This article was originally published on Splitsider on August 15, 2017 and has been updated.
Jerry Seinfeld hates talk shows, so he instead set out to do the anti–talk show and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee — a series that lets Seinfeld take his friends on drives in slick cars to get some joe and grub — was born. For viewers, the lack of fanfare and production makes us voyeurs to the lives of comedians. The best episodes are the ones that really make you feel like you’re eavesdropping on a private moment between friends.
Now that the series is all on Netflix with a brand-new season – read our review here – let’s see which episodes top the charts and which ones fall flat:
Seinfeld and Madigan insult comedian Chuck Martin’s — who joins Madigan — apartment right at the top of the episode and it all feels a bit uncomfortable from there. The conversation forays into where different comics take their career. It always feels a little awkward when Seinfeld and his guests’ accomplishments don’t match up. Also, the banter, which is the real meat of the show, just seems flat and lackluster. Not comparable to the others at all. This episode was like watching pastel paint dry from a really uncomfortable wicker chair. However, it deserves credit for taking the time to deconstruct the term “douchebag.”
Best Line: “That guy’s a real ottoman.” —Martin
Miranda Sings teaches Seinfeld how to be famous, which begs the question: What went so wrong that Seinfeld — the man, the myth, the legend—had to endure a fake Miranda Sings YouTube video? Is that too harsh? Seinfeld takes Miranda Sings to the diner, where she schools him on “WeHo” — or West Hollywood as it’s more popularly known — and the “porn men.” If you are a fan of Miranda Sings then you will probably adore this episode, but I am not a fan, so to me this episode is like the puffy shirt all over again, except the puffy shirt is Miranda Sings. Yes, here is my transparent bias.
Best Line: “You live in [West Hollywood]? That’s where all the alcohol is!” —Sings
When the most riveting part of an episode is a syrup container, it’s saying something. I think there’s something that happens when the older generation of comedians gets together with the up-and-comers: awkwardness. Seinfeld did well with Daily Show host Trevor Noah in an earlier season, but save for a few moments, I think he and Minhaj just didn’t click.
Best Line: I didn’t laugh once. I wanted to, but it wasn’t in the cards.
Welcome to Station Wagon in the City! Or as Seinfeld dubs this episode, “Comedians in Cars Getting Aggravated.” Parker is not a comedian, so I am right there with the aggravation. There’s a lot of nostalgia talk in this episode, except it’s not about comedy but about life back in the day when parents drove station wagons. A good chunk of this episode is also spent arguing over how much to tip, just to remind us all that celebrities are not like us. Listen, it was a cute episode, nothing special.
Best Line: “The old-school cup-holder people.” —Seinfeld
Stern and Seinfeld are probably very good friends, but this episode could almost convince you otherwise. It’s a hard one to crack. The conversation leans heavily on Stern’s insecurities and things he has been trying to work out, and in the process he tries to sell Seinfeld on therapy. There’s also a very uncomfortable moment where Stern forgets he’s not in his studio and tries to get Seinfeld to go negative. This episode gave me agita.
Best Line: “I feel like this is the most unimportant show in show business that I’m on right now.” —Stern
Seinfeld takes Barry on his first ride in a sports car ever, and they head to Coney Island. Amid quite a few awkward pauses, the two comics talk New York real estate, film, and Barry’s favorite citrus joke that never gets any laughs. I love Barry. However, that kind of odd, shy persona works very well for Barry onstage, but it sets a very slow pace for the episode.
Best Line: “What about all those shirts in Macy’s? Where do they go? What happens to them?” —Seinfeld
Seinfeld and Gaffigan go “camping” in a VW bus. There’s a little wife talk, a little children talk, a little comedian talk. Plus Gaffigan leads a game of “21 Questions.” This episode has my personal favorite vehicle of the bunch, but the rest of it is kind of a yawn. It definitely could have used some Hot Pockets, but if you like meat porn then you’ll enjoy the last few minutes of this episode.
Best Line: Just the pastrami-eating montage.
In case you’re not familiar, Ted L. Nancy is Marder’s pseudonym. Anyway, the conversation topics of this episode really take on a mind of their own. There’s talk of Lowe’s, Rob Lowe, and competitive eating, and Jerry gives Marder a lesson in polite pie-ordering and cannibalism.
