Two stand-up specialists joined Jerry for a solid, albeit flawed, episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It seems like Seinfeld is most comfortable when chatting with others who live in this medium of refinement and that held true for this episode. While Kathleen Madigan earned headline billing on the episode, it was really three’s company.
SPOILER ALERT – YOU KNOW THE DRILL… WATCH, THEN READ
Jerry brought out a 1972 BMW 2002tii in Baikal blue. He explained that it was named for the Siberian lake, which is the deepest in the world. What was weird about this intro was that, simultaneously, B-roll of a flyover had a small disclaimer in the corner: *This is not that lake. Is there no video of a flyover of Lake Baikal? If that was the case, I would have taken a photograph and used a Ken Burns zoom for it rather than use another random lake.
The car itself fits Madigan because it is “logical fun,” as Seinfeld describes it. The car was fast, but it didn’t look like a fast car, which set it apart from American cars at the time.
Madigan’s typical opening act, Chuck Martin, tagged along, though I cannot tell whether or not Jerry was expecting this. Considering the car only had two doors on it, I lean toward the latter. It must have been annoying for Martin to get in and out of the BMW. The episode title only lists Madigan, which adds insult to injury for Martin in the back seat.
At first, the episode introduced Martin because Madigan was at his apartment. Then, Martin was part of the conversation and came along for the ride.
It seemed like there were two Jerry Seinfelds in the car because both men made similar jokes. That could have been a problem, but Martin’s familiarity with Madigan helped loosen her up and set her up for some strong punchlines. Of course, Martin had his share of strong one-liners even without setting up Madigan. At one point, Madigan commented “it’s like finding two albino ferrets.”
Afterward, Madigan sees a colorful Fiat in traffic and wonders why other cars cannot be that way. She asks why that international car is a fun color and why American companies haven’t just copied the Italian-based Fiat. Seinfeld responds, “They invented the eyeball that knows that’s the right color,” which I found more poetic than humorous.
As the restaurant section begins, there were two season firsts. One that I believe was also a series first was a plug for not just the restaurant, but also an explanation of Jerry’s coffee selection. It seemed forced, like an awkward live read in the middle of a podcast. Afterward came the first Acura product placement (literally so) of the season, which I enjoyed because of how difficult it can be to find parking from time to time.
During the coffee portion, Madigan explained why she doesn’t do television. She and Jerry go on to agree about their preference for stand-up, but also how society has changed due to technology and the internet. Martin ends the segment with a clever line about YouTube stars.
Later on, Madigan has her strongest quip of the episode, about a drunk comedian who also has cerebral palsy. She makes a point that a comedian cannot have too many shticks. “You can have cerebral palsy, but you cannot throw 20 Bud Lights on top of that.”
Afterward, she told an anecdote about joining a gym and getting a trainer. When the trainer asked for an explanation of her goals, Madigan responded “I am here to delay the date, and severity, of my impending stroke” before comparing a gym to a bar. It feels like Madigan finally got comfortable with being on the show and was able to finish strong.
The trio went out on top during the return car ride. They could not understand why the term “douchebag” caught on as an insult while other terms did not. After discussing why this could be the case, they kept discussing secondary meanings of terms, specifically furniture. I might have to start referring to people as footstools, futons, and ottomans.
It took some time, but once Kathleen Madigan got into a groove, she turned out to be a solid guest on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Too bad she had to fight with Jerry Seinfeld, as the host of the show and a second guest, when her regular opener, Chuck Martin, joined them for the ride. Maybe Martin will get his own episode to headline eventually, as it seems like he and Jerry would have great chemistry. As for Madigan’s episode as a whole, it was fine, albeit unmemorable and unimpressive. 6/10
[You can read Alex’s other recaps of Comedians in Cars here.]