mon 26/08/2019

Jerry Seinfeld, Eventim Apollo review - slick and smart but curiously soulless | reviews, news & interviews

Jerry Seinfeld, Eventim Apollo review - slick and smart but curiously soulless

Jerry Seinfeld, Eventim Apollo review - slick and smart but curiously soulless

US star makes rare UK appearance

Jerry Seinfeld's show is lengthy musings about life, and its minor irritations

A Jerry Seinfeld appearance in the UK is an event. For one thing it's rare (he was last here in 2011) and for another he's a comic hero to many for his eponymous sitcom, which he co-created with Larry David.

Seinfeld's opening set piece is about wasting time. No bragging, but he has a lot of time to waste these days, and we might as well waste our time spending an evening with him, wasting time together. It's typical Seinfeld – lengthy, seemingly freewheeling storytelling but which is precision-honed as goes down various highways and byways to get back to his original point.

His shtick is telling unconnected stories that he seamlessly binds together, delivered in his trademark nasal Brooklyn twang that always has a touch of “Is it just me?”, or rather “What's the deal with that?”

He doesn't do jokes as such, but delivers smart confections, not always as punchlines but sprinkled among the anecdotes: in a section about the foods from his childhood, he mentions Shredded Wheat – “It was like wrapping your lips around a wood chipper.”

Seinfeld's observational comedy, sometimes taken to surreal lengths, covers a lot of territory – life after the invention of smartphones, the perils of using Portaloos, the quirks of language and the manners of texting among them.

There's a lot that annoys him and he gives full tilt to his minor miseries – the delightful Yiddish word for it is kvetching – from over-fancy food (“I can't take the drizzling any more”) and how any phrase that doubles up a word is meaningless – “It is what it is”, What's done is done”, etc. Strangely enough, having had an invitation-only secret gig for British comics before these appearances to help give his material a UK bent, he misses the open goal of “Brexit means Brexit”.

About 45 minutes into this 70-minute show, just as things are starting to sound a little samey and with no interaction with the audience (not even when a couple of people shout friendly heckles), Seinfeld says he's shifting gear into more personal stuff, and the energy in the room instantly lifts.

The comic tells us he's 65, and the father of three children, but he spoils the moment by delivering 15 minutes of comedy that is remarkably dated – and not just from when he performed it here in 2011. Women say this, men do that, marriage is a chore and a constant battle. Surely this comic master can find something original to say about how the sexes co-exist? Either things haven't progressed in the Seinfeld household, or he hasn't noticed that society – and comedy – has.

Seinfeld does a couple of callbacks, and then says goodnight. It's a super-slick masterclass of comic performance, but curiously soulless. And had I paid £100-plus for a ticket, I might have felt short-changed.

There's a lot that annoys him and he gives full tilt to his minor miseries

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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Comments

I was there tonight and tbh very fair review. Does anyone know the name of the warm up comic, he was fantastic

Ryan Hamilton. Yesterday was the first time I’d come across him, thought he was great!

The support was Ryan Hamilton, who was excellent. He has a Netflix special, which is decent.

Ryan Hamilton, I thought he was fantastic

Ryan Hamilton! He is hilarious, watch his Netflix special titled 'Happy Face'

A little short changed, I’d agree. But we love him, we were all there, we laughed out loud a lot, and we do not get the chance very often so we wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It was what it was.

Seriously?

Did you wake up yesterday and decide you were a reviewer?

Jerry Seinfeld is Jerry Seinfeld. To those of us who have worshipped at the altar of Seinfeld over the last 3 decades it was a memorable experience to be in the presence of such comic genius. So what if not all his material is current and cutting edge; funny is funny!

Disagree with the review entirely. Thought both Jerry and Ryan were on top of their game, right from the start. The energy in the theatre was there from the start, and I was mightily relieved there wasn't any audience interaction. I find it very strange that you'd describe the set as 'soulless'.

You picked the wrong gig if you wanted sledgehammer-like laughs. Open goals have never been Seinfeld's style and I'd have certainly felt short-changed by cheap throw aways about Brexit. God, haven't we had enough of it already? "Either things haven't progressed in the Seinfeld household, or he hasn't noticed that society – and comedy – has." Pretentious drivel. This review sucks because Seinfeld was, indeed, great as the vast majority of the audience recognised.

Spot-on review. Very expensive and disappointing evening. A lot of the material corny, especially all the stuff about marriage,which was unoriginal and seemed to go on forever. The absent Brexit gag was a missed open goal and why was he shouting into the microphone? It made it really hard to understand a lot of what he was saying. Sorry to annoy - actually I'm not sorry at all - the Jerry fanboys and fangirls who dissed the review but it just wasn't very good. Soulless indeed!

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