Jerry Seinfeld just wants to be a stand-up comedian, except when he doesn’t (see: “The Marriage Ref”)

The New York Post quoted me yesterday for an article they wanted to write about how Jerry Seinfeld is also a victim of the so-called "Seinfeld curse," except my opinions didn't exactly jibe with their premise.

You see, in my world-view, Jerry Seinfeld simply loves being a stand-up comedian — his sitcom was even about Jerry Seinfeld being a stand-up comedian — and as I pointed out to the reporter, that sitcom got panned at its start before everyone decided they loved it more than any other sitcom. His documentary, Comedian, earned him even more respect in the comedy community. And anything he has done since then, outside of touring (the Post reporter didn't know that Seinfeld has been touring theaters regularly each year), has been because of an idea he has had that he wanted to see become a reality. So this new vanity project, The Marriage Ref, should be seen in that light. Anyhow. The trades are reporting today that last night's one-hour "debut" of the show pulled in half of the audience of its Olympic-sized sneak preview, but still won the 10 p.m. Thursday hour in the demo over The Mentalist and Private Practice.

It's still far from perfect. And I wish that Tom Papa got to do more. He is the host, after all. But in the past week of big promotional pushing — from Oprah to Letterman and everywhere else — Seinfeld continues to be the face of The Marriage Ref. It's his show. NBC knows people want to see him. So he gets all the face time. In the case of Letterman this week, Seinfeld also reminded us that he's first and foremost a stand-up comedian, doing a new routine (in the middle of the show) before doing panel talk with Dave. Roll the clip.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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2 thoughts on “Jerry Seinfeld just wants to be a stand-up comedian, except when he doesn’t (see: “The Marriage Ref”)

  1. With “The Marriage Ref”, I think Jerry created a show that would be a smash in 1975. The celebrity guests should be holding martinis. And it needs a better theme – more like “The Match Game” theme :-). The frustrating thing for me is, there really is some comedy in there. However, it is so watered down by the “game show” effects – the Marv Albert, the Google lady, and the horrible edits – the cut to Tina Fey laughing at what looks like it had to be something completely different than what we just saw or heard. Overall, I think they need to relax and not be trying so hard to sell us that “THIS IS FUNNY”. Let it just be funny when it is.
    Some of the couples really are funny, and some of the celeb comments are funny. Tom Papa is funniest to me when he is off the cuff, not scripted. I wish they would just tweak the show a bit and maybe it could go somewhere. I also wonder if the marital situations are gonna start getting old. If they are too weird, or too painful, it won’t be funny.
    ps. that article in the Post was a crabby, snarky mess. I thought your comment was fine, and good for you that you didn’t completely play into the tone of it.

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