It was July 19, 2012. The weather was hot. The sun was bright. And Jerry Seinfeld was about to unleash the single best web series the world had ever seen. “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” was born. And the universe would be far better for it.
OK. So, maybe that’s a bit dramatic.
All right. So, maybe that’s a lot dramatic.
(TIME-OUT! We now pause for our regularly scheduled reminder to listen to this month’s podcast with country music singer Crystal Sands. It’s like a Baltimore Taylor Swift, without the Baltimore or the boyfriends. OK. TIME-IN!)
Still … the stuff was pretty cool, right? I mean, the guymust have called in a slew of favors in order to enlist a slate filled with the amount of funny people he got, which ranged from the big time (Larry David, Ricky Gervais), to the legendary (Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks), to the credible (Brian Regan, Joel Hodgson), all the way to the bizarre (Michael Richards). It didn’t really matter if it failed, because A) Jerry Seinfeld has enough money to buy small to mid-sized countries and B) this was the Internet, remember. Setting yourself apart from others within the realm of such a wide-ranging tool is like trying to stop the gas pump at exactly the right dollar amount on your first try: Nope. Not happening.
But, oddly enough, it worked (and if the archive system here was worth anything, this would be the point where I would link to what I wrote about it a year ago. Boo, archive system). And not only did it work — it actually worked well. How well? Take it away, news release …
“Since its debut in July 2012, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee has delivered more than 10 million streams, garnered rave reviews, and earned Jerry Seinfeld a special Webby Award for Outstanding Comedic Performance.”
So, it worked that well. Yes. That well.
And now, it’s back (cue the sound of a car starting). More importantly, it’s back for a while. As you’ll see from the trailer below (or, for that matter, the headline at the top of this thing) season two is set to kick off Thursday and if the video is be believed, this set has an even stronger set of passenger-side-door-mates. Who are they, the disembodied voices asks?
And, according to some outlets, Gad Elmaleh (don’t ask, because I don’t know)
That exclamation point took a lot out of me.
Clearly, Dr. J has read this blog (again, insert impossible to obtain link), because finally, after going through an entire season with a gaping hole the side of George Costanza’s bald spot, The Sein-meister is finally bringing a woman on board. Though unfortunately, it’s not Christine Campbell or HBO’s Veep. Still, there’s room for hope. Why is that, the disembodied voice asks?
Because the thing now has a sponsor. Why does that matter? Because that means a contract is now in place for content. And what does that mean exactly? Well, it means that the show is now on the hook for … 24 episodes. That’s right. 24. Twenty-four. As in, the amount of hours in one day. As in, Kiefer Sutherland’s favorite number. As in, the one right before 25. As in … all right, I’ll shut up.
Now, to the nuts and bolts. The aforementioned sponsor at hand is Acura. This will come into play before each episode and after each episode, at which times a “contextually relevant” (their words, not mine) short commercial will air. Also, for what it’s worth, the phrase, “Presented by Acura” looks as though it will appear at the bottom of the screen at some point. When reached for comment, the phrase, “Presented by Acura” said it just couldn’t give up the opportunity to work with such popular and successful comedians. Then, it lit a cigarette and asked about the orange M&M’s.
Better yet — and most importantly to me — the show is still in bed with Crackle, the Sony Pictures Television vehicle for online programming, which means the episodes will continue to be relatively easy to find, as if going to a website actually named comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com wasn’t simple enough. The run, as is reported by multiple outlets, will conclude July 18, which means a mere six new episodes will hit the World Wide Internet before going away to regroup (the first time around, we received 10).
All told, this is great news. For someone who doesn’t care much for cars and clearly doesn’t have a legitimate funny bone inside me, I found myself enamored with each show, rushing home on Thursday nights to catch the most recent one as it was released. I still think that last year’s finale (one more time — insert link that doesn’t exist) with Michael Richards was one of the best things I’ve ever seen on any form of television. There is an explicit soul to this stuff that often gets buried underneath the laughs it evokes within those who watch. The Kramer-filled finale was tender, uncomfortable, funny, sad and fascinating all at once. The last thing to get those emotions right all at once was the British version of “The Office,” a trillion years ago.
All obnoxious quips aside, the return of “Comedians In Cars” proves that there is, in fact, a model for a successful web-based TV series out there. Long after I’m dead and Internet television has become the only way people consume the medium, it’s not unreasonable to think that experts (ha!) will look back at this series as a ground-breaking moment in the transition’s history.
The trick? Do good work. Present yourself in an unassuming manner. Have little to no expectations. Don’t give into the temptation of making your show feel more and more like traditional TV with time limits and cut-in commercials. And, most importantly, again: Do good work. That’s it. That’s the list.
Granted, it’s easier for Seinfeld to do as much because of his endless pocketbook and star-studded rolodex, but even with that in mind, it still took an audience to find it, love it and become fans of it. And no matter how much money or famous friends one might have, the end of the day needs not but one thing: competency. Luckily for us, “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” has a whole boat load of it.
And God bless it for that.