The Buzz: ‘Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee’ Is As Strange As It’s Alliterative Title Suggests
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is a bizarre talk show hosted by Jerry Seinfeld where he chats with various comedians, actors, and talk show hosts while going to get coffee. It’s a talk show unlike any other I’ve ever seen. Episodes start off with Jerry giving some quick history on the car he’s going to drive, after which he picks up his celebrity guest. The two then drive around making small talk before stopping by a few random locations to eat or walk around. It’s a very odd format that is broken up with quick edits and plenty of B-roll footage spliced in-between. First-time watchers may be thrown off by the jarring editing, but the informal presentation offers a rare and rawer look at these celebrity guests. Unfortunately, most episodes run for far too long and don’t have enough substance to be enjoyable enough to warrant a watch.
The best part of the show is its unexpectedness. While the series does have a basic format, there’s no real goal or endpoint each episode looks to meet. In fact, the first episode of the Freshly Brewed season Zach Galifianakis: From The Third Reich To You turned into an episode of Between Two Ferns within the last six minutes. It was very weird and the two series feel completely different, but that only added to the comedic effect. Random humor doesn’t always work, but in this instance, it worked out wonderfully as it contrasted Seinfeld and Galifianakis’ styles of comedy. Since the Comedians is shot out in the real world and is mostly unscripted there’s plenty of possibilities for Jerry and his guests to run into unexpected sights and situations.
Even though the unscripted nature of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee makes it feel more genuine and unexpected, at the same this leads to many episodes feeling aimless. Much of the conversations are quickly cut together and Jerry and his guest will often change subjects without warning. This may be how real conversations work, but it doesn’t always make for the most entertaining thing to listen to. Not being very produced, means there’s not much to looks at visually either. I appreciate Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee for being different, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel there’s a good reason why other talk shows prepare what they’re going to speak about beforehand. Series like The Eric Andre Show prove that you can get away from this rigid formatting, but what makes it work for Eric Andre is how far out there he takes it. Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee wants to be something completely out of left field, but it doesn’t push its format far enough to leave a strong impression.
Another downside of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is its reliance on B-roll or supplemental footage of scenery or actions not focused on either Jerry or his guest. While it’s nice to have an establishing shot here and there, often the editors will go overboard and have B-roll footage interspliced every thirty seconds or so. The program is already on the short side with most episodes under twenty minutes, so this reliance on extra unnecessary footage often feels like the creators are just trying to stretch out the episodes. With how aimless it feels at times, the show could really benefit from trimming down its runtime. Keeping episodes at about ten minutes or so would do the program wonders and would cut out almost all the fat and streamline the pacing. With the average TV series running about twenty minutes, I can understand why the creators would want to do their best to match this length, but the longer Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee episodes drag on the worse they typically are.
Despite boasting an impressive roster of comedians, the show isn’t generally all that funny. Jerry and his guests tend to have more casual small talk, rather than trying to be overly entertaining. This helps give viewers a glimpse into what the comedians, actors and talk show hosts are like in real life, but can sometimes get a bit boring. Regardless, most of these people are inherently funny so there are bound to be some laughs here and there, but more often than not it’s too little too late. Watching celebrities eat and make small talk might be fun for some people, but it’s hardly enough to keep me wanting to watch. A little more planning and preparation could go a long way to making this more fun to watch.
As the series isn’t shot on a set and is instead shot on real locations, the production value of many episodes isn’t always the greatest. There are many odd shots thrown in and the ones that aren’t strange looking are very plain. The lighting isn’t the best either and a lot of the times things just look off. These aren’t huge issues, but they can be distracting from time to time, especially when Jerry and the guest aren’t talking about the most exciting subjects. Part of me wonders if Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee would have worked better as a podcast rather than a show. Of course, you wouldn’t be able to see the cars or the coffee, but those are hardly the most exciting features of the program.
With lacking visuals and uneven conversations, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is hard to give a full recommendation to. When Jerry and the guest really connect and they're talking about interesting subjects, the show works and its flaws aren’t that bothersome. If Jerry and the other comedian don’t hit it off though, things can become much more tedious and the cracks begin to reveal themselves. The best I can recommend is to take the series episode by episode. If you’re a big fan of the guest and you want to learn more about them or just enjoy hearing them talk, watch that episode. Otherwise, if you don’t know the guest or don’t like them, skip it. Only diehard fans of Jerry Seinfeld will likely want to watch the whole series regardless of the guests.