A few months ago, Jerry Seinfeld introduced his new web show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which is exactly what it sounds like. I watched the first episode and basically dismissed the series as a frivolous, pretentious, Jerry Seinfeld vanity project. Who would have the audacity to drive around in a car that costs more than most of our houses shooting the sh*t with his pals? It’s a total 1% show, and I was a little resentful toward the premise, which was basically Jerry Seinfeld going about his normal day and expecting viewers to tune in because he’s Jerry (f**king) Seinfeld.
I may have been wrong about Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
The headline story here is that Michael Richards addresses the event that basically ruined his career. I’d heard that Michael Richards would discuss it in Comedians in Cars and figured I’d skip around in the 17 minute episode until I found the exchange. But a funny thing happened: The entire episode was totally, completely captivating from start to finish. I watched every second of it, and I recommend you do the same. Michael Richards is really a fascinating guy.
In the very beginning of the episode, there’s screen text that says, “It may look like some parts of this episode are set up. They are not,” a necessary warning given what transpires. Michael Richards, for instance, tells Jerry to stop at a particular house, which Richards’ says is his friend Sugar Ray Leonard’s house. Turns out, Michael Richards’ doesn’t actually know Sugar Ray Leonard, and the random house they chose was Jay Mohr’s.
Over the course of the episode, Richards also tells an amazing story about a homeless chess player he once met; about being recognized as Kramer in the jungles of Bali, about his gratitude to Jerry for the experience of the show, and even about his audition for Seinfeld. Eventually he does get around to addressing his meltdown, and what it did to his life.
I busted up after that event. It broke me down. It was a selfish response. I took it too personally. I should’ve just said, ‘You’re absolutely right, I’m not funny. I’m going to go home and work on my material … and thanks for sticking by me. It meant a lot to me … Inside it still kicks me around a bit.
It actually doesn’t make for a particularly juicy pull quote, but in the context of the episode, it’s a sad and poignant exchange. I can’t recommend viewing the whole episode enough. (You can watch it here)