Jerry Seinfeld, the legendary comedian behind his eponymous sitcom “about nothing,” brought a new show to Netflix.
However, the show itself isn’t new at all. Since 2012, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee pairs Seinfeld with both another comedian and a classic or luxury car. Over 72 episodes, Seinfeld talks to comedy legends, controversial figures, and at least one President of the United States of America. A new riff on the talk show, one of the most interesting things about it are the cars featured in each episode. The discussions between Seinfeld and his guests are good, though some reviewers feel that they aren’t, but the real stars of the show are the cars themselves.
What's the Deal with Jerry Seinfeld?
The 1990s were defined by a number of cultural moments, but ever-present throughout the decade was the show Seinfeld. Developed with Jerry Seinfeld and comedian Larry David, the cast of four characters went about their lives in a show that proudly declared it was “about nothing.” Despite some dissatisfaction with the finale, Seinfeld is one of the crucial pieces of pop culture from the era. The comedy still holds up today, 20 years after the show went off the air.
Of course, before he was a television star, Jerry Seinfeld was one of the kings of the stand-up comedy circuit. While he’ll still act in friends’ television shows, like Curb Your Enthusiasm or Louie, or do the occasional movie, such as providing the voice for the lead in Bee Movie, he’s still a stand-up. He tours relentlessly, and he ascribes to the idea that comedians’ material shouldn’t change much over the years. Whereas some comics put out a new hour of material every year, he says his act changes about 20 percent each year. Still, he loves the profession and its practitioners. In fact, he says that other stand-up comics are his favorite people to be around.
What's the Deal with Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee?
In 2012, the online streaming game was just revving up. Content provider Crackle scored a coup by landing this series, the first extended project from Seinfeld since the show. The premise is very simple. Seinfeld, who has a love of cars and an insane collection of them, will meet up with another person, and they will drive to get coffee. (They usually get food, too.) While they do this, they chat about life, comedy, or whatever they find funny. Sometimes, they will go on a little side-trip, such as when Dave Chappelle took Seinfeld to his old high school.
The overhead on this show is very low, because they use a pair of handheld cameras and Go-Pros. Their sets are the restaurants where they get coffee and the car in each episode. The production budget for each episode is believed to be about $100,000 or less, which makes it very cost-effective to produce. This year, Seinfeld brought the show to Netflix, which just released the first 12 episodes since making the switch. The show is currently involved in lawsuit with the man who directed the first episode, who claims he owns the show. However, Seinfeld is confident that he will prevail in court.
Where Do They Get the Cars?
While it can be interesting to hear Seinfeld talk about the business with other comics and even President Barack Obama, the one really cool thing about each episode are the luxury cars. Each car is supposed to represent something about the guest, at least as far as Jerry is concerned. Usually loaned to the show by a private collector, Seinfeld has gone for coffee in Porches, Lamborghinis, a Rolls Royce, and even a DeLorean. (Actually two DeLoreans because one broke down while they were filming the episode.) Each episode begins with a close look at the car, and Seinfeld talks a little about its history.
The segments in the car are also usually the most interesting in the show. Perhaps its something about sitting down to have coffee, but the energy of the show dips. When they are in the car, always with Seinfeld behind the wheel, it’s much more interesting. The show uses a second vehicle to get footage outside of the car, while the Go Pro cameras record the experience inside it. The cars are fascinating, and it almost makes one wish that the show was all about them rather than the “getting coffee” part of the show.
Is the Show Controversial?
Anytime you get a couple of comedians together, there is bound to be something said that is controversial or in poor taste. So much of what comedy is, especially when comedians are around each other, is taking what’s ugly about the world and trying to make it funny. It’s a subversive act, so long as the joke lands. If it bombs, meaning no one laughs, then all the comic did was say something offensive. Ironically, what generates the most controversy about the show is the discussion about the current level of cultural sensitivity.
In the series, Seinfeld mostly just complains about how certain jokes draw more ire than they might have in the past. He laments the seriousness with which people take the issue of gender relations or sexual harassment. He gripes about vocal students on college campuses that protest speech they believe is insensitive. It’s not that he’s angry about the changes with society, but rather is annoyed by the new social rules that go along with them. In a way, it’s a lot like his early observational humor. However, younger audiences just aren’t as receptive.
So, Should I Watch It?
If you enjoy talk shows, especially any of the guests, you should probably check out the series. Each episode clocks in under 20 minutes, so it’s not a serious time investment. How much you will enjoy the conversation will depend on your own personal tastes. Some are more interesting than others, such as this new season’s episode with the late Jerry Lewis. It is believed to be the last thing he filmed before his death. Still, no matter what you like or dislike about each episode, the cars they use never disappoint. If you love cars, you will enjoy the vehicles they use in each of these episodes.
What do you think? Share your thoughts, reactions, and comments with us below. Don’t forget to share the article online to get your friends in on the conversation.