After last week’s strong showing as a Seinfeld pseudo-reunion with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee failed to live up to the same standard this week. That’s not to say this was a bad episode, but it was not up to the same standard as last week’s season six premiere, especially as one topic seemed to dominate the entire episode.
WARNING: Full Spoilers Below!
A white comedian and black comedian walk into a coffee shop…
As Steve Harvey said in this week’s episode, “Always do the banana joke first” — advice for starting strong. Jerry Seinfeld must share the same thought process, as he opened the new season of Comedians in Cars with what I believe will be the strongest episode. That also means the other five episodes are going to be downhill from that peak, especially from a chemistry standpoint. I suppose a decade together on a popular sitcom can do that to you.
I am a big fan of Steve Harvey, especially on Family Feud. When I saw the season six trailer, I was happy that Harvey was being recognized with his inclusion on the show. That said, I was confused about what he and Jerry Seinfeld might have in common. My concern was that the episode would devolve into a discussion on race with a few jokes mixed in here and there.
My other concern was about how much free time Steve Harvey could possibly have between his morning radio show, daily talk show, and hosting duties on both Family Feud and the new spinoff Celebrity Family Feud. There must be 30 hours in Steve Harvey’s day with all of the work he does.
This week’s episode took place in Chicago and the car was a ’57 Chevrolet Bel Air — and a beautiful one at that. Harvey loved the car and very nearly cried upon the reveal. I am impressed with how well Jerry can pick a car to fit a guest, and this week was on point. Afterward, the duo drove to Manny’s Deli before smoking cigars. Usually when episodes have multiple venues, they tend to be stronger, as a comfort level can be felt when the guest takes Jerry to their home turf.
Instead of being a conversation between two friends who also happen to be comedians, this week’s episode felt like LeBron James and Michael Jordan meeting and fawning over each other. The two didn’t come across as friends, but as contemporaries with mutual respect wanting to discuss their work. This is fine and has worked on Comedians in Cars in the past, but one topic kept coming up throughout, tainting the episode somewhat. That topic was race.
Don’t get me wrong, it should come up, especially based on Harvey’s stand-up act (the pieces of which were a nice touch), but only as one portion of the episode as opposed to what felt like all 20 minutes. However, in terms of sound bites and social media “shareability,” Seinfeld might have made the right call.
After last week’s strong season debut with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, this week’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Steve Harvey had some big shoes to fill. While last week was a conversation between two friends, this week was more a meeting of two comedy greats with mutual respect. It was a good episode, but forgettable, especially as race constantly and consistently dominated the conversation. Season six has four more tries to live up to the standard set last week by Seinfeld and Louis-Dreyfus. 7/10