Best Line: “If you’re with cannibals obviously you have to have good manners. You don’t want to offend a cannibal.” —Seinfeld
WASP! It’s what’s for dinner on this episode of Comedians in Cars Hanging Out in Country Clubs! This Jew doesn’t mind it. Wentworth is just a good talker. She is great at coming off as a regular person who also happens to be hilarious. It seems like she and Seinfeld have a lot of family vacations together.
Best Line: “All [WASP] genitals are spackled shut.” —Wentworth
This episode leans heavy on the car talk. If you appreciate a good 1964 Studebaker Avanti, then you will love this! There’s also a bit of kibitzing on things like straws, The Walking Dead, and a bow-tie exchange program. Here’s the deal: If you are as much a fan of Smoove as Smoove is of himself, then you will enjoy this episode.
Best Line: “Did you hear about the two prostitutes talking to one another, and one says, ‘Do you smoke after sex?’ She says, ‘I don’t know, I never looked.’” —guest star, Jeannie
Seinfeld is ready for a hipster day with Wiig, which apparently includes rolled-up jeans, bookstores, and House of Pies. The Saturday Night Live alum dives into how her persona made her uniquely apt for her improv and SNL. Wiig is such a sunny presence and so funny when onstage, but this episode was a little sleepy. She did talk about how she is more comfortable in character than she is talking to people, so maybe that can account for it. If you are a fan of Wiig and familiar with her work, then it’s almost like watching two completely different people.
Best Line: “I love two people getting heated up and jumping into bed because of an old Volvo.” —Seinfeld
Wallace and Seinfeld do Vegas. Most importantly, in this episode we learn that Vegas actually has coffee! But before Seinfeld and Wallace get their caffeine intake, they take the stage at the Flamingo. This is the first episode where Seinfeld does a little stand-up, which is a nice treat. This episode is really about how far back Seinfeld and Wallace go, what it was like to be on the road, and how their relationship has been over the past two decades. You’ll learn a lot.
Best Line: “How did they come up with the word ‘suppository’? And I thought, maybe the guy was looking at it and went, ‘Suppose I…’” —Seinfeld
Fitting title. This episode dripped with both smugness and arrogance. It’s a lot of Maher talking about himself and about physically picking up a woman who was trying to “Paris Hilton her way” through the line to the bathroom. It’s no secret that Seinfeld and Maher are both a bit smug, but if you thought it was just an act before wait till you see this episode.
Best Line: “I thought goats just walk around. Didn’t know they were making butter.” —Seinfeld
Ansari and Seinfeld go on tour, in a tour bus, in a tour bus that Seinfeld is driving. Ansari looks extremely uncomfortable, and it’s unclear if it’s from having to make conversation with Seinfeld or the fact that his life might very well be in danger. What is the insurance policy on Seinfeld, do you think? Eventually the tension eases and the two comedians get into relationships, technology, family, and, of course, comedy.
Best Line: “Comedy has a vampire aspect to it — you don’t want to do it in the light.” —Seinfeld
Sometimes the classic cars are too compact and squish Seinfeld and his guest in like sardines. It makes me very uncomfortable to watch tall guys squeeze into tiny cars like trying to put on skinny jeans in 95-degree weather. Other than that distraction, Macdonald tells a lot of old stories about coming up and Seinfeld mostly listens. If Norm Macdonald story hour is on your wish list then this episode is for you!
Best Line: “A rusty car in the rain sounds like one of those sex things: ‘How much for a rusty car in the rain?’” —Macdonald
Hodgson and Seinfeld reveal every man’s desire in the ’80s was to be Mad Men in the ’60s. To fulfill their yearning the two play ketchup execs over some lunch. It’s a conversation about nothing, and what more could you want from a Seinfeld show?
Best Line: “How many fights did they have over this [ketchup bottle] before someone said, ‘But the ketchup goes to the bottom. Put the cap on the bottom.’” —Hodgson
Leno influenced a lot of comedians and it’s no surprise that Seinfeld is in that pool. While it’s entertaining to hear Leno and Seinfeld talk shop, Leno is so “on” that it feels a little disingenuous. The show usually feels very intimate and raw, and this episode just felt too showy. However, part of the show is Leno pretending he’s never had coffee before, which is a great long-lasting bit.
Best Line: “What is a Jay Leno?” —Leno
Amid quips about rescue dogs and Martha Stewart, Meyers gives the insider details about his transition from SNL to Late Night With Seth Meyers. It’s always entertaining to hear about how the talent of SNL came up and that moment their careers were made.
Meyers: “How many cars do you have?”
Seinfeld: “An amount that if you looked at it you would not go, ‘Well that makes sense.’”
I have to be honest, this episode ended and I found myself not remembering a single moment of it, and I had to go back and rewatch it. We know that both Seinfeld and Chappelle are comedy powerhouses, but they seemed … tired? There was a little shop talk, and then a walk down memory lane through Chappelle’s high school to drop off his Emmy. I guess that’s a nice gesture that had to be completed publicly during this episode.
Best Line: “The rectum is the lowest job in the body … but it does have a little social awareness of things that need to be dealt with.” —Seinfeld
This episode is jam-packed. Seinfeld and Cho hit a Mexican restaurant, a music shop, a butcher, coffee again, and then Seinfeld ends up opening for Cho at The Stress Factory two weeks later. That’s a first. Cho chokes up about how Seinfeld influenced her career and then opens up to him about being a survivor of sexual abuse and how it feels to do comedy about it. This episode is really a lesson in gallows humor at its peak and censorship and comedy.
Best Line: “Intersectional? Sounds like a couch that can turn into a dining-room table.” —Seinfeld
The Brennan episode came at the perfect time. Brennan is another pretty young comic, and yet this episode went over so much better than the Minhaj one before it. Maybe it’s that Brennan still has that old-school comedy vibe that Seinfeld seems to click with, or maybe it’s just because they’re friends and that makes for good television. Was it the most hilarious episode? No. Was is better than overhearing any two uncles arguing over gas or charcoal? Yes. So there you have it. The secret to my ratings barometer is out.
Best Line: “Everytime I turned on Seinfeld, you guys were worried about a jacket.” —Brennan
Brian Regan and Seinfeld go on a “first date.” Topic of conversation? What’s the highest echelon in which someone had to tell a guest, “You’ll have to jiggle the handle”? This episode is just pure silliness.
Best Line: “Has a baron ever said to an earl, ‘You’ll need to jiggle the handle?’” —Regan
Cedric the Entertainer talks about falling into comedy accidentally while working at State Farm and what comedians do after shows. This episode perfectly illustrates Seinfeld’s desire for an “un-talk show.” Instead of pre-rehearsed anecdotes they spend half the time talking about Muhammad Ali, who passed away the week of filming.
Best Line: “Dictators, comics, and preachers, this is all the same shtick.” —Seinfeld
Klein is such a character. So animated in everything he says and does. This is another one of those “history of comedy” episodes. A nice little Cliffnotes on Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, and Richard Pryor.
Best Line: “You don’t want to see Rodney [Dangerfield’s] testicles.” —Klein
This episode starts off with Morgan and Seinfeld taking a trip to King’s supermarket, in a Ferrari mind you, where they didn’t buy a single thing. I didn’t mind though. The highlight of this episode for me is on the way to get coffee the comedians have a conversation that spans from who came up with Raisin Bran Crunch to Sun-Maid getting into the chocolate-covered raisins business, and that’s comedy I can get behind. I didn’t know how the rapport between Seinfeld and Morgan would turn out, but the result was actually quite enjoyable. Their conversation was made up mostly of non sequiturs and sheer nonsense, but that’s just the way I like it.
Best Line: “White people don’t know what the projects is. You know what the projects is? You’ve ever seen Lion King when Mufasa is talking to Simba, and he says ‘Everything the light touches belongs to us,’ and [Simba] says, ‘What’s that dark part?’ and he says, ‘That’s the projects, we don’t go over there.’” —Morgan
The first returning guest of the show helps Seinfeld debunk what’s really going down in that infamous Marilyn Monroe shot, because only Seinfeld can look at Monroe in that white dress and think about the hot subway air blowing up her ass. I can’t unsee it now. The rest of the episode was pretty solid, though it didn’t live up to “Has a baron ever said to an earl, ‘You’ll need to jiggle the handle?’” but what can, really?
Best Line: “Don’t they have left-handed spoons?” —Regan
Gervais spends most of this episode just being terrified at driving around with Seinfeld in a 1967 Austin-Healey 3000, and when he’s back on solid ground he gives Seinfeld a little lesson on ordering eggs and math.
Best Line: “You’re like a young king, aren’t you? Things are kept from you, but you want to do stuff. Like, ‘He wants to drive around in a car,’ and someone said, ‘We’ll just let him go around in a car…’” —Gervais
Seinfeld and C.K. drive the dumbest little wicker-seat Fiat to set sail aboard C.K.’s yacht. C.K. makes Seinfeld a cup of brew and tells him how he lives when his kids aren’t around. It’s odd to see a guy who owns a yacht talk about how his favorite thing in the world is getting high and going to 3-D IMAX movies alone.
Best Line: “I can’t afford this boat. I shouldn’t have gotten it. You shouldn’t buy a yacht unless you can afford to buy ten yachts.” —C.K.
This episode was filmed in 2017 shortly before Lewis passed away, and so it was hard to watch but a perfect closeout to the season. The majority of this episode was devoted to Lewis’s career, rightfully so, and so it unwittingly proved to be a perfect tribute to him and his legacy.
Best Line: This wasn’t an episode for one-liners as much as an opportunity for Seinfeld to fanboy over Lewis. But, for me, Lewis’s breakfast order just sums up the man he was: “I’m gonna have three fried eggs up, and a large order of very very very stiff bacon.”
Seinfeld and Oswalt head straight into the heart of Gen Y in a DeLorean. So back to the past to the future? Or, from the past back to the future? It’s confusing. It doesn’t really matter because the DeLorean gives out and Seinfeld and Oswalt have to call an Uber (see, maybe they are just like us!). Anyway, Oswalt explains how he’d kill Superman if given the chance and gives Seinfeld a crash course in Downtown L.A. living. By the time he’s done, Seinfeld comes in clutch with a backup DeLorean.
Best Line: “Wait, you had a backup DeLorean?” —Oswalt
Oliver schools Seinfeld on the differences in the British and American comedy scenes. Oliver recalls a set he did in Britain where he ended up in an empty room with no one but the sound tech. The Brits didn’t take to him as well as the Americans have. It’s fun to see Oliver out from behind the desk just drinking coffee.
Best Line: “We just think of the English as a cute little … it’s a curio shop to us.” —Seinfeld
Michaels is the man who made so many careers and always seems like this very elusive, cloaked mystical force who holds all the powers of the universe. This episode is like pulling back the curtain a tiny bit to what’s behind the Wizard of Oz, or in this case SNL. Michaels really opens up about the show and how he spots talent and can tell what they’re good for.
Best Line: “There will be a time when I realize that I am no longer as good as I was and things aren’t coming together as they should and the quality is going down, and then three years after that I’ll quit.” —Michaels
Most importantly, we now know Apatow keeps hot sauce on his desk. This is really about how Apatow came to be who he is and is so closely tied to a community of comedians that he feels very separated from having left stand-up for 22 years only to return a couple of years before filming. A lot of this episode is spent on Seinfeld and Apatow talking about Gary Shandling, and even Seinfeld tears up a bit. The best episodes of Comedians in Cars are the ones that are entertaining and funny but where the guests speak earnestly and openly. This is right in that sweet spot.
Apatow: “[My daughter] goes, ‘Six months ago I walked up to the door and I heard you [and Mom] have sex and it really freaked me out!”
Seinfeld: “Maybe you were just trying to get a plug in an outlet.”
Apatow: “I think we were watching Narcos. I think she heard [Pablo] Escobar have sex.”
Seinfeld and Einstein head to the bowling alley to not bowl and then bang-bang it from diner to deli with Einstein a little uncomfortable with the heat radiating off his mic pack. Instead of the comedian talking a lot about his career, this is more Seinfeld gushing over Einstein’s career. Einstein is probably one of the most accidentally entertaining people who ever existed.
Seinfeld: “This isn’t really a show.”
Einstein: “What is it? A tweet?”
Fallon is literally the guy who is just happy to be here, and by “here” I mean two episodes of Comedians in Cars. Only Fallon could sustain such high-level enthusiasm for a two-parter. Really, Fallon only needed one episode but Jerry couldn’t find somewhere to unpack the boat and so here we are. We should all be on whatever Fallon is on. He is funny, yes, but also genuinely happy and excited. It’d be annoying if it wasn’t so damn adorable. Aside from loving rainbows and gumdrops, this is a perfect episode for anyone curious about Fallon’s transition from Saturday Night Live to The Tonight Show.
