At 2015 Crackle Upfronts, Jerry Seinfeld snaps at YouTube, pops TV’s bubble

Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t need Crackle nearly as much as Crackle needs him.

But the upstart webseries-turned-streaming provider is backed by Sony Pictures Entertainment, which just so happened to back Seinfeld’s hit sitcom and made billions of dollars to go around. So when Seinfeld needed a vehicle to get back on our screens, he turned his Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee to Crackle, where he has generated mega-millions of views for the proprietary players on Crackle’s site and his own.

Millions more have caught parts of the first five seasons of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee on various YouTube channels. But Seinfeld would just as rather not be lumped in with YouTubers.

He said so himself most authoritatively Tuesday, delivering remarks at Crackle’s 2015 Upfronts presentation to advertisers, saying “the less the better” when it comes to user-generated video content. “I don’t want to see this crap. We have a giant garbage can called YouTube for user-generated content. We’re trying to generate a little higher level. I think show-business is for talent, that’s who should be in it. But let’s keep it in its hierarchy. And I like being at the top of the pyramid.”

Ha. The top of the pyramid. The one percent.

Seinfeld has become more comfortable laughing from his high perch in recent months. Back in November, Seinfeld released a video with former co-star Michael Richards standing in for Crackle president Dick Corcoran, the two of them extolling Jerry’s rich success.

Then in February, Seinfeld and Larry David had a gay old time in the middle of SNL’s big 40th anniversary chuckling at the timing of their TV jackpot with Seinfeld.

David: “You could never do that now — the media landscape, such as it is.”
Seinfeld: “No. It’s like we had the last two tickets before Disneyland burned down!”
David: “Beautiful. Beautiful thing,”
Seinfeld: “It’s really great.”

Which brings us back to this week, and Seinfeld’s announcement of season six of his online video mini-podcast series, which will feature Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Trevor Noah, Steve Harvey and Jim Carrey in Seinfeld’s passenger seat.

Why stick with Crackle when still nobody really mentions the website outside of having to go there to watch his webseries (the new Joe Dirt sequel, notwithstanding, or just not, depending upon your excitement level for that)?

So Seinfeld explained his reasoning once more (hats off to Joshua Cohen at Tubefilter for somehow being the only one in the room smart enough to capture his speech?!). To borrow from Louis-Dreyfuss as President Selina Meyer in HBO’s Veep, the “future whatever” is now:

The big question you all have right now is, “Hey, why is he on Crackle when he could be at a lot of other places?”

I did a TV show. I loved that experience. I really had the full experience that you could have on TV. And I thought if I wanted to do something else, I wanted to be a part of inventing a new experience for viewers. I came up with this idea for a show. I didn’t know if it was even a show, but I went to every place, every digital platform, entity, company that has anything to do with the internet. And I told them I wanted to create a TV show that’s on the internet. Because what is the internet? It’s a way of reaching people? We’ve been doing this show at Crackle for a few years now, but for me, it’s really television. Because “tele” just means to transmit. “Vision” is pictures. It’s just an easy, simpler way really to put a show out there without a lot of complexity.

That’s the other thing I found at Crackle. I talked to Steve Mosko, the head of Sony [Pictures Television], about this show. He said, “I could sell this show today, anywhere on television. And there’s not anywhere that wouldn’t screw it up.” And he’s right. When you get to a certain point in the business, what a man is looking for in a network is the same as in his underwear. A little bit of support and a little bit of freedom.

That’s exactly what Crackle offered. We’ve been doing the NewFront thing, the digital blah blah. And these guys figured it out. There’s nothing different about what we’re doing than what anyone else is doing on any media anywhere. TV networks are worried that you’ll figure out TV is over and there’s nothing special about it. That’s why I’m at Crackle.

We’ve reached 100 million viewers this month with Comedians in Cars. So that’s pretty much it. I wanted to be here to be out in front of this company and out in front of what we’re doing because it’s exciting to invent a form of show that hasn’t existed in a medium that hasn’t been used quite this way. And I get so much support from them and we have such a good time that I wanted to be here to explain it to you.

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.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →