“Seinfeld” has received a lot of attention lately because the “show about nothing” debuted 25 years ago this month on NBC.
And Jerry Seinfeld did mention his eponymous series a few times during his show at Ovens Auditorium on Friday night. At one point during a brief question-and-answer session, someone asked whether there was ever going to be a reunion show.
Seinfeld sounded incredulous, saying that was the first time he had ever gotten that question, then promised, “It’s never going to happen (pause) unless all four of our careers are completely in the toilet.”
The crowd roared its approval, as they did throughout the very funny show.
For the most part, Seinfeld stuck to the finely tuned, sharply detailed observational humor of everyday aggravations that has been his trademark for decades.
And so what if some of the topics might have been familiar to people who happened to have caught his previous stops at Ovens in 2010 and 2012 (such as the problem with toilet stall designs or the trouble cellphones cause people when they are almost out of power)? He makes the material sing like the pro that he is.
Seinfeld told the crowd he was 60, had been doing standup since he was 21, appeared on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson for nine years then did his TV show for another nine years. “So I’m in pretty good shape.”
But it’s clear he enjoys returning to his standup roots again and again.
He spoke of how cunning certain foods are. Salads and fruit just sit lifeless while desserts rotate behind a glass display “looking like a peep-show prostitute.” And he marveled as a kid growing up in the ’60s how great Pop-Tarts tasted, despite having the same nutritional value as the box they came in.
Shifting gears with ease, Seinfeld wondered why post office officials always seemed surprised they were losing money because their business model from 1630 clearly wasn’t working.
People not being able to stop talking, families compelled to put white stick figures on the back of their minivans and men’s obsessions with golf all came in for good-natured ribbing. Seinfeld also prowled the stage with physical comedy as detailed as his observations to buttress his jokes.
He even handled an interruption from the audience in good spirits. A woman from the back yelled out that she was 27 and loved him, then said her name was “Sue Ellen Mischke,” a minor character on “Seinfeld.”
Not missing a beat, Seinfeld told her if she was trying to pick him up, it probably wouldn’t work, what with the age difference, his being married and the show being in progress. Then he added, “It’s the best relationship I’ve ever had. I love her. She loves me. And we will never meet.”
Seinfeld also covered life with his three small kids, worked in a plug for his Web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and yada yada yada he’s in a real New York diner with a bunch of star-struck Australians when Wayne Knight, the actor who played “Seinfeld” foil Newman, happened to walk in.
During a brief encore he gave the crowd one last nod to his old show with a growling, “Hello, Newman.”
He ended it there. Always go out on a high note, Jerry. That’s what you said on your TV show. And it worked for the crowd at Ovens as well.