Six Things I Learned From Jerry Seinfeld’s Reddit AMA

The night I ended my year long run at the greatest sitcom of all time, I scoured the internet like a jaded old man for anything that could make me feel like I was watching a new episode. This led me, of course, to the Seinfeld subreddit where I ran into an informative “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) Jerry Seinfeld did back in January. Some questions had to do with Jerry’s personal life or Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, but the bulk of them were about Seinfeld. In keeping with the internet’s affinity for numbered lists, I’d like to offer six things I learned from Jerry’s AMA.

1. Jerry as comedian but straight man to his friends absurdity is genius

Jerry as the straight man

Jerry may not always function as a typical straight man, but his antics are often tempered in comparison to his three closest friends. A man who makes people laugh for a living but takes a back seat to his friend’s comedy is not only ironic, it’s brilliant. This seems like an obvious obvious thing looking back, yet, as Jerry said, “Very few people have every remarked on this,” and I was not able to articulate it until I read this. My friend often describes Jerry as “the glue that holds the show together.” This is true in many respects but especially from the standpoint of comedy.

2. Seinfeld was not a “show about nothing.” 

“…The show about nothing was just a joke in an episode many years later, and Larry and I to this day are surprised that it caught on as a way that people describe the show because to us it’s the opposite of that.”

show about nothingWhenever I told someone I was watching Seinfeld straight through, it was not uncommon for them to mention it being a “show about nothing.” I didn’t understand why until I reached season four when Jerry and George decide to pitch “Jerry,” their “show about nothing” to NBC. At first I thought they were responding to criticism about the show. When I learned that wasn’t true, I struggled to apply that phrase to Seinfeld as it seemed so many people had. At the bare minimum, we have to admit that something happens in each episode, and while there may not always be much of a plot, there is certainly substance. Most of this substance has to do with hilarity of relationships and social customs. Although they are often stretched into a caricature, we can all resonate with, for example, interacting with a low talker or close talker. I propose that from now on we make it a goal to refer to Seinfeld as “a show about something.”

(Just to be clear, this is what Seinfeld would look like if it was about nothing:)

3. Kramer’s “look away, I’m hideous” scene was funniest to Jerry in the moment

“…if you think Kramer is funny on TV, imagine his real face six inches from your nose, how funny that is. You can’t imagine. It’s impossible not to laugh. So I would.”

Jerry laughingJerry often attempts to bottle up his laughter, but the resulting grins aren’t fooling anybody. It seems he had a particularly difficult time with Kramer’s “look away, I’m hideous” scene. Watch the outtakes, and then the full scene, where Jerry half snickers the whole time and turns away from the camera to conceal his laughter at the end:

4. Jerry was happy with the finale


I was glad to read that Jerry was happy with the finale, and I more or less agree with him. The only other way I could think to end it would be for Jerry to close the door to his apartment after all the characters walked out. I had no issue with the ending as they did and thought it was great that so many of the supporting characters got to come back for the finale. I also enjoyed Jerry and George repeating the opening dialog from the first episode.

5. Newman was Jerry’s favorite supporting character 

Newman arch enemy

It doesn’t bother me that the show never explains why Jerry and Newman are at odds or his often villainous demeanor for that matter. I never thought of Newman as Jerry’s arch enemy, but I love that he celebrates that.

6. Superman is not in every episode.


We can officially catalog this as urban legend and all stop talking about it.


Tuesday “News:” 90s Media I Discovered in the Last MONTH

Tis’ the busy season for those of us in the hospitality industry (since writing currently pays 0% of my bills), and I have been so exhausted that it takes all my energy to drink a beer while sitting down. I have not written a word since June 4th which is a travesty, sham, and a mockery. However, it does mean I have A MONTH’s worth of 90s exploration to catch you up with.

