The Arty Semite

Seinfeld's New Standup

By Forward Staff

Jerry Seinfeld is really working the late-night talk show circuit these days. First he went on Letterman to talk about things that are annoying. And last night he went on Leno to talk about fat people on TV and what breakfast was like in the ’60s. Check it out:

Read more


Watch Seinfeld on Letterman

By Forward Staff

Jerry Seinfeld took a break from driving around and getting coffee to do some standup on Letterman last night. Watch him talk about what’s annoying now. Or five years ago. Whichever.

Read more


Jerry Seinfeld's New Show About Nothing

By Eitan Kensky

Jerry Seinfeld, a famous comedian, used to be the star of “Seinfeld,” a sitcom about a comedian named Jerry Seinfeld and his friends. Larry David, a less-famous comedian, was a writer and co-creator of “Seinfeld,” and now stars as Larry David in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” a show about the daily life of Larry David, co-creator of “Seinfeld.” In the fourth season of “Seinfeld,” Jerry Seinfeld and his best friend George Costanza create a TV show called “Jerry,” a sitcom about a comedian, his friends, and a guy sentenced by a judge to be the comedian’s butler. In the seventh season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Larry agrees to participate in a “Seinfeld” reunion in the hopes that doing so will lead to a reconciliation with his wife. Jerry Seinfeld guest-starred as “Jerry Seinfeld,” the actor who played “Jerry Seinfeld” on “Seinfeld.” He is meaner and nastier than the character — meaner and nastier even than Larry — though no one seems willing to acknowledge this, or in any way recognize that Jerry is not the same person as his character.

Crackle.com

All of this subtext plays an important role in the first episode of comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s new web series, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” It is among the most accurately titled shows in the history of shows — or is at least intended to be. Larry’s refusal to drink coffee is an important “plot point” in the episode, and, according to Larry, a key factor in the dissolution of his marriage. You would be forgiven for mistaking this banter for dialogue from “Seinfeld” or “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

But the intent is to give you exactly what the title promises. In the pilot, Jerry Seinfeld drives a blue 1952 VW Bug, meets his friend Larry, and the two journey across town to drink coffee and eat pancakes. Later episodes only change the car, the comedian and the coffee shop. So long as we continue to make cars and continue to birth comedians, the formula is endlessly repeatable.

Read more


Out and About: Woodstock in Jerusalem; Seinfeld on Twitter

By Ezra Glinter

Read more


How Larry David Creates a Jewish Universe All His Own

By Eitan Kensky

Jessica Miglio/HBO

Larry David is a clown. Or the last schlemiel who found a way to make Jews the uncomfortable outsiders again. Or a man whose “imbricated” sense of humor “challenges essentialist categories of comic performance,” as well as the tenets of Judaism and Christianity. (By the way, I agree with that take.) And the series’ new season again finds the character Larry David (played by Larry David) as the unlikely vehicle for pursuing moral questions, such as, “Is it ever appropriate for a man to help a young girl getting her period for the first time?” Or, “Is it ever acceptable to hire a gentile attorney?”

But the eighth season premiere, “The Divorce,” which aired July 10 on HBO, highlights what many fans have known all along: The show works because of the richness of its secondary characters. While these characters, from Larry’s manager Jeff (Jeff Garlin) to the environmentalist do-gooder Ted Danson (Ted Danson), have individually received praise for their performances over the years, the series itself is remarkable for the sheer number of memorable figures and standout cameos its creative staff has devised. No character given the power of speech on “Curb” ever wastes that speech. An Asian-American cleaning woman doesn’t just get to shoo Larry away from her boss’s front door — she’s given the opportunity to dismantle both his logical reasoning and his class-blind understanding of contemporary society.

Read more


Out and About: A Triptych for Today; Music of the Holocaust, Online

By Ezra Glinter

Simon Dinnerstein, detail from ‘The Fulbright Triptych, 1971-74.
  • A new website on music and the Holocaust has been launched in Berlin.

  • Simon Dinnerstein discusses his monumental 1970s artwork, “The Fulbright Triptych.”

  • Russian novelist Ludmila Ulitskaya’s “Daniel Stein, Interpreter,” a book that takes its inspiration from the real life Polish Jewish Partisan Oswald Rufeisen, is now available in English.

  • Dutch Jewish novelist and Holocaust survivor Hans Keilson has died. Read the Forward’s review of two of his novels here.

Read more


Out and About: Jerry Seinfeld's Comedy Archive; Talking to Juliano Mer-Khamis

By Ezra Glinter

aNoidProduction
Jerry Seinfeld, in his first national television appearance in 1977.
  • Jerry Seinfeld plans to release nearly all of his recorded standup on his website, Jerryseinfeld.com, tomorrow.

  • The latest LABA Journal is out, featuring Elissa Strauss on why she won’t marry King David, Basmat Hazan on why we definitely need to pay attention to what David is wearing, and Stephen Hazan Arnoff on Justin Bieber, the latest and greatest of a long line of Davids.

  • Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim and two dozen classical musicians crossed into Gaza to play Mozart for an invitation-only audience.

  • Souciant magazine publishes an interview with slain Palestinian-Jewish actor Juliano Mer-Khamis.

Read more


Nick Kroll, 'The League,' and the (New) New Jew

By Eitan Kensky

Getty Images

When Philip Roth’s Alexander Portnoy discusses the arcane symbolism of his girlfriend eating a banana, or talks about time spent alone in the bathroom with women’s underwear hanging on the door, or any number of other things that can’t even be implied in the html of a family website, he is revealing his innermost “perversions” to his analyst, the things he’s repressed and sublimated and kept far away from public view; Nick Kroll’s Rodney Ruxin says the same things to his group of friends on “The League” every week and they celebrate him for it, and enjoy provoking him to see what invectives he’ll throw their way.

“The League” is an FX show about a group of 30-something high school friends in the Chicago area who continue to bond over fantasy football. The characters are ethnically diverse in the way of most North Shore Chicago suburbs (Poles and Protestants) and Ruxin, as the Jewish member, marks the ironic result of six decades of suburbanization by American Jews. He’s been raised in suburban American settings, and is accepted as a normal white American by his friends, but he’s simultaneously been brought up on a Jewish American culture that emphasized outsiderdom from general American society (30 years of Roth and Woody Allen) and has been permanently affected by the meta-criticism of Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld.

Read more



Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.