Review: ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’

"Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" Review

Jerry Seinfeld's modest Crackle series is a "non-event," all right -- and a self-indulgent one

Although Jerry Seinfeld has titled his Crackle series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” it could just as easily be dubbed “My Coffee With Jerry.” Breezy but ultimately empty calories, it’s the kind of shortform concept that feels stretched even at 18 minutes, something the marquee names of the participants can’t obscure as a rather tiresome act of self-indulgence. Several cable shows have already capitalized on the inexpensive format of comics kibitzing, but the assumption two famously funny people thrown together will conjure magic reveals about the best one can hope for is a few random sparks.

In a sense, Seinfeld’s modest little exercise — which enters its second flight beginning Thursday — illustrates the difference between meticulously worked-over standup routines and what amounts to freestyle riffing. Sure, the comics might stumble onto something grand, insightful or merely clever, but it’s mostly trial and error.

In the first two episodes, Seinfeld picks up Sarah Silverman and David Letterman, driving around as he conducts a sort-of interview with the former — thus casting himself in the role of straight man — while playfully bantering with the latter. Seinfeld and Letterman clearly share more history, as well as the whole late-in-life dad thing, which provides a through line to their conversation that’s lacking from the Silverman session.

Although he’s always been a truly gifted observational comic, in this setting Seinfeld really doesn’t present himself as much of a conversationalist. So his admirable search for new horizons — which prompted him to formally retire his old standup act — has led him into a creative cul-de-sac to which he’s not ideally suited.

At this point, the digital space has created a lab where big names can play without having to undergo the rigmarole of mounting a formal TV show, and the sponsorship opportunities (Acura is the presenting entity) make such programs viable. Still, this falls under the heading of just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should.

“The non-event is the best part of life,” Seinfeld muses at one point.

By that somewhat dubious yardstick, life doesn’t get much better than this.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Crackle, beginning 12 p.m. ET Thursday

Production

Produced by Columbus 81 Productions and Sony Pictures Television's Embassy Row.

Cast

Jerry Seinfeld

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  1. Adam Ciongoli says:

    If you do not like this show you lose at life. I do not have a windy pretentious review. You lose if you do not like it and I’m sorry for your loss…

  2. Ricxk says:

    Proof that substantive comedy requires preparation. Two notable comics thrown spontaneously into a conversation does not guarantee a funny outcome. I was hoping the Chris Rock episode would have landed them in jail for reckless driving. Seinfeld and Rock talking their way out of the pitfalls of incarceration before someone posts bail. That could have had potential.

  3. First, whoever thought conversations in a car could be funny needs to be given a pointy hat and a burger flipper. It’s such a boring concept, that generally half the conversation is about the oddball car Jerry drives for that episode. Second, the whole vibe of the show is artificial: Jerry is trying to make everything funny and so the dialog comes off as forced and the laughter contrived. Third, Jerry is into a lot of “inside jokes” that he and his guest find funny, but which the audience is just left going WTF? Well, in my book, three strikes and you’re out. Sorry Jerry

  4. Canoots says:

    The show has it’s moments of being ‘humorous’. But Jerry is down right rude and obnoxious to everyday people. On the Amy Schumer episode he ordered “just eggs” from the waitress at a cafe. She asked him if he wanted ”anything else?”, and Jerry just glared at her with out saying anything. Making her feel stupid. When the waitress left the table. Jerry commented with the attitude “Can you believe this person?” Making seem he was inconvenienced, by the server tending to his needs.
    Even Amy Schumer seemed a little uncomfortable at that moment. Now there can be many factors involved, but there was no reason to be rude to the working class.
    The waitress might have been nervous being on camera and in front of a ‘celebrity’. Or she might have been on ‘auto-pilot’ having asked hundreds or thousands of customers ‘anything else?’ With them replying “No thank you. Oh yeah can I also get…” This happens to everyone in the service industry. People forget to order one more thing, or get mad that you didn’t ask them if they wanted ‘anything else?’
    You can see it in other episodes where he acts above everyone else, and does not want to be bothered. Well Jerry, if that’s the case why don’t you go move out in the middle of nowhere away from people/society?
    My wife and I watch the show, mostly for the other comedians, not Jerry.