1. Seinfeld Tracker

When I last wrote, I was beginning season 9. Since then, I have watched over half the season: “The Blood,” “The Junk Mail,” “The Merv Griffin Show,” “The Slicer,” “The Betrayal,” “The Apology,” “The Strike,” “The Dealership,” “The Reverse Peephole,” “The Cartoon,” “The Strongbox,” “The Wizard,” “The Burning,” and “The Bookstore.”

It’s all too much to summarize now, but I think there are more standouts in the first half of that list than the second. In “The Merv Griffin Show,” Kramer finds the trashed set from-duh-the Merv Griffin Show and sets it up in his apartment. He hosts, and the rest of the gang appears as guests each time they enter Kramer’s apartment.

“The Betrayl” worked backwards from end of the episode Momento-style. I’m not sure why Jerry Seinfeld wanted to try that for one episode, but I thought it worked well. In “The Apology,” George never got the apology he hilariously insisted on throughout the episode:

In “The Strike,” I finally beheld the glory of Festivus, and I was in awe. With a bit of additional research, I discovered a website summarizing the Festivus traditions and another selling Festivus Poles. Here are some handy party favors for the holiday as well. All this left me in the Festivus spirit, and I have decided that I must celebrate it this year. December 23rd can’t come soon enough!

2. Simpsons Tracker

I am embarrassed to say that in the last month, I have only watched six Simpsons episodes: “Treehouse of Horror,” “Two Cars in Every Garage And Three Eyes on Every Fish,” “Dancin’ Homer,” “Dead Putting Society,” “Bart vs. Thanksgiving,” and “Bart The Daredevil.” My favorite of these was probably “Dancin’ Homer,” which is set at a baseball game for the Springfield Isotopes. Excited and fairly intoxicated, Homer dances on top of the dugout, excites the crowd, and wills the ‘topes to a win. He is subsequently hired as the team mascot and becomes known as “Dancin’ Homer.”

"For the first time in my life, people weren't laughing at me; they were laughing towards me!"

“For the first time in my life, people weren’t laughing at me; they were laughing towards me!”

And how about this national anthem.

3. The Cranberries

At some point last month  I listened through the first few Cranberries‘ albums: “Everybody else Is Doing it, So Why Can’t We,” “No Need to Argue,” “To The Faithful Departed,” and “When You’re Gone.” I had already seen their Unplugged session and recognized some of their hits (“Dreams,” “Linger,” “Zombie,” and “I’m Still Remembering”). The Cranberries have such a soothing sound. Probably the best song I discovered was “Free to Decide:”

Listening through these albums got me thinking about other rock bands with female lead singers that I need to check out as well: Hole, Garbage, No Doubt etc.

4. Glengarry Glen Ross

Last week I finally got back to watching 90s movies with Glengarry Glen Ross, starring Alec Baldwin, Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, and Ed Harris. The film is based on the David Mamet play, making it naturally dialogue-heavy. It follows three under-performing real estate salesmen’s attempts to generate clients using a list of bad leads. Since this film amounted to 100 minutes of intense dialogue (mostly the characters screaming and calling each other “cocksuckers”), I understand why anyone would walk away feeling like they wasted their time. However, I did appreciate the film’s attempt to deal with themes of jealousy and greed, but I probably wouldn’t see it again. Also, Alec Baldwin’s profanity-laced rant in his single scene appearance is something:

5. Clear and Present Danger

A day later, I watched Clear and Present Danger, a summer 1994 movie starring Harrison Ford, Ann Archer, Willem Defoe, and James Earl Jones. I have not read any Tom Clancy novels, and this is the first of the five Jack Ryan movie I have seen. The movie reminds us throughout that it is set in the 90s with the tv news fonts, the car phone, and the computer operating systems. I enjoyed it and would see again. Just based on the cast, you should already know what’s going to happen: stuff going to blow up, and Harrison Ford wins.

6. Spotify 90s Playlist

I opened Spotify a while ago and saw this:


I think Spotify finally figured me out. These playlists are great because they have one hit wonders that would have been difficult for me to find otherwise: 90s Pop Radio Hits, 90s Alternative Rock, 90s Jamz, and 90s Smash Hits.

