Comedians in cars get coffee coincides with Snakes on a plane As the greatest title of anything, anywhere. It tells you everything you need to know about what you’re about to see. Jerry Seinfeld’s streaming series debuted in 2012, and for 11 seasons, first on Crackle and then on Netflix where it remains, he was behind the wheel of his own comedy Carpool, running an amazing array of creative artists—mostly comedians, some actors. and writers, and one president of the United States. His passengers promoted nothing; It was all about hanging.
The Emmy-nominated series won five Producers Guild Awards. There was plenty of gas in the tank when the Seinfeld series was put in the park. Season 12 isn’t even out yet, and a handsome new coffee-table book, aptly titled Comedians in cars get the coffee book, out today. While Cosmo Kramer’s book on coffee tables works Seinfeld A bust, this is full gas.
The photos are worth the proverbial price of admission. Images of comedians who have since passed – including Garry Shandling, Norm MacDonald, Bob Einstein, Carl Reiner – highlight how each comedian’s unique essence is captured at once. Mostly, though, it’s Seinfeld and company doubled down on laughs, and that never gets old.
The book includes an oral history of the show’s creation, as well as quotes from a wide range of conversations to name more than a few: Judd Apatow, Alec Baldwin, Mel Brooks (with Rainer), Dave Chappelle, Stephen Colbert, Larry David, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Jim Gaffigan, Ricky Gervais, David Letterman, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Patton Oswalt, Brian Regan, Don Rickles, Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Howard Stern, Jon Stewart, and George Wallace.
Vanity Fair circled the block with Seinfeld about the book and series; The series includes examples of which guests were most special to him, which late-night comedian he most likes to have coffee with, and which episodes he feels best about. Buckle up.
Vanity Fair: Your last book is titled None of these? Did you ask yourself that question when you were developing the series?
Jerry Seinfeld: Every day. As someone who loves and spends countless hours creating comedic material [doing it]I had a hard time understanding that people would be interested in swarming people.
What was the original inspiration? Have you ever driven by Freddie Roman and thought, “This would be a great idea for a show”?
That’s not Freddie Roman [writer] Barry Madder. We were laughing, and I thought, “People will be happy to hear this nonsense.”
The show was generational when it came to comedians. You had the current and next generations, your peers and elder statesmen. Did you get something unique from talking to each group?
Every single one of them was fantastic. But elders are really special to me. It’s hard to describe what Jerry Lewis meant to me as a kid, sitting in a car with him and having coffee with him was an unreal moment for me.
I loved the Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks episode.
Such a thrill. Carl had a line in the episode. I asked him what he liked to watch on TV. He said, “I’ll watch any movie where somebody says, ‘Protect the perimeter.’ I recently produced a film [Unfrosted: The Pop Tart Story for Netflix] And I made sure to put that line in the movie.
My favorite part of the book deals with initiation. I was saddened to hear of (Improv Comedy Club owner) Bud Friedman’s passing this month. What advice did he give you when you were starting out?
“Get out of the corridor” was the best advice he gave me. “The waitresses need to get out of here.”
On the Don Rickles episode, he talks about doing shows in Las Vegas at 5 a.m. Your conversation with David Letterman touches on this, but now there’s no nightclub circuit. A titanic character like Johnny Carson can’t make or break a career. There are more platforms to be funny, but the need for content may be rushing some comedians to the headlines before they’re ready. Do you think today’s comedians are missing something?
I thought so about my generation, I started in the 70s. I was just starting out, and I was taken to an evening show that Bob Hope was doing in New York. I asked him: If I missed something, if I didn’t go through what he experienced (coming through vaudeville) everyone should be where they are. Of course, I think they’re missing something, but they have something I never had. It is a liquid universe.
Along with President Obama, Eddie Murphy might qualify as your biggest “get.” He seems to float some “any of this” material by you. Was that a thrilling part of the series for you?
He also does not know what he said to others. Comedians, everything we do is material. If I tell someone a story and they laugh, I tell it 10 times to 10 more people and hear that laugh.