By pretty much every commercial metric known to humankind, Jerry Seinfeld is the most successful stand-up comic in the history of show business.
His namesake TV show, “Seinfeld,” is considered by many to be the single best sitcom ever, and it’s by far the most popular show in syndication for the last 20 years. Seinfeld has dabbled in film (“Bee Movie”), reality TV (“The Marriage Ref”) and an online series (“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”). He also continues to effortlessly sell out arenas and plus-size theater venues on his part-time, never-ending comedy tour.
That includes two shows March 15 at the Durham Performing Arts Center. The shows – at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. – basically sold out within hours of their announcement. But you can still get tickets, thanks to the ravenous resale market. As of this writing, you can get pairs of tickets through Ticketmaster and the DPAC website – starting at $164. Each.
For fans who can’t make the DPAC shows – or for ticket-holders looking to tailgate with some binge-watching – there are plenty of on-demand streaming choices when it comes to getting your Seinfeld fix. All 180 episodes of the 1990s TV series are available via the subscription-based streaming service Hulu, and you can find syndicated basic cable reruns all over the place.
Here are some additional options for the die-hard Seinfeld fan.
“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”
Where to see it: Netflix
Having recently migrated from the digital network Crackle to Netflix, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” is already finding a bigger audience. As well it should. This is Seinfeld’s best post-TV endeavor, a unique take on the 20-minute webisode concept. The series offers what the title suggests, as Seinfeld picks up comedians, actors and other celebrities, then drives them over to a designated restaurant or cafe for coffee and conversation.
Slickly produced, carefully edited, and jammed with product placements, “Comedians” is nevertheless surprisingly funny and loose.
Netflix has repackaged the archived Crackle episodes into confusing bundles, but you’ll want to track down these series highlights: Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, David Letterman, Chris Rock, Tina Fey, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, Jon Stewart and a funny up-and-comer named Barack Obama.
Where to see it: crackle.com/seinfeld
Thanks to some weird licensing agreements from 10 years ago, the digital network Crackle continues to offer full episodes of the original “Seinfeld” series online with no subscription required. Each month, the channel swaps in 10 archival episodes centered on a theme. It’s free, but be prepared for loooong commercial breaks.
Where to see it: Netflix
Theatrically released in 2002, this cool little documentary toggles between segments on the veteran Seinfeld, a young rookie comedian named Orny Adams, and assorted comics in cameo appearances. The tone is oddly brainy and anxious, as the film tries to take a cerebral approach to the world of stand-up comedy.
“Jerry Before Seinfeld”
Where to see it: Netflix
“Jerry Before Seinfeld,” part of Seinfeld’s new deal with Netflix, is the first of several comedy specials you can expect in the next few years. The hour-long film follows Seinfeld as he performs a set at NYC’s The Comic Strip, featuring flashback footage to the comic’s early days and even some never-before-seen home movies.
“I’m Telling You for the Last Time”
A relatively straightforward comedy special, this 1998 concert film aired live on HBO just months after the TV show ended. The gimmick behind the show was that Seinfeld was officially retiring all his old material in one final show. The perennial knock on Seinfeld, from crankier comics, is that he never connects emotionally with his audience. His total disinterest in doing so is on display in this performance. It’s vintage Seinfeld – solid, professional, slightly smug and comedically bloodless.
Where to see it: seinfeldscripts.com
For those of us whose Seinfeld obsession has grown totally unhealthy, the Seinfeld Scripts website is a dangerous delight. The independently run site features all kinds of articles, quote collections and merchandising, but the real gold is the full transcription of each and every Seinfeld episode ever produced. It’s like a graduate school masterclass for TV comedy nerds.
“Seinfeld” DVD Extras
Where to see it: YouTube
Shhh! This is one of the best-kept secrets of the Internet. Thanks to fellow fans of the TV show, YouTube is home to pretty all of the bonus materials from the ginormous “Seinfeld” complete series DVD box set released in 2007. One of the most generous series sets ever assembled, the package features a huge assortment bloopers, outtakes, commentary tracks and episode-specific behind-the-scenes features called “Inside Looks.”
Search these up on YouTube, and you’ll find hours of excruciating minutia on shrinkage, re-gifting, double-dipping, manssieres, high-taking, low-talking, close-talking, Festivus, Soup Nazis and, you know, yada yada yada….
When: 7 and 9:30 p.m. March 15
Where: Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St., Durham
Tickets: Shows are sold out, but some tickets can be bought through resale sites, starting at $164. You can also email email@example.com to be placed on a waiting list if any seats are returned or released before the event.
Info: dpacnc.com or 919-680-2787