Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is exactly what it sounds like — a show about three things Jerry Seinfeld loves.
Each individual episode of the stand-up comic’s Web series features him talking to a fellow comedian while driving across town to get a cup of coffee.
While the premise is simple enough, and the celebrity interview as familiar as any late-night talk-show, the format of C3 allows for a more relaxed and personal tone than the typical sofa-chat format.
“I know these people, and this is it — this is what they’re really like,” Seinfeld tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer. “You walk out on a talk show, you know, ‘I’m on here for eight minutes; I want to make sure I tell a funny story or do an interesting anecdote.’ You’re not just going to be sitting there tapping a coffee stirrer on the table, but you can do that on this show. So nobody feels that pressure to perform, and I do feel like I am capturing their true demeanor and energy.”
The series premiered last summer, featuring guests such as Larry David, Carl Reiner and the host’s former Seinfeld co-star Michael Richards — as well as a variety of classic cars. Season 2 premieres today, and the comedian tells Wertheimer the series still feels like a personal outing with friends from the business.
On the simplicity of the show’s premise
“It’s simple to shoot, and we do spend a lot of time reducing what is sometimes a two- or three-hour experience down to what I feel is the juiciest 14 minutes of that. I think editing is one of the great luxuries. I think it’s one of the things life really needs. If you bump into somebody at a cocktail party and you talk to them for 15 minutes, you can’t say, ‘You know, there was only five good minutes out of that. I wish I could get the other 10 back.’ But on this show, we remove the 10 that didn’t have much going on.”
On matching the comedians with the cars
“Sarah [Silverman] to me is kinda feline: very smooth and seductive in her maneuvers. So the Jaguar reminded me of her. … Especially the way she was dressed that day in those long blue bell-bottoms; she looked exactly like the car.”
On the unique intensity of doing the show with comedians in cars and restaurants
“[Silverman started] telling me that she had an issue with depression as a teenager. This is not something that you [would be] chatting about in front of 400 people on the Tonight show; the No. 1 reason [being], unless you have a joke, you’re not going into it. So we get to do that, and it really led to something funny because I interrupted her to get half-and-half instead of milk. … Because I prefer half-and-half.
“Any normal person would have been so hurt and so offended — ‘I’m telling you about one of the most painful moments of my life, and you’re turning to find the waiter’ — [but] because she’s a comedian, she sees how funny that is … in addition to how hurtful that was. So at the same time she’s telling me, ‘Really?’ she registers both things. That is something only a comedian would do.”
On the tone of the series
“I adore these people, all of them. They have been my life. When I talk to people about being a comedian, well, there’s being a comedian — which is you go on stage, you perform, and it’s a profession — but then there’s this other life, which is you spend all your time around these people. And that has given me this Technicolor existence. This show is very personal because if I like them we’ll have fun together, and if we have fun together, you’ll have fun watching.”