It’s natural to want to know what our favorite celebrities are like in real life, especially comedians. Are they really that funny? Do they act the same way they do on TV? Do they crack each other up all the time? In Jerry Seinfeld’s new web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which premiered last month on the show’s website, viewers are given a casual look into the everyday personalities of the people that make them laugh, by way of a car ride and coffee. What’s more everyday than that? For the first episode, Seinfeld called up his longtime friend and collaborator Larry David to see if he was up for grabbing a cup.
The episode, which is about 13 and a half minutes, begins with Seinfeld introducing an azure blue, 1952 VW Bug (each episode, it appears, will feature a different classic car). Backed by a jazzy soundtrack, dashboard cameras capture Seinfeld and David’s inane but hilarious conversation on their way to lunch at John O’Groats diner in Los Angeles. The car’s features are also highlighted, such as its semaphore turning signals, windshield wipers and split windows. Whereas there can be plenty of comedic fodder for conversation in a coffee shop or restaurant, where one can relax, there isn’t as much to extemporate on in a car, so the fact that the specs of Jerry’s classic rides are brought into the fold is a nice touch.
After they get to the diner, sit down and order, the giggle-fest begins. Seinfeld and David are endlessly amused by each other’s views on everything from the “mood” created by sharing coffee, to why cigars are more contemplative than cigarettes, to David’s eating habits. When Seinfeld presses David for instances when his diet becomes “debauched,” the use of the word causes David to turn to the side of the table and spit out his tea. “A real spit take is not often,” David says after he’s composed himself. As for that question about whether comedians crack each other up? If this episode is to be taken as an accurate representation of their day-to-day interactions, the answer is a resounding yes.
Though Seinfeld giggles as if he had been hooked up to nitrous before picking up David, the episode is indeed pretty damn funny. David is the ideal guest for a show of this format. He has proved with Curb Your Enthusiasm that he can make the most banal, quotidian aspects of life entertaining, and on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, all Seinfeld has to do is offer up a topic, such as the age old question of boxers vs. briefs, and David will be off and running.
Though the show’s premiere was highly entertaining, it will be interesting to see how the series unfolds when Seinfeld doesn’t already have 30 years worth of inside jokes built up with his guest. There really is nothing to the show other than an aimless conversation between Seinfeld and whichever other comedian he brings along for the ride. As David mentions to Seinfeld as they sit down to lunch, “You’ve finally created a show about nothing.” He’s absolutely right.