Jonah Weiner profiles Jerry Seinfeld for The New York Times. As someone who has never understood car collecting, this made some sense:
Seinfeld likens his fine-bore interest in jokes to his longstanding infatuation with Porsches, of which he owns “a few dozen.” “People ask me, Why Porsches? A lot of it is the size, same as with bits. The smaller something is, the harder it is to make, because there’s less room for error.” In high school he took shop classes, even after a counselor told him that collegebound kids didn’t need to, because he wanted to know how machines fit together. “I have this old ’57 Porsche Speedster, and the way the door closes, I’ll just sit there and listen to the sound of the latch going, cluh-CLICK-click,” Seinfeld said. “That door! I live for that door. Whatever the opposite of planned obsolescence is, that’s what I’m into.”
There’s a lot that’s confounding about Seinfeld. Tom Scharpling hilariously dubbed his recent work as “one-percenter comedy,” and you can certainly see some of that in this piece and in the quote above.
But I doubt he’ll ever be a comedian we should forget, or ignore. I was very interested in what he had to say about the “new hour” movement among comedians like Louis CK and Aziz Ansari. Seinfeld certainly works in a different way than them, but he also doesn’t present his work like they do either. When’s the last time Seinfeld presented an hour of comedy on TV or CD? If you don’t see him on tour, you’re likely not familiar with most of his set. I don’t think I’ve seen him do stand-up since his Comedian documentary.
I can’t tell if it’s simply old school, or the procrastination of a man after a very specific idea of what perfection is. But I like that he still works that way, because he certainly has every reason not to.