thu 01/10/2020

Jerry Seinfeld, Netflix review - not bad for a swansong | reviews, news & interviews

Jerry Seinfeld, Netflix review - not bad for a swansong

Jerry Seinfeld, Netflix review - not bad for a swansong

US comic says this may be his last stand-up show

Jerry Seinfeld's new show for Netflix was recorded at a Broadway theatre

Jerry Seinfeld said in a recent interview that this Netflix special – 23 Hours to Kill – may be his last stand-up show. That's a shame, as there's much to enjoy here, even if he is retreading some old ground.

Jerry Seinfeld said in a recent interview that this Netflix special – 23 Hours to Kill – may be his last stand-up show. That's a shame, as there's much to enjoy here, even if he is retreading some old ground.

Much of this material he performed during UK dates last year (and some of it he had also performed when he previously visited the UK, in 2011), but that's OK as far as it goes – he's still a very funny man, and his grouchy, world-weary shtick can bear some repetition.

The show starts with – unusually for Seinfeld – a surprisingly showbizzy sequence, a filmed skit in which he dives out of a helicopter to get to this gig, recorded in a Broadway theatre, where he walks on stage to the accompaniment of a big band. But, that dispensed with (we never see the band again and the skit is not mentioned), Seinfeld gets on with the trademark comedy we're used to.

In the strong opening section, he riffs on why the audience is there – going to the trouble of getting off the sofa, buying tickets, making arrangements with friends and driving to the theatre, musing about pre-show dining plans, just for a “hyped-up not necessary special event… put together so we could kill some time”.

He ponders what is the point of having friends, but says he's too lazy to cast off one set because then he'd have to go to the trouble of meeting new people to spend time with and then be irritated by their problems. He says life sucks for us all, but slyly points out that for him (he's perhaps the richest comic working today), not so much.

Seinfeld continues in this vein, railing against life's inadequacies, and, as ever, manages to spin an observation about the tiniest detail into several minutes of material, and deliver a finely tuned punchline with a new angle on seemingly mundane subjects. He's not a fancy- restaurant man, he says, more of “it'll do”, and he doesn't understand the purpose of specials: “If it's so special, put it on the menu. I'm not interested in food that's auditioning.”

The second half of the show shifts in tone, and is mostly hoary old “men do this, women do that” material about his marriage and being a parent. It's not his best (and he's been doing a version of it for almost as long as he has been married) but he's the consummate performer, and this show has some beautifully constructed gags.

Seinfeld manages to spin an observation about the tiniest detail into several minutes of material

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters