There’s a great story in Entertainment Weekly about Jerry Seinfeld’s web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” It’s basically just what it says. Jerry goes for a drive with another comedian, and they stop somewhere and get coffee and maybe a bite to eat. It combines two things Jerry loves a lot: cars and comedians.
The series started in the summer of 2012, and has already won a Webby Award. The first season featured episodes with Larry David, Ricky Gervais, Mel Brooks, Colin Quinn, and Michael Richards, and in each one, along with the usual chit-chat, Jerry quizzes the person on how they do what they do.
Here, he and David Letterman talk about the supercharged Volvo that Dave got from Paul Newman. Can you imagine driving up next to this seemingly ordinary family car and seeing Dave and Jerry in there?
What stood out for me in the EW article is this: “Everyone sucks at it,” writes Jerry. “It’s like taking a javelin class. You throw it as far as you can, and it’s horrible. But that’s really what comedy is: that initial realization that this is almost impossible. Almost. So you realize that, and you go, ‘But I still want to do it.’ So then your next step is, ‘What’s it going to take?’ That’s another tortuous discover – that its going to take probably more than I have. Then you go, ‘But I’m still going to do it.'”
The parallels between that and building a writing business and an entertainment website that pays the bills are freakishly similar, so I’m just going to keep thinking about those words. It’s almost impossible. But it can still be done.
Here’s Jerry and ride-along Don Rickles in a 1958 Cadillac El Dorado Seville, a.k.a. “a mobile version of Las Vegas,” says Jerry’s voiceover:
“Sarah Silverman had a thing that I loved that I don’t think it made the show,” said Jerry. “She told me about this girl that she was friendly with, a young girl starting out [as a comedian], and she had this big night planned and the night didn’t work out and she got extremely upset about it.
“And Sarah told her, ‘You gotta start learning to not get upset, because otherwise you’re going to get too upset and you’ll never survive.’ I’ve learned this in baseball as well: One of the things they look at with these young ball players, if the guy’s a huge talent but he’s emotionally fragile, they don’t want him. If he’s breaking bats, throwing gloves, losing it, going up and down with the ups and downs, this is not a guy that could play in the majors. It’s the same thing with comedy.”
Or running an entertainment website. Here’s Jerry and Sarah Silverman in a 1969 Jaguar XKE Series 2 E-Type Convertible.
Each episode of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” runs about 15 minutes (edited down from three hours or more) and airs every Thursday for the season run. You can find them all on Crackle and the show’s official website. This season features ride-alongs with Sarah Silverman, David Letterman, Chris Rock, Seth Meyers and more.