Best Line: “What you want in a pancake is to have the consistency of young human flesh.” —Seinfeld
Seinfeld borrows Letterman’s Volvo — gifted to him by Paul Newman — for the day. This is an episode for those folks who love hearing about shitty cars, kettle corn, and Letterman’s career highlights.
Best Line: “I kind of look at my family and think ‘Well, in 60 years everyone’s dead here so…’” —Seinfeld
Rock and Seinfeld cover everything from Eliot Spitzer to Superman having to talk to a thousand people at once, like comedians have the ability to do. These two veteran comics just hang out and let us watch. It also provides a pretty good insight into the comic brain.
Best Line: “I talked at a friend’s funeral this year … got a couple laughs.” —Rock
Seinfeld and Hart beat the heat with subpar iced coffee in an AC-less café and dissect Hart’s distinct stand-up style. Seinfeld offers up some critiques, too. He can’t help it. This is near the top solely for the matching sneakers. Kevin Hart is pretty good too.
Best Line: “You use my name like you’re trying to sell me something.” —Seinfeld
There’s a very clear difference between Galifianakis’s and Seinfeld’s approach to fame, and that’s what’s for breakfast in this episode — and donuts. Other famous folk are always shocked that Seinfeld doesn’t care about privacy or shielding himself from the public. Seinfeld is kind of like the approachable icon who you can’t actually approach, but you can totally film him without his consent at a bike shop and he doesn’t even care — something that baffles Galifianakis. Was this episode hilarious? Not really, save for the fact of a surprise episode of Between Two Ferns starring Seinfeld. Spoiler alert: Cardi B shows up for no apparent reason, because everything but the kitchen sink.
Best Line: “Shouldn’t Seinfeld have just been called Larry David?” —Galifianakis
Seinfeld takes Waltz to an IHOP, because where better to take a guy like Waltz? It’s utterly hilarious to see Waltz sitting in an IHOP booth, but also extremely uncomfortable. Waltz just sits there looking very afraid of pancakes. He trades up for a crepe, which doesn’t fare any better. From there Seinfeld convinces Waltz to try the waffle on for size, and after all three Waltz has one thing left to say: “I’m about to ask you what I ever did to you?” It’s another one of those not-technically-a-comedian episodes, but we can let that go for Waltz because all his mannerisms and cadence turn everything he says into a punch line.
Best Line: “This IHOP, I never knew what it is. I actually always thought it was cheap shoes.” —Waltz
The “Lewis Black Persona” makes this episode mostly about political correctness and the how the people offended by comedy have changed from the conservatives during Lenny Bruce’s time to the liberals of our time. It’s an interesting conversation to overhear from two older comedians. However, that all loses out to Black’s road rage, which is better television than anyone could ever hope to come up with. Someone needs to make Lewis Black in Cars in New York Yelling at Shit Drivers. That’s a formal request.
Best Line: Black’s eating montage.
The theme of this episode is car trouble. Watching Seinfeld dealing with a smoking Ferrari is very entertaining. Other than that, it’s always interesting how younger comedians hold their own opposite legends. Schumer asks, “Is it worthless to compliment you?” And it turns out to be an interesting tag for the episode because it’s a lot of Seinfeld complimenting Schumer on her accomplishments.
Best Line: “I’m going to hold onto my seat belt like rosary beads.” —Schumer
DeGeneres is great. She’s clearly such a funny person, but also a really genuine-seeming person, a combination that makes for a great guest on a show like Comedians in Cars. There are no awkward pauses in conversation, and the banter is on point but it’s not all throwaway. There are some genuine bits in there under all the snark, like DeGeneres coming up as an out lesbian comic, and I’ve come to realize that’s the perfect blend for this show and those episodes are the ones I enjoy the most. This episode did not disappoint.
Best Line: “[A penis] is kind of like an expandable stroller.” —Seinfeld
Silverman is probably the most natural guest of the run. She admits her favorite thing in the world is just going out for lunch with comics, and this is exactly what it feels like: two friends grabbing some food. You want to know when a friend is on the show? When the guest is talking about depression and Seinfeld interrupts to ask for half-and-half. It sums up not just this episode, but the series perfectly.
