Jerry Seinfeld on Dave Chappelle ‘SNL’ Monologue, His Pop-Tarts Movie – The Hollywood Reporter


As hard as it is to believe, Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in cars getting coffee turns 10 this year. The road trip talk show — in which Seinfeld and his comedian pals hop into vintage cars and talk shops on their way to a cup of java — premiered July 19, 2012 on Crackle, then moved on to greener flowing pastures at Netflix in 2018.

Over its 11 seasons, Seinfeld has hosted just about every influential comic in the industry — his own Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, David Letterman, the late Don Rickles, Chris Rock, Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, Steve Martin and Tracy Morgan, among them. Along the way, he’s also hosted a few comedy-adjacent folks: Then-President Barack Obama joined him in a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray in season seven, then had coffee with Seinfeld in the White House dining room.

To celebrate its tin anniversary, Seinfeld has collected some of the series’ most memorable exchanges into The Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Book (Simon & Schuster). Available from November 22 and packed with funny anecdotes and insights into the stand-up psyche, it’s a no-brainer Christmas gift for the comedy buff in your life.

Seinfeld, 68, joined The Hollywood Reporter for a chat about what he thinks is funny, what he’s working on (including his Pop-Tart movie for Netflix) and his own take on the debate currently rocking the comedy world: the controversial November 12 Saturday Night Live monologue by Dave Chappelle (who, yes, appeared on an episode of Get coffee and also appears in the book).

I really enjoy reading the book. I think what I like about it, and what I also like about the show, is that you really show us the whole psychology of comics. What do you think makes a comic a comic and different from the general population?

A real comic really can’t care about anything but laughter. Everything else in human life feels artificial and pointless.

There was an interesting exchange in the book where you talk to Dave Chappelle about how Chris Rock really has an edge and that he speaks in statements. You refer to his speech with words like “commandments” and “closing arguments.” I really like that idea – that comedians have to think regularly and make it more extreme.

Oh yes, sure. In fact, the dumber the idea you present, the more fun it is. I think when it starts to get real, or starts to become, “This could be a really relevant thought,” the fun is off.

Now, do you think that somehow gets lost in translation with the audience? Perhaps with the rise of social media, people somehow, in the journey from the stage to mainstream discourse, forget that these are extreme versions of thought?

That is clearly evolving at the moment. I saw a stand-up special this morning and [there were] lots of great jokes. But an absolutely essential and required element now is that it shows us the tremendous psychic pain that you have. We want to see it. We want to know how and exactly how damaged you are and in what way and whose fault it is. And that’s become part of what people want from standups now.

[Audiences] seem so in love with stand ups. And I think that’s kind of an indictment of other forms of entertainment. Like, hey, the movies and TV should be doing most of this work. We just want to tell jokes. But now people are looking for depth in stand-up comics. I always think, “Well, the last thing I’d want to hear was what really bothered Rodney Dangerfield.” I do not want to know! Just give the jokes. Take the pain, give the jokes.

I was watching you New York Times video interview where you explained how you wrote the Pop-Tart joke. I really liked it because you broke it down in a way I hadn’t seen before. And you compare making jokes to writing songs – that you have to be on a certain beat or rhythm and that sometimes it comes down to shaving off syllables to get the laugh.


So for you comedy is a science. It’s mathematically worth a laugh.

Some parts are mathematical, others are just – it’s a sound. I was talking to this comedian the other day, actually it was today. He has a thing for a dune buggy. And I just thought, “Wow. I wish I could say dune buggy every night. Just a funny sound.

So sometimes that’s the musical part – sounds that are just fun to say. You always try. I’ve got this whole long piece on personal storage spaces and there’s a part where I go, “You’ve got to bust the lock.” I’m not saying “break in.” I’m not saying “trouble getting into it.” But the words “bust in a lock.” It’s nice on the ear.

I used to do this bit on bathroom cubicles where I would say “the viewing window under the display”. There is no word “under-delivery.” Not a word, it doesn’t exist. I made it up and everyone immediately understands it. But that’s the musical part – where it’s an entertainment for your ear. Pure for your ear.

And there are certain letters that should be funnier. I hear “k” is a funnier letter.

Yes, because they cut through it.

