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Jerry Seinfeld is known to most people for his iconic hit television sitcom Seinfeld (1989-1998), but his latest web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is clearly his best work.
Interest in the show has been growing since its 2012 premiere, and the recent Seinfeld "reunion" tie-in with the Super Bowl has introduced many audiences to the show for the first time. The show, which streams on Crackle, is straightforward, and the brilliant title is not at all misleading. In each episode, Seinfeld and another comedian drive around in a classic car and share a cup of coffee. It's like a late night talk show but more genuine: Seinfeld chooses fellow comedians he is fond of, his guests aren't there to promote anything, and the conversations feel spontaneous and honest. Although we'll never know if the show is planned like other talk shows, there's a sense that the conversations are mostly improvised, and because Seinfeld's guests are fellow comedians, we trust that they aren't censoring themselves in front of the cameras as, say, a politician or movie star would.
Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is preferable to his famous sitcom because it is his purest artistic statement to date. At this point in his career, the respected comedian can do whatever he wants, and that he chooses to push the creative boundaries with each project is remarkable. In this case, Seinfeld offers a meta-commentary on the art of comedy. His encounters with guests like Louis C.K., Tina Fey, Chris Rock, and Larry David provide glimpses into the entertainment industry and the experience of being a professional comedian. More interestingly, they demonstrate what draws individuals to comedy in the first place. Comedy, Seinfeld and his guests suggest, is the ability to laugh at the absurdity of life and the irrational, meaningless experience of being in it. Whether it is Chris Rock's articulation of why bullying benefits children, Larry David's rant on why it doesn't matter whether he drinks coffee or tea, or Louis C.K.'s justification that he went into debt to buy a boat, there's a sentiment that none of it matters so they might as well laugh at it while they can.
Seinfeld has always been a brilliant observational comic, and most critics and fans deem his self-titled sitcom "a show about nothing." However, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is the ultimate show about nothing, but the irony is that as we follow Seinfeld and friends as they talk about the meaning of comedy and the meaning of life, nothing inadvertently becomes everything. It is doubtful that Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee will become as popular as Seinfeld, but as an artistic and comedic expression, it is by far Seinfeld's greatest achievement.
In the 16 years since Seinfeld went off the air, we've seen parody web series, Twitter accounts, comic strips, and even a self-satirizing reunion on the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. The latest piece of show-about-nothing candy to which we're treated comes in the form of a Super Bowl commercial, combining Jerry Seinfeld's active web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with the iconic characters from the 1990s sitcom.
Seinfeld and Jason Alexander, in character as Jerry and George Costanza, take to their old coffee shop haunt (which, apparently, has been renovated just a touch since '98) during the Super Bowl halftime show to grab a bite, trade insults, and quibble about the minutiae of daily life. It's a delightful bundle of laughs for anyone who loved Seinfeld... a community to which all sane adults subscribe.
You can watch the full 6-and-a-half-minute episode over at Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee website. It might be just a taste of our old favorite show, but it'll tide us over until that play Seinfeld and Larry David are working on. You can also check out Seinfeld's CICGC episode with Seinfeld costar Michael Richards on the site.
UPDATE: It looks like Seinfeld fans were right to get excited after all. Jerry Seinfeld stopped by the WFAN Boomer & Carlton radio show on Thursday, presumably to talk about football and this weekend's big Super Bowl, but that's nothing compared to what the comedian actually revealed.
The hosts asked Seinfeld about the now-famous photo of him and former co-star Jason Alexander outside of Tom's Restaurant, and Seinfeld confirmed that the outing was part of a "secret project," that's "short-ish," but that the pair was not reuiniting for a commercial spot or an episode of his webseries, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee — meaning there actually is a Seinfeld reunion of some sort in the works. Seinfeld also revealed that there were several other alumni of the show present, including Larry David, although he won't be appearing on camera, and that they filmed at a few different locations in Manhattan. So... all signs point to reunion episode. Or some infinitely more clever concept that Seinfeld would do in place of a reunion episode (you know, like it already did on Curb Your Enthusiasm).
Fans hoping for a recurring series shouldn't get too excited, as Seinfeld has confirmed that the reunion would be a one-time only event. On the bright side, though, he did promise that the project will be properly unveiled "very, very soon."
EARLIER: Is that Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander on the set of a Seinfeld reunion?