Best Line: “You know what I think we are going to be suffering from here? Hipster service.” —Seinfeld
This is a really special episode because it feels like hanging out next to the comics’ table above the Comedy Cellar in New York City. Quinn, Seinfeld, and Joyner break bread in hipster Brooklyn while Joyner regales them with a public-transportation tale. It’s like there’s no show going on, just friends catching up.
Seinfeld: “Tell me, aside from [kids], what isn’t just brain-numbingly repetitive?”
Quinn: “I hear Downton Abbey’s pretty good.”
Seinfeld and Carvey dune buggy through the streets of California, and what’s the topic of conversation? Harvey Weinstein. Both comedians agree that Weinstein was perfectly cast for the role — “the look, the voice, the name, the weight,” the whole package. Thankfully they make it to coffee and switch the topic to the bits that worked for them over the years. Carvey did “shtick” for 99 percent of this episode, but I didn’t expect anything else.
Best Line: Impressions made up majority of this episode, so the best line is actually just the last minute of Carvey summing up Seinfeld as Bush Sr. If you ignore the whole episode and just watch that last minute, you’re golden.
First off, Carrey climbs over his own fence and comes out on the other side covered in paint for some reason that goes unexplained. Carrey is the antithesis of Seinfeld and it’s so interesting to see those two interact, like watching Jane Goodall in the wild. Carrey manages to sit still long enough to talk a little about how he started out as an impressionist and then moved onto what he refers to as “performance art.” It’s a weird, trippy time. Just watch.
Best Line: “There is no pulp, no matter how much pulp they tell you there is. Pulp is an illusion.” —Carrey
This episode is like a scientific experiment separating Ferrell from his characterizations and it’s so interesting, especially because it turns out he’s just as funny as a regular human eating a sandwich. We finally learn the origin story of Ferrell’s cat bit from his SNL audition.
Best Line: “Is there anything more futile than telling a cat what you don’t want it to do?” —Seinfeld
Harvey is just one of those comedians who doesn’t know how to not entertain. As Seinfeld points out, every part of his body is always working, which is very fitting of an episode that revolves mostly around appealing to your audience. “The audience is all the police we need,” says Seinfeld. Which really carries the episode into a discussion of whether or not comedians ever really “cross the line” and just how much they are responsible for.
Best Line: “Tragedy strikes. I’ve got news for you. We have the jokes that night!” —Harvey
For round two, Baldwin and Seinfeld visit their shared hometown of Massapequa, New York. I put the first Baldwin episode as No. 2 on my list, and though he brings the same type of humor and rapport with Seinfeld this time around, some of his “ideas” don’t land as well. For instance, Baldwin tells Seinfeld that he’s afraid to touch his wife in the #MeToo era, to wish Seinfeld responds, “You may be over-implementing the new guidelines.” He’s not wrong, but it’s kind of the perfect illustration of how much has changed since the first season of Comedians in Cars. That aside, I still gotta hand it to the rest of the episode because I laughed more often than not. Love him or hate him, Baldwin is a funny funny man.
Best Line: This episode had a lot of great Baldwin lines and act-outs, so I picked a short one that got me. “I got 15 bucks in my pocket, sunflower seeds all around.” —Baldwin (Also, it’s all worth it for the post-credits montage of Baldwin handing Seinfeld his coffee.)
It’s so easy to watch and be entertained by Maniscalco. He’s like a warm cup of tea that’s been spiked with Jack Daniels: inviting, calm, relaxing, and then bam, the punch. Maniscalco entertains Seinfeld with a story about an exterminator and it’s probably the best minute of the whole series.
Best Line: “If [exterminators] could really exterminate we wouldn’t have these things. They’re rat realtors… they’re just going to take these rats and show them some other properties.” —Seinfeld
Seinfeld wants to have a “French day” with the “Jerry Seinfeld of France.” “Seinfeld of France” is debatable; Elmaleh seems a lot more approachable. Maybe the Seinfeld of France with actual human emotions and feelings. Either way, Elmaleh is a hilarious guy in his own right. If there was a show called Comedians in Cars Eating Bread, well, send that to Netflix too!