I was just watching Jon Stewart and Colbert, two of my favorite comedians, debate the Dave Chappelle SNL monologue. And I’m just curious what you like. Did you find it funny?

I thought the comedy was well executed, but I think the subject matter sparks a conversation that I don’t think I’d want to have in this venue.

But it made you uncomfortable.

It sparks a conversation that hopefully is productive.

And is that the kind of conversation you would have with Dave? Because you seem to have a close relationship with him.

I don’t have a close relationship with him. We are friends and it is not a close relationship.

Back to the Pop-Tarts thing, where are you with the Netflix Pop-Tarts movie [Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story]?

Netflix is ​​watching it for the first time today after I just finished editing and then we’ll see where it is next week. I think it should be out early next year.

No joke. And are you happy with the first cut? Can you tell us about it? I mean, it’s all fiction, right? It’s not a true retelling of the actual Pop-Tarts story.

No. There’s no story. But there are a few elements that are true that we use to start the story, which is that Post came up with this idea and Kellogg’s heard about it and said, “We have to do the same thing.” And then I kind of told the story like The good stuff with NASA vs. the Soviet Union.

The Pop-Tarts Race.

Yes, the Pop-Tarts race. (laughs.)

Well, I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’m a huge Pop-Tarts aficionado, so you’re speaking to your target audience here. I was also curious about something else: you surprised everyone by becoming a model. I wonder how that came about – that KITH fashion spread.

It was my son’s idea. They just asked me to put the clothes on. I put on the clothes. (laughs.) I had a friend who was a brilliant photographer who took pictures and I thought, “This is going to be on the back page of some W magazine.” That no one will ever see it.

Oh well. That didn’t happen.

It was insane, weird how that happened. It was so much fun. It just shows you how little you can predict about the world. Honestly, it totally shocked me that anyone even saw that. But of course so many people saw it and I thought it was so funny. Literally took an hour, that whole thing. “Put on this jacket and I’ll sit here.” “Take a picture.” “Give me that hat.” “I’ll sit there.” “Take that picture.” We were just fooling around.

Has it opened up other modeling opportunities?

Yes. Yes. I’m going to do a lot of modeling.

So back to the book. What are you doing to promote it? Do you do signings or performances in person?

Yes, I do this. This one. You should help me with that.

I’m going to help you!

Thank you sir. Netflix just asked me if they could have a book party for me for the book. So we’re going to do that. And I don’t know, everything else seems like a good thing to do.

And are you going to tour at all this year and in 2023?

Yes, I started touring this month. I’m just collecting material. But yeah, I’m doing shows now.

Awesome. I saw you at the Pantages and it was so funny. I like the bit about what a pain in the butt it is to even go to the theater.

Yes. Yes. And then you have to go back.

Finally, I’m just curious, who are your all-stars? The comedy all-stars of our generation.

Our generation. That’s a bit broad. What is the age range you give me to work?

They should be alive and over 40.

Alive and over 40. Who do I really love that I’ve seen? Got, this is a little unclear. I don’t know how deep you are in stand-up. Have you ever seen Fred Armisen: stand up for drummers. It’s on Netflix. You must be able to play a snare drum to get a ticket to go to the show. Because it’s all about drumming, but it really isn’t. It’s only 15, 20 minutes of drum material. But it’s absolutely brilliant. It’s a great stand-up special.

I love so many people. I like Ronny Chieng who does The daily show. I like his stand up. I think it’s so excellent. I like Earthquake. I think he’s incredible. I like real hard stand up. No, I’m not interested in funny anecdotes from your diary. I want to hear things that absolutely could not have happened.

So who else do I really love lately? I love everything Chris Rock does. I mean, like the guys who really go for the jugular, comically. Right? Not so much “I want you to know who I really am.”

You care less.

It’s not that I don’t care. But we need the jokes. It’s like the Woody Allen chicken joke. Do you remember? It’s like the man is going to a psychiatrist. He says, ‘My brother thinks he’s a chicken. I don’t know what to do for him.” The psychiatrist says, “Why don’t you send him in?” He says, “I would, but we need the eggs.” It’s about, “We need the jokes.”

Interview edited for length and clarity.

‘The Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Book’

Thanks to Simon & Schuster

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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