Seinfeld fans have been busy untangling a web of clues and hints surrounding what Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David are working on, and if it is indeed a Seinfeld reunion. Last week, Seinfeld stopped by Reddit for an AMA, the website's version of a Q&A session for its millions of users. In the thread, which racked up over 10,000 comments, Seinfeld mentioned that he was working on a secret project with Seinfeld co-creator David. Seinfeld says, "We wrote this script for this thing that you will eventually see but I can't reveal what it is at this time. All I can do is tell you is that it's big, huge, gigantic. Even bigger than that Amazon package."
If that didn't already send expectations over the moon, the quick eyes at The Gothamist caught a glimpse of Seinfeld and Alexander, a.k.a. George Costanza, taking a stroll in front of Tom's Restaurant, the legendary Manhattan eatery that served as the exterior location for the Seinfeld restaurant, Monk's Cafe (or "the coffee shop"). Even more suspicious is the fact that Alexander is seen wearing some particularly Costanza-like clothing in the picture. Hmm... could this really be some sort of Seinfeld project?
The answer to this question is a deafening probably not. Adding another wrinkle to the whole situation, Roger Freidman of Showbiz 411, who spoke with Larry David recently, said Seinfeld and David are working on a play for Broadway, and that this was most likely the gigantic project that Jerry teased on Reddit. Even more dream-squashing is the fact that the shot of Seinfeld and Alexander outside of Tom's Restaurant is most likely the duo filming an episode of Seinfeld's web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. While it's a little disheartening to see all these hopeful threads come to possibly disappointing ends, the prospect of a Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld Broadway production is still pretty exciting, even if it's not the reunion we've spent the past few days dreaming about.
It is quite unnecessary to ever ask anyone who their favorite main character on Seinfeld is. First of all, there are only two possible answers. And second, you can tell straight away just by knowing someone, by affording a second of contemplation toward this person's general attitude and sensibility, which of the two possible answers he or she will pick. The cynics, the worriers, the "dark and disturbed" lot who qualify life by its day-to-day horrors will invariably pick George. And then there's the other sort: the dreamers, the impulsive head-in-the-clouds community, who will always pick Kramer. The world is divided by its Georges and its Kramers, both substantial components to any dysfunctional society worth its salt. And be you a George or a Kramer, a Costanza or a Cosmo, an Art Vandalay or a Dr. Van Nostrand, you will be intrigued by the news that hits the television world today: Jason Alexander and Michael Richards have earned new TV gigs. Alexander will be guesting on a Season 4 episode of Community, while Richards has been cast in the pilot of Kirstie Alley's TVLand series Giant Baby.
Alexander broke the news himself via Twitter on Tuesday: "Filming a crazy episode of COMMUNITY this week. Can't say much about it but it's a fun one." No details have been revealed about Alexander's character, but it is worth noting that this will be one of the few episodes of the season not to feature Chevy Chase (as the actor recently announced his immediate resignation from the program).
Richards' news, reported by Entertainment Weekly, reveals that he will be playing a limo driver to Broadway star Maddie Banks (Alley) in the pilot of the comedy series, which will focus on Maddie's attempts to reconnect with the now-grown son she once gave up for adoption. Alley's fellow Cheers alum Rhea Perlman will costar on the show.
Each of these bits of news is interesting, although uniquely. We have Alexander paying a visit to the low-rated cult phenomenon Community, a critically adored, often experimental take on the art of the modern sitcom, created by and for people who love, understand, and have seen way too much television. Among those people, Seinfeld fans are plentiful. It was this show that launched a new attitude toward television comedy, a new postmodernity that made possible the likes of Community and its contemporary peers. Naturally, the people who watch Community are people who also watched Seinfeld (though you can't necessarily claim the reverse). As such, nobody is going to hear about Alexander coming to Greendale and not be pretty excited over it.
Richards on Giant Baby is an entirely different story. We don't know much about Alley's developing program yet, but there is an undeniable negative stigma attached to TVLand original series. Hearing of Richards' involvement with the show might disappoint adoring Seinfeld fans; and hearing of the show's involvement with Richards might disgust many who are still upset about his offensive tirade circa 2006. But anyone who caught Richards' appearance on the final episode of Jerry Seinfeld's web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee knows that this is a very interesting man we have at our disposal. A bizarre, arguably troubled, invariably entertaining and somehow kind of sophisticated force of living outsider art. And good or bad, his involvement enough, a rare acting turn for the Richards of late, is at the very least interesting.