Best Line: “No mirrors because nuns don’t need mirrors. No lipsticks for nuns.” —Elmaleh
Who better to kick off Seinfeld’s foray into this newfound fondness for coffee klatch-dom than his counterpart Larry David? With Seinfeldian humor pulsing through them, the two men who made a show about nothing bring the tradition back to life. It’s a pilot about nothing that sets the course for everything to come and also answers the age-old question, “Do you think Jerry Seinfeld wears boxers or briefs?”
Best Line: “You’ve finally made a show about nothing.” —David
To see Rickles — who, as Seinfeld puts it, “would be on the Mount Rushmore of comedy” — in this setting is a true delight. Rickles is still as sharp as a tack and not even Seinfeld can keep up. Rickles even takes a break to hit on the waitress. This is a chance for an insider’s look into Rickles’s coming up and we should just feel blessed to be a part of it.
Best Line: “You’re one of those voodoo Jews.” —Seinfeld
Martin hasn’t done stand-up in decades and it’s one of those mysteries that’s hard to wrap your head around: “Something so great it had to stop,” Martin offers Jerry. Which is really indicative of the type of humility and history of Martin — someone who possesses such success, appeal, and talent that few other could ever hope to match. If you are a fan of Martin, and who isn’t, this episode is truly something special.
Best Line: “When I was a kid, all I wanted to be was happy-go-lucky.” —Martin
Right off the bat, there’s a warning to the audience that certain events in the episode might seem set up but aren’t. So you can imagine what type of episode requires a warning like that. One with Kramer, possibly? This episode is one hilarious clip after another until a very sincere moment when Richards opens up about his onstage meltdown years back, and how he hasn’t gone onstage since. This episode has all the zany hallmarks of classic Kramer with all the very genuine and sincere touches of a long, long friendship between Richards and Seinfeld.
Seinfeld: “We’re just raindrops on a windshield, Michael.”
Richards: “I wanna know who’s wiping me off.”
Noah gets really deep with Seinfeld about what it was like being biracial growing up in South Africa. It’s so humbling to see where Noah came from and where he is now. This episode hit all the comedic parts but also served up some really touching moments.
Best Line: “You have the humility of a colonizer.” —Noah
This one goes out to all the nostalgia fetishists out there. It starts off with Seinfeld telling a fellow driver on the road, “We’re doing the Seinfeld reunion, and you’re not in it.” Couldn’t help but shed a tear in commiseration. It’s Jerry and Elaine taking a walk down memory lane and it should go on forever.
Best Line: “Thank you for training him to become a human being.” —Louis-Dreyfus [to Seinfeld’s wife … over the phone]
Burr, one of the funniest comedians around, talks about his professional plan to cameo on other people’s shows and not worry about his own. Which sounds exactly like a life philosophy Burr would have. He is exactly as Burr as he can be and probably the most comfortable of all the guests. Burr just wants to be onstage doing bits — no pretension about it and it shows.
Best Line: “I don’t wanna sit in a fucking trailer waiting 14 hours to pretend to be a cop.” —Burr
Fey and Seinfeld trying to figure out what a drink called “wheat puffs” is turns out to be thrilling. This is pre–Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Fey’s job prospects were a little more ambitious: “I always say you should have to have a license to be on Twitter,” she says. “When 30 Rock ended they were like, ‘What do you want to do?’ I was like, ‘I wanna be in charge of the Twitter licenses.’” We need you Fey, now more than ever!
Best Line: “Feces are my purview.” —Fey
Reiner and Brooks have been getting together every night since 1950 for dinner and a movie. This night, Seinfeld crashes the party. It’s awe-inspiring to see two legends sitting in front of TV-dinner tables eating deli sandwiches. It could almost feel a little sad, but their banter and humor is as strong as ever, which injects the joy back into it.
Best Line: “We like a movie if someone says, ‘Secure the perimeter.’” —Reiner
Another one I was super excited for because McKinnon can do no wrong. It didn’t disappoint. The banter is funny, sure, but this is also just a very visual episode because that’s the McKinnon brand of comedy. She has to be funny all the time, there’s no way around it. Every blink, every nod, every step, and every wave of the hand, it all makes me laugh. Perfect example: Only McKinnon and Seinfeld can talk about broccoli rabe in a way that makes me think it’s an untapped well of comedy gold.
