“There’s no information here I’m going to pass along of any value,” Jerry Seinfeld told the sold-out audience at Manhattan’s Beacon Theater tonight during the first of his five-borough-of NYC mini-tour (Thursdays through October and November). Of course not, Jerry. We knew that coming into this show. You’re all about nothing, yada yada yada. What we didn’t know was how old school (emphasis on the old) Seinfeld would seem during his 70 or so minutes of stand-up.
Which is not to say there weren’t moments of downright I’m-going-to-pass-out-from-laughing-too-hard hilarity. A rant on how the phone company chose the numbers in *69 had the audience applauding. A bit about the see-through bottoms of bathroom stall doors was perfection, even if George Constanza took that gripe to Steinbrenner first. (“How much is it to bring this wall down another foot?”) But some moments felt off-key for a guy we came to love as the shlubby commentator of everyday life who could have lived next door to any of us. Dressed in a perfectly fitted suit and a power blue-on-blue striped tie, with an expensive haircut that did what it could with a receding hairline, Seinfeld went off on a lot of nothing—from hydration to death beds to Pop Tarts to having single friends. “Our lives do pretty much suck,” he said, before smugly adding, “My life sucks too, perhaps not quite as much.”
If hearing his voice go screechy and high made everyone smile with familiarity, hearing him go off on kids-these-days bits made some of us cringe. “I remember a time when people were embarrassed when a tweet came out of them.” Really, Seinfeld? That’s worthy of a marginally funny neighbor at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
But, as the comedian himself pointed out, he’s 58 years old and has three kids. This is not a guy working the clubs every night, trying new material, keeping up with the young superstars. He probably makes more money off Seinfeld residuals in one day than every comic working in New York City makes in a month. So it didn’t feel groundbreaking when he spent several minutes doing his take on men are from Mars and women are from Venus. “Being married is like being on a game show and you’re always in the lightning round.”
In the end, even though he ended the show on a too-easy poop joke, the guy got a rousing standing ovation and looked genuinely touched. “This was a very special experience for me,” he said.
Most special for this audience member was coming home, turning on the TV, and catching the fake orgasm episode of Seinfeld. Because as nice as it was seeing one of the great comic minds of our time perform live, it’s also pretty great to watch him get banned from Joe’s fruit stand. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.