Friday, October 4, 2019

"Nuggets Of Jerry"

I didn’t look hard – because I have still got bronchitis, and I’m lazy – but it does not appear that anyone has written a full-length biography of Jerry Seinfeld.  (If I am wrong… come on, I’ve got clogged bronchioles.)

It is therefore a source of deep personal pleasure, mining nuggets of insight into the man by watching of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Remember that drinking game on the old Bob Newhart Show where every time next-door neighbor Howard Borden pops in and says, “Hi, Bob.  Hi, Emily.” everyone downs a shot, or whatever?

Same thing when I glean and unknown fact about Jerry Seinfeld, except that with Howard Borden it happened continually and with Jerry it rarely happens at all, and rather than downing a shot, I instead just go “Ah.”  (So it’s not really the same thing.)

I recall the first “Ah” I received, watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Somebody – did I say I recalled everything? – I think it was Eddie Murphy – was discussing the virulent culture of drugs in the 80’s “Comedy Scene”, and Jerry Seinfeld casually let out, “I don’t know anything about drugs”, and then, I believe, made a “Left.”

Did you know that?  I mean, looking at him, sure.  But has he ever before mentioned drugs?  And knowing nothing about them, how exactly is that possible?  That’s a coal miner saying, “I don’t know anything about dust.” 

And you know what else?  He meditates.  Yeah, Team!

The most easily discernible “Ahs” on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee involve what a great “audience” Jerry is for all of his guests, and his bonding identification with stand-up comedians, relishing that indelible connection, experienced exclusively by stand-up comedians, boxers and gunslingers. 

Nobody knows what it’s like being “up there” but them.

There are glimpses of “No-Nonsense” Seinfeld, listening to a successful comedian explain, “I was lucky”, and then forcing him to concede he had talent, worked incredibly hard, and had steadfastly refused to give up.  (Just like Jerry.  We don’t need no stinkin’ luck!”)

Then there is the delicate issue of money.

When another wealthy comedian explained, “I don’t like anything expensive”, Jerry immediately replied, “I do.”

‘Nuff said.  The man’s rich, and not guilty.
Finally, there are surprising glimpses of tenderness, topmost being a described visit to a terminally ill friend in the hospital.   (See:  Yesterday’s “hummus” anecdote.)

In a smaller though no less sensitive context is Jerry’s genuine concern that comedian Jay Mohr would feel hurt because (guest) Michael Richards took him to Mohr’s house, (seemingly) believing that it was “Sugar Ray” Leonard’s house, and when they found out it wasn’t, they just left.

“Shouldn’t we stay and say hello?”

“Jerry, he is probably napping.”

There are a lot of reasons to watch Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.  (One joy is watching the late Don Rickles throw out lines like, “My wife keeps moving my pills.  It’s like a ‘Scavenger Hunt’ for my life.”)  But for me, the richest pleasure is finding delicious “fragments of Jerry”, who seems cold and aloof, but when he blinkingly lets down his guard…


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