On a balmy June night at the Classic Car Club in Manhattan, hot-rod lovers congregated to talk engines, horsepower, carburetors and more. Amid the fleet of supercars — a 2015 Lamborghini Huracan, 1963 Corvette Stingray, and a ’66 Mustang convertible — stands comic icon Jerry Seinfeld.
Dressed in a dark suit and dress shoes and looking effervescently cool, Seinfeld was clearly in his element. He was at the car club to celebrate the new season of his popular web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, since Netflix picked up the show from Crackle in January. The tenth season premiered on July 6.
As the creator, executive producer, and host, Seinfeld takes the viewer on a ride, literally, as he picks up a new guest comedian in a vintage car he selects. During the trip, there are lots of funny stories, lots of laughs and lots of caffeine. Guests on the new season are the late Jerry Lewis, Kate McKinnon, Ellen DeGeneres, Hasan Minhaj, Dana Carvey, Neil Brennan, Tracy Morgan, Brian Regan, Alec Baldwin, Zach Galifianakis, John Mulaney, and Dave Chappelle.
As the crowd buzzed about, checking out some of the sleek automobiles and enjoying the sunset views of the Hudson River, Seinfeld was talking with the media. The Press was there too, ready to chat with the man who made talking about nothing so much fun.
At a youthful 64, Seinfeld is still delivering the laughs and getting it right, traveling to different stages across the country for his Jerry Seinfeld Comedy Tour. During our interview, Seinfeld shared some of his fondest memories growing on Long Island’s South Shore and even revealed his nickname that many still call him today. There were moments when I wasn’t sure if he was kidding or not. And I wanted to be the one to say to Seinfeld himself: Are you kidding me?
How does it feel now that your show is on Netflix? Being picked up by Netflix I guess is like being put on the Yankees. You are on the team that is going to win. It is very exciting for me. At this point in my career, it is very hard in show business to get a second hit. A lot of people are lucky enough to get one hit; to get two hits is really hard. It feels pretty good.
As a car enthusiast, what would you say is your ultimate set of wheels? I love a minimalist car. I love a car that is almost like a motorcycle with four wheels. The 1958 Porsche 356 Speedster I think is the greatest model you can drive. It is very little. I love the openness and sleekness of it. It is not that fast, but it is just an incredible feeling of freedom.
With the name of the show being Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, I need to ask how you like your coffee. Black? Light and sweet? I actually started drinking coffee a couple of years before I did the show. It is so fun to have coffee with people I figured I gotta do a show about this. Now, I love coffee. I drink coffee all day everyday. I like any type of coffee: latte, espresso, cappuccino, cream and sugar.
Was the character of George, Elaine or Kramer based on any friends or anyone you knew growing up on Long Island? No. Me and Larry David had a wonderful staff of writers. We were cooking up ideas all day every day; that is all we did.
Of all the episodes, which was was your favorite that still makes you laugh? I really loved the marine biologist one when Kramer hit the golf ball in the blowhole of the whale and George found it trying to save the whale pretending to be a marine biologist. I thought that was the best bit we ever came up with. That was a funny bit.
Changing gears, how was it growing up in Massapequa? I wish I had realized how great it was at the time. Now that I am a parent I see that I had the greatest possible childhood in Massapequa. Just being able to jump on my Schwinn Stingray and ride all day long and visit my friends and hang out and go up and down the streets. Nobody knew where I was. It was total freedom and safety. I didn’t realize how great that was because kids don’t do that anymore.
When you were a student at Massapequa High School were you known for being funny? Yes, I was very funny, but I didn’t think I was funny enough to be a comedian. I remember everybody was funny.
Do you still have family on Long Island? No, just me. I am out on the East End of Long Island now. I love it. Everyday, I remember the sound of those birds and those trees. There is just a light on Long Island that is unique and I have been all over the world, but there is just something about the light on Long Island. I love to hear those birds and I remember those birds and I am like, there are those birds again that I remember when I was a kid. And I get kind of lost, as I guess a lot of people do when reminiscing about their childhood.
Are there any favorite places you went to as a kid? Mister Donut was the place we used to go to on Sunrise Highway. They don’t exist anymore. Massapequa Diner and Pizza Supreme in the Bar Harbour Shopping Center and their snack bar.
Do you ever go back to the old neighborhood to visit? When you do, how is it? Sometimes I will drive around to my old stops. Alec Baldwin and I did our new episode, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in Massapequa. It was fantastic. We were like the heroes. We walked into the same Massapequa Diner that was there when I was a kid.
Did you have a nickname growing up? Seiny. I didn’t like it. People still call me that even today.
Everyone knows you as Jerry, but your formal name is Jerome. You don’t look like a Jerome. Does anyone call you that? George Wallace, the comedian, calls me Jerome.
What is next for Jerry Seinfeld? I love doing Comedians in Cars and I want to be doing this for a while.
1954: Born April 29 in Brooklyn.
1972: Graduates Massapequa High School.
1976: Graduates Queens College with a degree in theater and communications.
1979: Plays Frankie, a mail delivery boy on the ABC sitcom Benson.
1981: Appears on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman.
1988: Creates The Seinfeld Chronicles with Larry David for NBC. The show is later renamed Seinfeld. By the fourth season, the show was rated most popular sitcom on American television.
1992-1993: American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Performer in a TV Series.
1993: The book Seinlanguage comes out and is listed on The New York Times Best Seller list.
1993: Recipient of the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy.
1993: Wins Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy series
1994: Wins Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
1998: The last Seinfeld airs, running for a total of nine seasons with 180 episodes.
2000: Appears as Comp-U-Comp in an animated television series, Dilbert. The series won the Primetime Emmy.
2004: Makes a cameo appearance as himself in the improvised American comedy series, Curb Your Enthusiasm.
2005: Comedy Central names Seinfeld the 12th Greatest Stand-up Comedian of All Time.
2007: Produced and co-wrote the script for the computer animated film the Bee Movie, and played the voice role of Barry B. Benson.
2009: Appears on the reunion episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
2010: Executive producer of the TV reality show and panel game The Marriage Ref.
2012: Creator and host of the web series comedy Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.