So, I recently discovered Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It is a series of 15 minute short videos on the web where Jerry Seinfeld takes a fellow comedian for a ride, a cup of coffee and a conversation. The ride is always in a different car, some classic and some modern, and the coffee is always at a local brew house. You would think by the title of the series (now in its third season) that this has the potential to be very boring. However, comedians have no off switch.
Of course, some say comedy is a subjective thing. I hold the view that the language of comedy is universal, people just have various laugh thresholds. The ABCs of comedy contain such names as Buster Keaton, W.C. Fields, The Three Stooges, Abbot and Costello, The Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Mel Brooks, Steve Martin and even Jerry Seinfeld. I have left most of the alphabet unnamed due to space constraints but I think you get the idea.
Another falsehood regarding comedy is that if you don’t laugh it must not be funny. One time, after watching a classic Abbot and Costello movie, someone remarked that it had been awfully quiet during the film and they though it was supposed to be funny. It is against the laws of nature for Abbot and Costello to be not funny. You might as well ask the sun to stop shining or the moon to fall to the Earth. Although I may not have laughed out loud at the duo’s antics, I did have a wide grin across my face and certainly offered a hardy chuckle or two. One can appreciate comedy done well whether one laughs or not.
From my ramblings thus far, you probably think I fancy myself a comedian. I have been told I’m funny a time or two but I am far from anyone calling me a comedian. I respect the craft too much to call myself one. However, as a writer, I do spend a lot of my time with words, and I know how difficult it is to bend the language to your will for a specific outcome. I also can appreciate the play with words that comedians often tackle.
Anyway, check out Seinfeld’s series. Every time I view an episode I feel like a friend getting to tag along with a great comedian as he chats with his buddies that also happen to be funny. You might learn a thing or two about comedy. Maybe Seinfeld will have a chat and a cup of joe with Abbot and Costello one time. I wonder what they would talk about?