Jerry Seinfeld: The Comedian Award
Sunday, April 1, 9 p.m. on HBO
“Awards are stupid,” Jerry Seinfeld says after receiving the first Comedian Award. “Every real estate office has some framed, five-diamond president’s award thing by the desk. Every hotel check-in has some gold circle service thing. Every car salesman is platinum jubilee winner. It’s all a big jerk-off.”
Must be nice to have FU money and be able to tell the whole truth.
But even though Jerry Seinfeld: The Comedian Award is yet another “jerk-off,” it’s worth watching. Seinfeld is honored with a panel discussion that features Anderson Cooper as moderator and Robert Klein, Chris Rock and Garry Shandling as participants. So we get a breezy, funny hour.
That’s no thanks to Cooper, who’s more like a fan than a questioner. Do you write in an office? Do you practice in front of a mirror? Zzzzzzzzz.
But he’s incidental when you have Klein, Rock, Shandling and Seinfeld — “Murderer’s Row,” as Seinfeld calls them — swapping stories and jokes and showing off their quickness.
When Cooper asks, “Chris, when you heard that Jerry was going back into standup clubs, what did you think?” Rock shoots back, “I was like, if I had his money, I wouldn’t get on stage.”
“Is writing for standup different than writing for television?” Cooper asks.
“It’s the difference between cocaine and coffee,” Rock says.
Seinfeld is a comedian’s comedian for reasons that have always eluded me. He made his name in standup by making shallow, fairly obvious observations about the mundane aspects of everyday life. But Shandling calls him “meticulous, methodical … unbelievably specific with words.”
Rock says, “Jerry Seinfeld is a wordsmith.”
Klein says Seinfeld is “not mean-spirited.” He creates “wonderful comedy without being incredibly vulgar.”
(To which Rock replies, “What’s wrong with that?”)
Whatev, as the kids say. But even if you don’t find him funny, you’ll like this special.