The Seinfeld Cast and Creators Since Seinfeld
Larry David hasn't exactly been grasping at straws for creative outlets since his leave from Seinfeld in 1996, and the program's eventual conclusion two years later (he returned to write the generally detested finale). David launched his HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2000 (can you believe it was that long ago?), and has sat pretty at the head of the series' eight revered seasons.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Seinfeld's Elaine, has herself experienced a good deal of television success. Her starring role on the network sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine, which aired from '06 to '10, earned her a couple of Emmys, and her more recent turn on the HBO comedy Veep is reminding us just how gifted a performer Louis-Dreyfus is, even (or especially) when she's playing a character who is wholly unlikable.
Seinfeld co-creator, star, and namesake Jerry Seinfeld hasn't exactly remained as large a constant on the small screen — ventures have included the short-lived Marriage Ref and guest appearances on Curb, 30 Rock, and Louie, not to mention his starring role in the animated Bee Movie (which he cowrote), his return to the stand-up game, and the often interesting web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
And then there were two. Alexander and Richards. George and Kramer. Koko the Monkey and H. E. Pennypacker. Both of whom have vied, unsuccessfully, to headline their own shows — for Alexander, Bob Patterson and Step It Up; for Richards, The Michael Richards Show. One of whom has effectively ruined his reputation with an offensive tirade during a stand-up routine six years back. The other of whom hasn't really done much of anything, other than narrate whatever Clipaholics is. And of course, each has appeared as himself on Curb.
Will you be tuning in to watch Alexander on Community and Richards on Giant Baby?
[Photo Credit: NBC]
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I haven't been to the beach in years. Not for lack of opportunity — I live 20 minutes from the south shore of Long Island and have spent most of my recent summers unemployed. It's not that I can't go, it's that I won't. Because whenever people go to the beach, something horrible happens.
And no, this isn't a shark attack thing. It's not a sunburn thing or a tidal wave thing or even for fear of the Kraken (although they are just waiting for us to drop our guard.) It is, in fact, the simple, rational fear that going to the beach will result in a traumatizing social situation. Scoff all you want (our articles have scoff-detectors now) but every single person I know who has gone to the beach has wound up involved in some kind of morbidly unpleasant public spectacle.
Okay, it might not quite help that every single person I know is a character on a television program. But you work with what you have.
It must have been written in the television handbook that the "beach episode" should be laden with emotional disaster, because every series since the 1970s has brought its cast members to the shore only to toss them into a horrid, Lord of the Flies-ian explosion of despair. Just in case you've managed to make it through your life enjoying sunlight and the company to the soundtrack of tumbling waves, here's a quick way to nullify your love of all things beach, using the most prominent tool of psychological destruction that America has at its disposal: Television.
So, no one told you life was going to be this way. Clap clap clap clap. You get stung by a jellyfish and then your best friend and future husband has to urinate on you in order to assuage the blinding pain. Clap cl—wait, what?
Yes, naïve vacationers, that’s what happens when you go to the beach. When Monica, Chandler, and the rest of their codependent harem headed out to Montauk for the Season 4 premiere, the future Cougar Townie was the victim of a bloodthirsty invertebrate. But little did she know, the sting would play second fiddle to the lifelong humiliation that comes along with having your neighbor, and the eventual father of your children, pee on your leg as a means of inexpensive painkiller. Also, Joey was there.
There are a few things that are most certainly acceptable to lie about: your weight, being distantly related to David Duchovny (who’s gonna check?) having once seen what was definitely a UFO. But you really shouldn’t lie about being a marine biologist. Because that damned beach will get you.
When George Costanza paid an innocent visit to the shores of Long Island with his new girlfriend — who just happened to be under the impression that he was a marine biologist — what should happen but a whale winding up beached and dying just off the coast. At the behest of a forming crowd, “expert” marine biologist George springs into action, walking brazenly into the hostile tide. He might have saved a whale that day, but his gallant admittance to the truth about his occupation cost him the love of the one that could have been. That damned beach will get you.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Granted, everywhere the main cast goes on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia breeds trouble. But their Season 6 voyage to Atlantic City brought things on to an unusual degree of chaos. Mac and Frank drifted off to sea, devoid of rum ham. Dennis and Dee got themselves involved in an assault and robbery. Charlie spent the night of his life with the girl of his dreams… only to have the entire thing turn out to be an ecstasy-induced blackout on her part. Life-threatening danger, multiple felonies, and heartbreak. That’s the beach all over.