  5. max says:

    I find that Seinfeld is just not funny in these series. His laughs and grimacing faces often are put on and overdone. He is obnoxious and not in a funny way – just outright mean. There’s a general tone of condescension toward regular people that get caught on camera. Such as dismissing a woman with “it was nice meeting you.” Where’s the respect that other, more classy comedians would show? Commenting on a guy wearing all leather, or a woman’s hair being a wig? Where is the punch line? Oh, that’s just Jerry being mean about people’s appearances… while having an obsession with bright neon sneakers that kids get out of by the time they’re teenagers.

    This series could be a lot better, there was so much potential (with so many great guests), but is rather bland, empty, and not funny. I’ll see if the show improves after 3 seasons…

  6. Viper06 says:

    Seen every one and could not disagree more with this critic. I like them more than anything Jerry Seinfeld has done even though I am aware that I am in the minority there.

  7. jack says:

    Odd – I enjoy them.

  8. Jim Xvid says:

    I think the first season was much better but I admire Seinfeld for trying something different. Catch the first season first, It’s brilliant.

  9. Patrick says:

    I really don’t understand a review like this. This is by far the most entertaining web series I’ve EVER seen. I’ve watched each episode multiple times and I laugh every time. FINALLY someone is making real entertainment for the Internet. Genius!

  10. Harley says:

    These are “Show Business” comics just getting together rapping.
    They see the humor in everything. Even the death penalty. “Let’s do it”. Jerry is great in this genre.
    I’m watching them over and over. Baldwin and Silverman are Funny and smart Keep makin em Jer.

    • Howie Alford says:

      This show is terrific, dare we say , “boffo!” Disregard this review and check it out for yourself. Seinfeld is hilarious here and this showvhas really found its wings!

  11. brian says:

    Can’t get enough of this show. The Larry David episdoe was hysterical…those two together can make comedy gold out of a simple conversation. The person who wrote this article has no clue what they’re talking about. I always find it funny how someone who does nothing with their life, sits on their ass and has no real talent, can just wake up one day and start calling themselves a a TV Columnist. Oh well, that’s Variety for you I guess: People who can’t make it in show business due to lack of talent sitting around writing articles and criticizing those who have talent,

  12. a says:

    I liked Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman and the cars, but agree that most of the content is tedious. Seinfeld is not a good improviser and the coffee is not interesting (they keep showing espresso machines, but they drink regular drip/filtered coffee).

    The episode from today, however, turned me off completely. Seinfeld was rude to a woman, a complete stranger. I guess Seinfeld was trying to be smart but he looked like a rich guy with nothing better to do than criticize a normal person for nothing.

  13. denvertvguy says:

    Wow, what’s not to like here? It takes its time, its entertaining.. must everything be loud and overly produced? Sign me up for 10 more seasons..

  14. Randy Cohen says:

    Love the show..hate selling out to a sponsor and having curse words bleeped out on the Internet. Pleeeeezzzz

  15. Michael says:

    I’ve been watching this new show endlessly since I learned about it just last week. The Alex Baldwin segment is hilarious and i could not disagree with this author more. I like the loose, casual banter and spontaneity of it all. The Michael Richards segment is equally hilarious.
    Seriously Brian go give yourself an enema. Seems you’re backed up on laughter.

  16. Jim Hoffmaster says:

    Just watched the Sarah Silverman episode, and I thought it was a lot of fun. I’ll definitely watch the Letterman one, and probably go back and catch at least some of the ones I’ve missed. Reading this review, it feels like there’s a distinct difference between what Seinfeld intends the series to be (Casually hanging out with funny people), and what the reviewer wants it to be (More “polished” comedy).

  17. gregorio lupe says:

    couldn’t disagree more. I smiled, laughed out loud, and enjoyed throughout the Sarah episode.
    i love their banter, because it’s off the cuff and real. no worked out routines, just some funny and successful friends chatting….this is funny reality TV, where we laugh with them instead of at them.

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