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Netflix’s Jerry Seinfeld Special is a Tribute to Comedy

Rating: B

Jerry Seinfeld is the embodiment of classic New York City. He’s wry, to the point and enjoyable, and his new Netflix special proves to be just that. The special was filmed at Comic Strip Live in New York City, where Seinfeld got his start in comedy in the ’70s. If you’re already a fan of Seinfeld’s work this special is a nice throwback, but for younger viewers it might fall flat.

The special is partially stand-up comedy at the Comic Strip, with pre-filmed bits about Seinfeld’s New York upbringing and young adulthood laced throughout. The whole special is Seinfeld’s own personal tribute to the world and culture of comedy, and he frequently harps on his fascination and admiration of the profession.

Seinfeld starts strong with jokes about the nuances of New York City lingo. You get “on” a train, and “in” a cab and yet you “take” an Uber. Seinfeld’s jokes are easy pleasers but don’t really warrant any hearty laughs. He takes a stab at the sugary cereals he loved growing up in a portion of the special talking about being raised in the ’60s. Apparently there were no concerns about safety, education or nutrition back then, and these series of jokes are sure to please your parents, but might be lost on college students.

Regardless, the way Seinfeld talks about his childhood has a way of winning you over, specifically when he jokes about what it’s like to be bored as a kid.

“When you’re five years old and you get bored, you cannot support your body weight,” Seinfeld laughed. He continues later to comment that “adulthood is the ability to be totally bored and remain standing.”

The hour-long special covers a range of popular topics such as dating, sports and most prominently, the comedy scene in New York City. After years in the business Seinfeld has mastered the art of being likeable, relatable and natural on stage. His jokes are rehearsed enough so you know that they’re scripted without really caring.

A few times throughout, audience members are allowed to ask questions and Seinfeld shows off his natural charisma and smooth flow on stage. When asked about the Mets (a New York baseball team) he reveals his indifference to sports, joking about how the only thing that makes a sports team a team is the coordinated uniforms. He banters back and forth with the audience, creating the aura of friends reconnecting.

The special will be followed by a second show, available on Netflix in the months to come. Business Insider reports that Netflix spent close to $100 million for the pair of specials (along with nine previous and one new season of his show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”), which is certainly a pretty penny. Only time will tell if this deal proves successful, though it’s important to note that Netflix’s current target audience is college students and millennials, whereas Jerry Seinfeld markets more toward their parents. But if there ever was an opportunity to reinvent oneself for a younger audience, Netflix is the place to go.

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