Dude got punched in the face.
Thinking about skipping out on work, heading down to the water for some tanning and a light swim? HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING?
Back when The Office was a show you weren’t embarrassed to admit that you still watch, Michael Scott took his faithful band of paper suppliers down to the world-renowned beaches of Northern Pennsylvania, and forced them through a physically and mentally exhausting series of competitions to determine who might take his old job after he has been promoted to Dunder Mifflin Corporate. The horrid locale also forced timid Pam Beasley to explode into an aggressive hothead — character development, shmaracter shmevelopment, she’s just unpleasant now.
Six season about how the beach sucks. It might help you finally come to peace with your horribly misguided life choices, but still.
Do you know just how horrible the beach is? It’s the first place the New Girl cast thinks to visit when they discover that Nick Miller might be dying. The dank, morose connotations with the most dastardly geological formation are so overt that the human mind hears “Death!” and immediately jumps to “Beach!”
Nick, Jess, Schmidt, CeCe and… Winston? Was Winston there? Oh, what does it matter. The gang embarks on a nighttime excursion to the shore so that Nick can attack the beehive of remorse that has been his 30 years of life by diving headfirst into the freezing waters of Lake Michigan. This ploy of redemption is shot down immediately by the inherent malaise of the sand-laden hell and its saltwater brethren. No amount of chut-è-ney can sate the emotional starvation burned deep into your soul’s stomach after a nighttime beach trip.
The Brady Bunch
The Brady clan’s three-part trip to Hawaii is a necessary mention on this list of despotic oceanfront outings. Young Bobby happens upon a cursed relic that involves his entire family in a survey of tragedy, involving a near-death experience for Greg, and, quite frankly, nothing else that I actually remember. It’s The Brady Bunch. How much of it can you be expected to actually retain without being considered legally brain damaged?
Although we never found out exactly what happened to the study group when they headed to the beach that fateful St. Patrick's Day, we know that it ended in a popped raft, a friendship-threatening fight, and some very toxic lovemaking between two psychologically damaged peers.
The captain of all horrible television beach excursions. The Cunninghams and perpetual houseguest Arthur Fonzerelli find themselves involved in a television antic so bad, that the entire phenomenon of TV shows being ruined was actually named for it. And where does this particular event take place? If you can’t figure that out by now, then you should really write an angry letter to your synapses. Draped in a leather jacket and propped aboard a high-powered jetski, the Fonz dares to risk his own life and the reputation of a once stellar ABC sitcom to change history forever, shocking audiences worldwide with the episode when Happy Days jumped the shark. Littorally.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter.
[Image Credit: NBC]
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Emergency services were called to Steinbrenner's Tampa, Florida home on Monday night (12Jul10) and he was admitted to St. Joseph's hospital, where he was reported to be in an "extremely critical condition".
He passed away at around 6.30am (EST) on Tuesday morning (13Jul10), according to the Associated Press.
His death comes just days after he celebrated his 80th birthday on 4 July (10) and two days after longtime Yankees Stadium public announcer Bob Sheppard died at the age of 99.
In a statement, the Steinbrenner family says, "He was an incredible and charitable man. He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again."
Steinbrenner took over the Yankees in 1973 and the baseball team has won 11 pennants and seven World Series under his ownership, the longest in club history.
Outside the world of sport, Steinbrenner was known for being lampooned, with his permission, on hit TV comedy Seinfeld, when character George Costanza - played by Jason Alexander - worked for the Yankees.
Lee Bear portrayed Steinbrenner, although the character's face was never seen and he was always shot from behind at his office desk at Yankee Stadium. Larry David provided Steinbrenner's voice and the caricature depicted the mogul as a talkative man known for his bad decisions, who sometimes referred to himself as "Big Stein".
Steinbrenner's other TV appearances include a hosting gig on U.S. sketch show Saturday Night Live in 1990, and a movie cameo in Brendan Fraser's 1994 baseball film The Scout. He was referenced in a 1992 episode of The Simpsons, titled Homer at the Bat.
His personal fortune was estimated at a staggering $1.6 billion and he used his cash to invest in six Broadway plays in the 1960s and '70s, including the Tony Award-nominated musical Seesaw in 1974.
Steinbrenner is survived by his wife Elizabeth Zieg and their four children - Hank, Hal, Jessica and Jennifer.