Best Line: Just McKinnon smoking a scallion. That’s all.
This is the episode I was most excited about, and before you even ask, yes, I am biased. But ignore that, because this episode deserves all the praise. Mulaney and Seinfeld go rug shopping at the request of Mulaney’s wife. I too one day hope to be afforded the opportunity to drag Seinfeld around on errands with me. If someone decides to make a show of just Seinfeld and Mulaney shopping for rugs, you can have all my money.
Best Line: There were so many, but I had to pull one out of all the great banter. “[The rug] is actually old. That’s a new drink for seniors called Actually Old.” —Mulaney.
This episode should have been titled “Things to Put on Your Bucket List: Waiting for Coffee With Fred Armisen.” Armisen is reliably brilliant but watching Seinfeld in Portland is like a chimp in a hosiery shop — it makes zero sense but the chimp is just happy to be there. This episode is really what every other episode should be like; from the car to the hipster-service meter, it’s all perfectly crafted with zero pretension, and most of that is because of Armisen’s unique brand of comedy.
Best Line: “[Bats] look like hamsters that got an idea.” —Seinfeld
This episode covers the pursuit of happiness as explained by Seinfeld and Colbert. Nothing could bring more happiness than this episode and its front-row seat to Colbert being the character that is Stephen Colbert. Everything that comes out of Colbert’s mouth is hilarious and this episode is just so damn enjoyable.
Best Line: “I think the lulls are nice.” —Colbert
Mic drop! Is that enough? Obama turns out to be one of the best comedic sparring partners for Seinfeld in an episode that our former president admits just might be his most embarrassing presidential moment. “I do very well with the zero-to-8 demographic. They love me,” says Obama. Well, after watching this episode, we reminisce on the old America and love you even more.
Best Line: “You have to use the non-presidential garbage.” —Obama
Jason Alexander is gone and George Costanza is in full swing. So of course to Monk’s, I mean Tom’s, they go. This isn’t Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, it’s a look at what would have happened if Seinfeld never ended. Complete fodder for the fans.
Best Line: “You know I like the curly chip. You didn’t put it out. I noticed that right away.” —Costanza
Seinfeld shows up with a Gremlin, which according to Stewart was “used for many years in New Jersey as contraception,” and also Stewart’s first car. This episode is at the top of the list not just because of how hilarious Stewart and Seinfeld are together but because it’s always easy to tell when the guest is an actual friend and not just someone who agreed to do the show. Also a foreshadowing to the end of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
Stewart: [On why Seinfeld wants to be buried] “Why would you think about it?
Seinfeld: “Just for fun.”
Huzzah! Einstein becomes the first guest to return for a second episode, and deservedly so! Seinfeld and Einstein did a commercial for the Acura NSX, and in honor of its release Seinfeld brings Einstein back on the show with the car that he may or may not gift to Einstein at the end — depending on how well it goes, of course. Einstein is always just brilliantly hilarious, but he get a little more serious in this episode when he gets into how he started stand-up after his father, also a brilliant comedian, passed away during the 1958 Friars Club roast of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez. It’s another perfect episode from Einstein, but you’ll have to watch to find out if he gets the car.
Best Line: “I just got through telling this story that almost makes me cry, and you turn to asswipe and say, ‘Are we good?’” —Einstein
But also, every damn line.
This one is so near the top of the list because Baldwin steals the show and makes an appearance as Jack Nicholson. More than that, this is the most sincere episode of the run. Underneath all the lines is a real look at the potential Baldwin has never quite fulfilled, and Seinfeld’s massive success. And okay, there is also a little bias on my part from his Beetlejuice days.
Best Line: “Your life has been one unbroken boulevard of green lights, hasn’t it?” —Baldwin
This episode aired just a couple of months before Shandling passed away, and it’s just so sad to watch now, especially with that title. Like it jinxed it. Seinfeld and Shandling go on a walk down memory lane and spend a good chunk of time reminiscing in the famous Comedy Store. Shandling is so effervescent and full of life, just a treasure that went too soon. Keep the tissues close with this one.
Best Line: Shandling and Seinfeld’s Matthew McConaughey Lincoln commercial.
Daniella Bondar is a writer and NYC dweller. Find her words at daniellarobin.com and follow her awkward exchanges on Twitter @daniellarobin.