7. The Discovery Channel’s 90s Special 

This Sunday night at 9 PM EST, The Discovery Channel will air part one of a documentary called “The 90s, The Last Great Decade.” The second and third parts are playing Monday and Tuesday nights respectively, also at 9 PM. The series will cover everything from arts and entertainment to news and politics, and I’m sure it will be worth a watch.


HT: Luke Helm, Linda Dennison

Tuesday “News:” 90s-Related Media I Discovered Last Week

I have been bad at blogging over the past few weeks. However, I have not stopped taking in 90s media, and now I am ready to tell you all about it. So, here is three weeks worth of 90s discovery:

1. Seinfeld Tracker

When we left off, I had finished season 8. Now that the end is in sight, I am pacing my way through season 9, savoring each episode. My plan is to continue to take it slow, even though I am tempted to finish the show in one night. So far in season 9 I have seen: “The Butter Shave,” “The Voice,” and “The Serenity Now.” I am astounded at how the episodes have maintained their quality at the beginning of the final season. I would even say the show continues to improve. “The Voice” was my favorite of the three. In it, Jerry imagines his girlfriend’s belly button talks to him  when she falls asleep, and the gang mimics it all episode:

Kramer also resurrects Kramerica Industries and fakes its legitimacy to secure an intern from NYU, Darren, who manages his daily affairs:

2. Simpsons Tracker

Over the past few weeks, I took my Seinfeld energy and directed it at The Simpsons. I finally finished season 1, and I am two episodes into season 2 (“Bart Gets an F” and “Simpson and Delilah”). These episodes were both way more hilarious than anything I saw in season 1, and I can tell the show’s form is beginning to take shape. I will continue to watch at a rapid pace.

Homer proudly puts Bart's D- history test on the fridge.

Homer proudly puts Bart’s D- history test on the fridge next to his first grade drawing of a cat.

3. Green Day/Dookie

Cover art for Green Day's 1994 album, Dookie, depicting what it will do to your brain when played for any duration

Cover art for Green Day’s 1994 album, Dookie, depicting what it will do to your brain when played for any duration

At some unfortunate point in the past few weeks I listened through Green Day’s Dookie as a part of working through Rolling Stone’s top 40 albums of 1994. For 39:38, I felt like I was somewhere between a mild nightmare and purgatory. I was already so familiar with the hits (“Basket Case,” “When I Come Around,” “Welcome to Pardise,” “Longview”) that I was exhausted by them, and the rest of the album felt like I was getting attacked by Hurricane Dookie, a storm of drum-pounding, hyper-nasal monotony. I understand if in 1994 some people thought this was a kind of innovation, but I’m sure we can all admit now that it was just mediocrity all along, right? The funny thing is, I somehow heard Green Day in the 90s and remember hating their sound. I don’t know how that impression stuck with me, but as a nostalgic 29 year old man, I can finally affirm that my former self was, at some point, right about something. Thus we have Green Day to thank for proving that a kind of objectivity is possible. Seriously, does anyone like Green Day?

4. In Memoriam: Jeff Buckley/Bradley Nowell

May 25th and 29th were the anniversaries of the deaths of Bradley Nowell, front man of Sublime, and singer Jeff Buckley respectively. I managed to write a short post about Jeff on the anniversary of his death. Both died tragically, Bradley of a heroine overdose and Jeff by getting run over by a boat during a night’s swim. Both also died in their 20s and well before their prime. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed discovering their legacy through the music they left.

5. Seattle/Kurt Cobain post 

A few days ago I posted the second part of my six part series about my trip to Seattle for the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. Each post in this series is structured as a narrative that follow each day I spent in the Pacific Northwest. I began the second day of my trip in Seattle and visited Aberdeen, Kurt’s hometown, on the way to imbibe in Portland. Each post has been quite an undertaking, so it will be a few months before I get through the series. Good thing I’m enjoying it!