through 1998. (Wale was 13 when the show ended.)

While it may seem like an odd pair, Seinfeld and Wale are essentially Jerry and George, not Jerry and Newman. From a recent in-depth feature on complex.com, in which Seinfeld and Wale teamed up for a Q&A:

"Wale's been rapping about Seinfeld since 2008, when he dropped The Mixtape About Nothing, which took inspiration from episode titles and samples of the show … After hearing the mixtape, an appreciative Seinfeld arranged to meet Wale backstage at a 2008 gig in Baltimore. They later discussed working together on The Album About Nothing, which led to the comedian appearing on [Wale's 2013 Billboard 200 No. 1] The Gifted's 'Outro About Nothing,' where Seinfeld sounds perplexed that he's shown up to record vocals and Wale isn't ready to start the project."

Upon Wale's latest bow on the Billboard 200, it's worth remembering that Seinfeld himself has reached the chart on his own. After Seinfeld wrapped its run in May 1998, he released an album of stand-up material meant to cap his trademark observational humor prominent in the series. I'm Telling You for the Last Time debuted and peaked at No. 59 and logged 14 total weeks on the Billboard 200.

Even if it wasn't a No. 1, the album did include the term "No. 1" ... as part of the track "No. 1 Fear." "Speaking in front of a crowd is considered the No. 1 fear of the average person," Seinfeld muses in the bit. "No. 2 is death. No. 2! That means, to the average person, if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy."

Actually, Seinfeld has topped a Billboard chart: Seinfeld: Season 8 and Seinfeld: Season 9 both led the now-defunct TV DVD Sales chart in 2007.

Despite its modest No. 59 Billboard 200 peak, I'm Telling You for the Last Time, a companion piece to Seinfeld's HBO special taped at New York's Broadhurst Theatre, was nominated for a 1999 Grammy Award for best spoken comedy album.

And, the set was eventually certified by the RIAA for more than 1 million shipments. In other words, as Kenny Bania might say ... "That's Platinum, Jerry ... Platinum!"

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