Master of rerun domain
Robinson Center Music Hall
Jerry Seinfeld played to two distinct audiences in one packed house last Thursday. The first audience, including me, had never been in a room with Seinfeld before. The second group, including the people who were slightly more interested in their cell phones than in the man onstage (I saw a lot of texting), had seen Seinfeld before, probably during his recent visit to Little Rock after he’d given up sitcom TV (or maybe they had even seen him here in 1993, when he did two shows in one night). The first audience was watching new material; the second audience was watching, for upwards of $75 and with no Kramer, a Seinfeld rerun.
Of course, anyone can tell you that a rerun of “Seinfeld” can be damn funny. I’m sure the second audience started to break down when the comedian did the bit about the point in a couple’s fight when the woman gets mad enough to imitate the man’s voice. As Seinfeld pointed out, no one has ever met that guy, who sounds like Shaq in a ski mask. Seinfeld’s verbose-meets-mundane style has been the butt of jokes about comics in general (“What is the deal with that?”), but that style has made him unbelievably rich, and I wish I had thought of it first. Besides, people in Little Rock appreciate stars like Seinfeld coming to see us, and the entire audience gave him a standing ovation just for walking onstage.
The problem was that so much of the show was old jokes, and a good part of the audience had heard them barely a year before, with the same opening comic. Seinfeld prepared to explore new ground by mentioning Iraq (“What is the deal with that?”), but just as quickly segued into material from last year. That was fine with the first audience and amusing to the second, but I know ol’ Jerry has some more stories up his sleeve. We were filing out to Markham by 8:45 p.m., though I wasn’t aware of the early hour until I checked my watch. Seinfeld laid the jokes on heavy, however stale they were, and paused between them only to drink from his bottle of Mountain Valley. At the close of the encore, we got a satisfying little “Hello, Newman…” All said it was a fun night, but here’s hoping that the third time is the charm.
— Charles Lyford