July 20, 2008

Seinfeld’s Dallas Show Was About Something

By Preston Jones, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

Jul. 20--DALLAS -- Jerry Seinfeld's beloved sitcom was, famously, "about nothing."

Turns out that his stand-up routine isn't about much either -- cellphones, Cinnabon and the agony of children's birthday parties -- yet he still manages to wring some side-splitting observations out of the mundane.

During the first of two shows at the Music Hall at Fair Park, the 54-year-old comic, clad in a sharp dark suit, spent 75 hilarious minutes Saturday night amiably dissecting his life (now married with three children), our lives (the public's obsession with weather, the upcoming presidential election) and the world we all call home. He even cracked wise about Dallas traffic ("It's like the Blue Angels out there!") and the Metroplex's obsession with sports, which had the comfortably full hall roaring with laughter.

Seinfeld went off the air a decade ago, but the comedian hasn't been sitting idly by: From books to documentaries to animated feature films, he has kept plenty busy, which doubtless helps him keep his routine razor sharp.

His particular brand of comedy -- scrutinizing otherwise ordinary objects like the earpiece of a TV anchor and lacing his thoughts with just a bit of acid -- has aged rather well. What seems to have evolved as an approach to getting laughs is less rooted in the here and now (although there were some swipes at the iPhone) and more concerned with prying language apart, rooting around in words and syntax until he's exhausted all meaning -- not unlike his idol, the late George Carlin.

But then Carlin was never this neurotic, another Seinfeld trait that's only intensified since the sitcom ended. His set's penultimate bit, about the futility of trying to decipher the ubiquitous prescription drug commercials on TV, was a bug-eyed tour de force of exasperation.

Another of the evening's highlights was its conclusion: The brief, chaotic question-and-answer session, which revealed the fact that he misses filming Seinfeld a bit. Seems that "nothing" meant a little "something" after all.


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