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Funny folks

Jerry Lewis and Jerry Seinfeld (Netflix)

Television

Funny folks

Mutual respect flows in Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee isn’t new, but it’s new to Netflix, and one of the more refreshing things available for streaming.

Rumor has it that Jerry Seinfeld is worth nearly $1 billion—making him the richest comedian in the world. And yet, this entertainment legend and car enthusiast in each episode hand-selects a vintage ride to match his guest comedian’s personality. He picks them up for a perfectly normal, sun-drenched brunch, heavily laced with shots of dripping espresso (courtesy of a coffee advertiser). Then he gets them talking about themselves.

Could anything be more simple or more sweet?

Of course, the result is goofy. On its face, the show has no real point, like the sitcom Seinfeld is best-known for, only this format is less laugh-track funny than it is thoughtful interview. But it also doesn’t have the air of a man desperate to stay relevant. In fact, his interest is so genuine, we almost get the feeling Seinfeld would be doing this even if there were no cameras around—driving around his oldest friends and mentoring young comedians, all in the very best cars.

Comedians in Cars is a truly lovely product. Four-letter words, rarely used, are bleeped out. The closest this show comes to raunchiness in this latest season is Seinfeld’s habit of joking about male anatomy with his lesbian guests, but even that can’t spoil the fun.

Seinfeld is meticulous, going so far as to find a 1960s Jaguar for his date with Jerry Lewis, in the exact model and color Lewis once owned. (Lewis died five months later.) The respect just flows in this show. Jerry respects the guest, the guest respects Jerry, and they sit in a haze of mutual admiration for 20 minutes, sipping coffee and sending each other into stitches.

It’s neither groundbreaking nor extraordinary, but we need more shows like this in the #MeToo age. In an industry that seems to get darker and darker, it’s a bright bit of chivalry.

Comments

  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Sun, 07/29/2018 05:28 am

    Thanks! Sounds fascinating. I watched a Bob Hope documentary last night. It was very interesting. But one of the questions expressed and not answered, "Who was Bob Hope?" "Who was he as a person?" This program with Seinfeld et al might add that dimension. Though, of course, Bob Hope has been dead for 15 years. But I'm anxious to see the episode you hightlight. It would be nice if he could have also had Dean Martin on an episode as well.

  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Sun, 07/29/2018 05:42 am

    My wife and I watched this episode with the two Jerrys. It has its good parts. Most of what you write about it is true. But Jerry Lewis really doesn't say much. And in the end it was all kind of depressing.

    Many of the other interviews, are with comedians that either we never heard of or they are with lowlifes we know but have absolutely no interest in watching. The one with Chris Rock was a waste. He is true to his image. Jay Leno, who hates coffee, is a car aficionado extraordinaire, was quite good. His anvil and goat joke was hilarious! We will probably watch a couple more. I will say it is interesting to see the comedian insider discussions. They take themselves too seriously, which is a curious thing to think about.

  • Greg Mangrum's picture
    Greg Mangrum
    Posted: Thu, 12/27/2018 01:42 pm

    One of the things that my wife and I like about this show is Jerry’s unpretentiousness. Tipping came up in a show, I think—although I could be mistaken—with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the actress who played Elaine on Seinfeld, and in a refreshingly honest and humble admission Jerry Seinfeld said that he tips “outrageously” or something akin to that. You would have to see the scene to understand the remarkably ordinary way it came across. I appreciate that, although nearly a billionaire, the comedian doesn’t patronize blue-collar workers: barritas and waitresses primarily nor does he look down his nose at them. He appreciates that tip money is how they make their living. He seems to live into, at least economically, to whom much is given, much is required.