Thursday, October 13, 2011
Jerry Seinfeld has a lot of Porsches. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
But he’s got enough that his people won’t say how many. Presumably that’s because he doesn’t want to appear too rich or elitist or greedy, and not because there are too many to count.
Maybe he’ll tell his co-grand marshal, Porsche engineer Norbert Singer, at this weekend’s Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, which happens to sync with his Golden State Theatre appearance this Saturday, Oct. 15.
“Singer is one of Porsche’s most brilliant innovators and someone I have always wanted to meet,” Seinfeld says. “I am thrilled to join him in Monterey.”
So we don’t have a number on how many 911 Turbos, GT3s and Carreras he stables – though one Laguna Seca insider concedes it’s “a lot. A lot a lot.”
In a way, that’s perfectly appropriate, since we don’t really have a clean, catch-all number on how much his legacy has impacted our collective comedic and sociocultural culture – while trackable millions have seen his standup and sitcom sessions, untold millions more have seen syndicated and pirated second lives. But we know it was big. Big big.
The launch of jerryseinfeld.com earlier this year only crystallizes – and trampolines – his hilarity with a deep reservoir of 1,000-plus standup archives and a rotating buffet of three daily featured clips.
“When I was 10 years old, I started watching stand up comedians on TV,” Seinfeld writes. “I fell in love with them and I’m just as fascinated with stand up comedy today. When I started doing TV, I saved every appearance. I thought it might be fun to go through all of it and pick out three bits each day that still amuse me for some reason or another. I’ve also included stuff I’m doing now, and I’ll be adding new stuff as I go.”
Hence, Seinfeld is aiming to reach another wave of brains, even as we still scramble to gauge the impact he has had on us.
“Somewhere out there are 10 year olds like I was, just waiting to get hooked on this strange pursuit,” he continues. “This is for them. I’m just hoping somehow it will keep this silliness going.”
When asked to estimate that silliness’ scope, one local musician, entrepreneur, obsessive student of pop culture and Seinfeld devotee simply sputters.
“Too massive,” Aaron Thomas says. “It’s way too vast.”
So we turn to other ways to estimate the impact he’s had – with a sudden email quiz put to a cross section of local citizens asking what lasting Seinfeldisms stick with them, even decades since the show last enjoyed highest-rating status on NBC.
The response was surprisingly sudden, thorough and intense.
“Yada yada yada,” came one instant reply.
True enough – while many fans can still hear Jerry say “Newman,” and probably picture the look on his face as he does it – they don’t need an imagination, or even a rerun, to hear the voice of Seinfeld, writer/cameo specialist Larry David and other friends. They need only keep an ear open to what’s around them.
“No soup for you.”
“Believe it or not, George isn’t at home.”
A waterfall of terms that were untapped pre-Seinfeld poured in – think “shrinkage,” or “muffin top.” From “low-talker” and “close-talker” to “man-purse,” “man-hands” and “man-zier” (aka the “bro”), the vernacular used to bring simple and clear identity to long-persistent, lightly off-putting human realities is a gift that keeps on giving. Like a “regifter.”
There were more thoughts where those came from. Doppleganger. The puffy shirt. Third-person references. A festivus for the rest of us. A coffee table book about coffee tables. The urban sombrero. Horse face. Master of your domain. Garbage disposal in the shower. One magic loogie. Fussili Jerry and Little Jerry Seinfeld, the rooster. The Chinese restaurant. The parking garage.
Expect the reaction to his local stand-up to be similarly potent.
“They don’t give you the really good horses when you aren’t good at [horseback riding], I found out,” he says in one bit. “The guy says, ‘What level rider would you say you are?’
“‘I don’t know, zero, nothing, whatever the system is. I can’t do it. Is that clear enough for you? I’m going where the horse wants to go. That’s my level.’
“Once they hear that they start looking around, ‘Alright, is Glue Stick back yet?’”
“I got out of a car that has 300 horsepower,” he adds later, “so I can sit on an animal that has… one.”
Perhaps that’s why Seinfeld is so passionate about horse-powered-up Porsches. But that’s beside the point. The real point: All the evidence continues to indicate there is really something to comedy about nothing.
Or as our local Seinfeld freak Thomas puts it, “Art imitates life. And life imitates Seinfeld.”
JERRY SEINFELD appears 7pm Saturday, Oct. 15, at Golden State Theatre, 417 Alvarado St. in Monterey. $95; $115. 372-4555.