07.23.2019 I like Jerry Seinfeld. He’s always seemed like a very happy and likable guy.
Although, I was never a fully devoted fan of “Seinfeld” when it was on NBC, I’m sure I’ve probably seen the vast majority of the 180 episodes. Even after 1998 when the sitcom went into syndication, I would generally stop and watch it when flipping channels, but I was never a true devotee. I recognized and appreciated the quality and wit of Jerry Seinfeld’s humor, but, again, I wasn’t anything more than a casual fan.
That all changed with the arrival of his Netflix series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”. The show’s title pretty much sums up what to expect.
Jerry introduces a unique vehicle, many of them his own, and then spends the rest show picking up, riding around, and getting coffee with well-known comedians. I enjoy the cars, and the scenery, and the conversation. It is the conversation that I enjoy most. I have always enjoyed listening to people “talk shop”. Whether it’s plumbers, or pilots, roofer, or racecar drivers, I find the familiar exchanges of people I am unfamiliar with to be very oddly fascinating. So when Jerry and a guest deep dive into how a bit gets worked out and the fine art of playing an audience, I am engrossed.
Now, Jerry loves to laugh. He often leans wildly forward, mouth agape while driving, laughing in response to what a guest has said. Jerry Seinfeld is a very interesting man. His humor is equally interesting, and I love how he thinks about the world.
However, I’m not so sure he’s happy.
I recognize the judgy waters into which I’m about to wade, so please pardon my musings.
Yes, I see him laugh. He smiles often, and even when listening, there is a pensiveness in his eyes as he considers what is being said. But, he just doesn’t seem to be very happy. I’m making this assessment on the last six collections of his show, and that may not be fair, but let’s be honest. We can tell a lot about people if you watch them long enough.
Until now, everything I’ve seen him in has either been scripted, or an interview. Either way, the result is pretty much what he and the producers wanted you to see. On “Comedians”, you get enough time and raw conversation to see what appears to be more of the true Jerry. My wife and I on several occasions have looked at each other in response to a cynical, negative, cutting, or sarcastic a comment he made. They are not frequent enough to change the overall pleasant feel of the show, but they are there.
Jerry seems authentic. He seems incredibly intelligent. He is obviuosly very gifted as a comedian and entertainer, but he just doesn’t seem happy. You know that very satisfied with life type of happy? Maybe he’s a jubilant type of Eeyore that can hide depression and anxiety well. Maybe he’s doing just fine, and I’m reading him wrong. But, I think I may be more happy than Jerry Seinfeld.
I wish him well as I wish all of you the very best and a very happy day.