A few months ago, we told you about Jerry Seinfeld‘s “web series about nothing“, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. The show has been chugging along for nine episodes, with big names like Larry David, Alec Baldwin, and Ricky Gervais rolling around with Seinfeld in his old school Rolls Royce, shooting the bull about comedy, friendship, and success. The result has thus far been an amusing, if rather simple take on the talk show, but the episode released earlier this week is a fine example of how Seinfeld can use his connections to bring viewers a unique take on two of comedy’s most endearing icons.
In the episode, titled ‘I Want Sandwiches, I Want Chicken,’ Seinfeld picks up legendary actor and director Carl Reiner, and they go grab a cuppa and some breakfast at a local diner. The fun really picks up when Mel Brooks (Reiner’s oldest friend in the world) and Seinfeld go over to Reiner’s house to eat sandwiches and kvetch.
There’s a lot to love about this episode, but at its core it is a perfect examination of old school Jewish humor. As a young Jewish writer, nothing inspires me than watching Carl Reiner order his bacon “so crisp that you’ll say ‘that’s too crisp!’ That’s it.” It’s so rare to see these comedians outside the confines of both their on-stage personae and the scripted environment of a nighttime talk show. They’re like the best Jewish grandpas imaginable; Mel even totes an Old Jews Telling Jokes coffee mug around, as if to drive the point home that he is the absolute epitome a very particular stereotype.
What’s also important to note is that this is still a talk show, albeit in a unique wrapper. Seinfeld’s constant fits of laughter are an apt replacement for the live audience seen in TV talk shows, cueing viewers in that ‘yes, that was funny.’ In addition to eating roast beef and telling Jew jokes, the pair also reveal interesting bits of trivia from their long and storied careers. Did you know that Brooks hired a guy he met at Chock Full O’ Nuts to write Blazing Saddles? Have you heard about how 8-year-old Jerry Seinfeld got Carl Reiner’s autograph? Were you aware that this Latin jazz version of ‘Springtime for Hitler’ exists? These are the kind of facts that ascend Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and make it more than just a pair of Old Jews Telling Jokes.