REVIEW: Jerry Seinfeld is still master of his domain video


While speaking on the red carpet Jerry Seinfeld refuses to hug Kesha, an awkward exchange which has since gone viral.

REVIEW: What's the deal with Seinfeld?

Well, aside from the fact his phenomenally popular 180-episode strong series ended in 1998, and it's taken nearly 20 years for him to perform in New Zealand, you mean?

He's aware of that as well, bounding out on stage to a multi-generational audience on a Saturday night in Auckland without the hint of any fanfare. Amid the rapturous applause and hollering for his arrival, Seinfeld himself acknowledges his delay getting here and lapping up the adoration.

It doesn't take long for the maestro of the minutiae to launch into his patented schtick, the dissection of the detail that consumes our lives and the observation of the things we may never have considered to the level of sleep-depriving detail that Jerry always has.

* What Kiwis can expect from Seinfeld
* Why Jerry Seinfeld is a comedy master
* Jerry Seinfeld feels off about Ke$ha
* Jerry Seinfeld: No hugging, no learning

In some ways, his stand-up show is, like his television show was, a show about nothing.

It's taken nearly 20 years but Jerry Seinfeld finally got to perform for New Zealand
Tasos Katopodis

It's taken nearly 20 years but Jerry Seinfeld finally got to perform for New Zealand

Loosely, it's about the meandering journey we take through life, all wrapped up in a highly polished sheen, with trademark gesticulating and grimacing used to populate the punchlines.

But in true Seinfeld fashion, it's the done with the precise delivery of a neurotic and cosmically obsessed craftsman, a wordsmith who's drilled down the choice of every word and every construction to ensure each landing has maximum impact.

It works as well.

An aside and tacit admission that his former TV compadres won't be with him lands perfectly with the Auckland crowd, already filled with the knowledge their host has acclimatised himself to his surroundings and can lob in casual mentions of SkyCity's apparent abseiling suicide jumpers and the fact we're obsessed with wearing black.

Jerry's sharp and incisive comedy has always been about taking observations and neuroses to the absurdist level when subjecting them to extreme scrutiny.

There's been a rich vein that he's mined from the universality of recognition in his occasionally deranged views, espousing opinions that feel automatically and magically in line with our own worries and outlooks.

It sounds simple to admit the 90-minute show is slick, opulent in its cleverly and smartly delivered material, with accurate dissection of the details that drive us to distraction - and Jerry himself, clearly. But there's such smoothness in the polished edges on clearly oft-performed and maybe rehearsed show here that it's easy to see why he's earned the reputation of the consummate professional his colleagues always kowtow to.

Except for around the halfway mark.

It's here the one bump from an otherwise truly immaculate show emerges, as a segue from the observational material into the personal is announced by the maestro himself.

Totally and tonally unnecessary, it throws the audience off the scent a little and also seems clumsy for the man who's holding the audience in his hands.

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Fortunately, what follows from the man as he takes you into "Jerry's little world" is all killer and no filler, as it ricochets from the trivial details of surrounding yourself with garbage to a gut-clenching riotously paced sequence about marriage being like a game show, complete with the trademark Seinfeld squawk. 

Jerry doesn't hold back here with the delivery, and while he wastes no time leaving the audience with the universalities that lie within all relationships, he's wise and sage enough to know this is fertile ground for the funny.

Even at 90 minutes, it's a fast-paced journey that ends abruptly. 

Seinfeld's route is a rattle around his comedy cul-de-sac; one that is rich with callbacks and clever set-ups for observations that land with exactitude. It's a mind that's feverishly obsessed with the absurd and able to fashion that obsession to the nth degree, and then craft something utterly imaginative from within without ever losing sight of the fact it's there to amuse.

Even at 63-years-old and despite one bump, it's less yadda yadda, more continued and sustained proof this New York comic goliath is still master of his domain.

 - Stuff


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