Amy Schumer (left) and Jerry Seinfeld (Photo: A frame from ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’)
In Jerry Seinfeld’s conception the world is divided in two—one populated by comedians, which is his world, and the other populated by “regular” people about which he makes his jokes. It seems like a world he can barely tolerate. Had it not been for the hundreds of millions that that world has made him he might not have tolerated it at all.
He forgets that it is that world full of “regular” people which he needs both as source material as well as an audience. He couldn’t possibly sustain his career as a comedian by depending on other comedians to fill up the venues where he performs. In any case, other comedians have what they think is their own angst and self-absorption to deal with. They may not sit through the act and pay for it too.
These thoughts came to mind while watching the new season of Seinfeld’s hit web series ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ where comedians in cars, one of whom is necessarily Seinfeld, get coffee and talk. I remain annoyed at its mounting smugness but continue to watch every single episode.
The one in which Seinfeld shows his barely concealed wariness for “regular” people, the hoi polloi if you will, the swinish multitude if you insist, also features Amy Schumer.
The following exchange between Seinfeld and Schumer tells you a lot of what the former is:
Seinfeld: Already as a comedian the world has a transparent quality to you. You see through everything. That’s why you spend all your time trying to cogitate.
Here is my secret trick for talking with people.
Numbers. Ask them questions to which the answer is a number.
Schumer: Why numbers, though?
Seinfeld: There’s always an answer. This is Seinfeld’s secret technique for talking to regular people….
How long have you lived here? What time do you start work?
On July 14, 2014 I wrote this about the series, specifically about the episode featuring Jon Stewart.
“I am almost annoyed that I regularly watch Jerry Seinfeld’s increasingly smug net-only series ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’. To the extent that any performance art demands a measure of self-absorption, the core of this series makes sense. However, one finds that Seinfeld elevates the tribe of comedians to a level which they do not necessarily deserve. He sees charming quirks in almost everything that comedians do even when they don’t exist. It is as if he falls in love with his craft and those who practice it with manifest success over and over again. He presumes a uniqueness to his profession that no other can come anywhere close to.”
That overall approach continues with the new season. Not that I was expecting it to change because that is the default nature of Seinfeld’s world. Check out the two shots I have taken out of his latest episode featuring Bill Burr. The two are at a cigar bar in Hollywood.
Seinfeld and Bill Burr (I paused the video to capture these two shots)
The shot directly above of Seinfeld puffing away and thick, white, almost vapor-like smoke, floating around him like clouds wanting to envelop him sums up the kind of life he now leads.
Watching ‘Comedians..’ is not mandatory. No one has coerced me into watching it. I do it because I watch and read a lot of things to just keep up. I am not emotionally invested in anything I do by way of media consumption. My annoyance is a performance whipped up for the purposes of writing something, anything.
We live in a world where everyone performs for everyone else.