Jerry Seinfeld's Dallas Show Was the Best Stand-Up Work I've Ever Seen Live

Categories: Comedy

I've seen some good ones: Louis CK at the Majestic last year. Bill Cosby, who CK himself worships, at the Winspear. I saw Todd Barry in a tiny bar in Kansas City not that long ago, and spent an hour spit-taking my Boulevard Brew. Others, too.

But this was damn near perfect.

From the moment he came sprinting onto the Winspear stage last night, to the moment he A'd the last Q of the post-show Q&A, he was in total control, building brick by brick little towers of laughter, then bulldozing them with perfect kickers and starting from scratch again.

It's the efficiency that really impressed me. He explains how he achieves that efficiency in the video above, using a bit he included in last night's set -- a long, rapid-fire joke about Pop-Tarts. It fit nicely into a longer cluster of jokes about the evolution of food, which followed a cluster about the evolution of drinks, including 5-Hour Energy ("Who works 1 to 6?") and Gatorade's three-drink "series" ("I went from the fridge to the couch: How many electrolytes did I lose?"). From there he moved onto technology, comparing our cell-phone swiping to the gestures of a gay French king and mourning the lost art of slamming down the phone.

That last joke elicited a "so true" from a woman in the row behind me. There were a lot of whispered "so trues" Saturday night. The United States Postal Service's entirely predictable woes; the stages of stuff becoming trash (drawer-closet-garage-storage-dump); the unnecessary gaps between bathroom-stall panels: He remains an expert in unpacking the irony that lives mostly unnoticed among us, and doing it with big, silly gestures that other comics of his intellect don't seem to embrace.

As each cluster peaked, sending the audience into applause, Seinfeld took a sip of water, dropped some casual banter and then started back up the mountain. As he drank and caught his breath, silence fell over the crowd, and it felt odd. There were four, maybe five little blocks of quietude all night; the rest was just laughter rising and falling, cresting and crashing.

It was, more than anything, one of the best edited pieces of art I've ever witnessed. Even in his encore Q&A, when he answered a few mundane questions about the show and his underwear choice, there wasn't a wasted syllable, not a yada to be found.

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7 comments
yippeekaiyai
yippeekaiyai

I watched the early performance, and agree that it was one of the tightest and funniest sets I have seen. Even his handling of the exuberant KLUV patron was expertly done. The building of each bit to a raucous release was superb all through the show.

Leesa Monroe
Leesa Monroe

Guess I will need to catch him in Vegas if he plays there again

William Barrett
William Barrett

Seinfeld standup is beyond overrated. If it weren't for his show, nobody would give a damn.

Steve
Steve

@William Barrett I cannot stand his television show and do not find it funny in the least, but he is an absolute master on stage.

joe.tone
joe.tone moderator

@William Barrett I disagree, obviously, and a lot of really smart people do too, comics among them. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@joe.tone hahaha, you responded to a FB commenter here, lolololol, dude will never even know you had a response!!!!!!!  On a side note, his TV show I just never liked, but when I saw his stand up, it was funny as hell

JustSaying
JustSaying

@joe.tone I agree with William. Without his show, which was great, I have a feeling that Seinfeld would be one of those where are they now comics that were popular in the 80's like Rita Rudner.

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