Friday, July 26, 2019

Netflix's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" with Jerry Seinfeld Season 11 is Here - With Eddie Murphy!

You can imagine the pitch for this show was probably much like NBC's original Seinfeld series - they both are literally about nothing - and yet we can't stop watching them.

And now, the ride everyone has been waiting for - Eddie Murphy rides shotgun with Jerry Seinfeld!

... in a 2004 Porsche Carrera GT ...

... and it was so worth the wait :)

(As a quick aside, in case you're wondering which comedian Jerry is vilifying in the above clip - it's the only comedian he's ever publicly vilified - whose name was bleeped out of the final cut  - however, not-so-super-sleuths have uncovered that it's his archenemy, Bobcat Goldthwait - they can't stand each other, long-running feud.  Man, Jerry was furious when she mentioned him, he wouldn't shut up about it.  You could just see Bridgett wishing to God she'd never said his name and wanting to climb in the bag with her little dog, but she had no idea he hated him that much.)

I cannot tell you how big Eddie Murphy was in America in the 1980s.  In fact, I once tried to convey to my daughter how Eddie Murphy single-handedly changed our culture and elevated people of color to superstar status and lead-actor box-office draws, but I don't think she got how revolutionary that was - because by her time, both Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson could reel in a box-office hit by playing the lead character, and also because a lot of our now-stale American vernacular is actually because of Eddie Murphy - but it was brand-new shockingly hilarious at the time - but we'll get to that later. 

For now ...

What IS it about this show?

(Said in Jerry Seinfeld intonation).

I think with CCGC, it's the combination of Jerry, seeing what comedians are really like offstage, and what classic/rare beauty or or junked up clunker Jerry picks to represent his guest's personality.

We're insatiably curious about the private lives of our celebrities, we Americans - it's a sickness, really :)

Well, I should say that my husband and I are actually immune to most of that noise, but I am curious as to what comedians are like offstage.

Mostly, my Detroitian husband loves the show because not only is it funny, but he salivates over the cars Jerry rolls out.

However, he walks out of the room for the comedians he can't stand.

For the record, those people are mostly Ricky Gervais, Jay Leno, Don Rickles, Howard Stern, and actually, Seinfeld co-creator, Larry David.  He likes Jerry, but not Larry David.  

In other words, he dislikes the arrogant, insult-style comedians, you see, and I get it - and truth be told, sometimes I've been turned off/offended by certain comedians, myself, I think we all have - but I've told him he really should watch these episodes anyway, because Jerry - no stranger to overconfidence himself, despite recently-found humility - knows how to put the arrogant ones in their place and remind them what they actually do for a living and how lucky they are - even Alec Baldwin, which is hard to do :)

(Alec Baldwin comes across as you think he might - very hilarious, but very arrogant, too, almost angry.  As if he might punch you to make himself feel better, then hug you and make you laugh about it 5 minutes thereafter lol)

Sometimes you're surprised at how they are, sometimes they're exactly like you think they would be (at least with the cameras still rolling).  

Sometimes they're completely self-absorbed or it's like watching part of their act - they can't step off stage when the camera is on.

Other times, they're so open that they're almost vulnerable, it's like watching their therapy, and yet still hyper-aware of everything said and what's going on around them, as if they're always listening and scanning their environment for their next joke - because to comedians, everything is a joke, even the most mundane things that happen to us every day.  

It's extremely interesting to just watch how their minds work, the brilliance and speed at which they can turn everyday things into comic gold.

What I also find interesting is how nervous many of them seem at first because Jerry Seinfeld as the current King of Comedy is essentially promoting you on his show (or just curious about you) could essentially make or break your career, and they know it.

As for Jerry himself, this was his compromise to doing a talk show, because he says he can't make conversation with just anybody, he has to find you intriguing.

Now, that could be in a good way or a bad way - either he thinks you're really good or he just wants to meet you because he's just trying to figure out what the hell everyone else sees in you and wants to know more (i.e. clearly, Seth Rogen was one of those latter people lol).

He's surprisingly easy to make laugh, as well as really good at putting people at ease, by saying the most random things, especially if he can tell they['re nervous, like, "Can I use your bathroom?" as an opening line ...

... - just to remind them, "Hey, I'm a regular guy and comedian,  just like you - I'm just trying to help a struggling brother or sister out." :)

Jerry is really at his best with people who are just his personal friends with that he finds funny (i.e., Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker) and of course, Seinfeld co-creator Larry David (upon which the character of George Costanza was loosely based).

It was literally like watching an episode of Seinfeld (and one of my favorites because it's insight into their relationship and material.)

Jerry has stated repeatedly on interviews that you can't be on the show just because you're a comedian - it's his personal choice.

In fact, though Jerry appears to never take anything seriously and have the the depth of a coffee saucer, he actually does have a heart these days (many thanks to his wife, Jessica, for that).

In fact, he essentially went to bat for Margaret Cho - he's always supported her since the beginning, despite being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and making jokes about her own rape  - she considers it therapy and says every time she tells the jokes, her rapist is terrified she's going to say his name, and she loves that ;)

She makes these jokes (especially about her Korean mom's reaction to her rape) about rape that are actually hilarious, and yet you feel bad at laughing - but she doesn't want you to feed bad, she wants you to laugh - not at her, but with her :)

*Btw, in case you missed the point in her video clip, standing with shaved head and fist, the reason everyone previously on her side is running away from her is because they're scared of her shaved head and "angry Margaret" - they want funny Margaret - thus, she expresses her pain with humor - get it? It's both funny and sad at the same time)

She says people get angry or don't know whether to laugh at her jokes about these subjects, and she reminds them comedy is the best way of dealing with difficult subjects and bringing them to the forefront - and that most comedian's stand-up is based on pain, actually :)

I, too, believe Margaret Cho was a comedic pioneer of sorts, not only for Asian-American comedians, but for how funny women could be - who has gotten a bad rap mostly because she crossed lines in comedy that men cross every single day ;)

I'm a Margaret Cho lover from way back, too - in fact, I remember a joke from Margaret's very first stand-up tour, in which she said:

"Imagine explaining our love of crappy 80s music when we're old. You know one day, we'll all be sitting around some nursing home, saying, "Put on Hungry Like the Wolf again, Buffy!"

I personally would love to see Wanda Sykes on there, who IMO, is basically the black female Jerry Seinfeld.

Saying Grace at Wanda's house - and Lucas's "disingenuous prayers" and feeling like The Help in her all-white family (again, it's a joke, people!).

And the ghost story she told on Ellen has now reached legendary internet fame (Ellen loses it listening to it).

Though hilarious, Wanda claims this ghost story is actually 100% true - she claims saw the ghost of an old black slave at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia, during Obama's presidency.

(This one's shorter than the first, so if you just want a glimpse of Wanda's schtick, watch this one.)

Don't let Wanda's genuine, everyday, Southern/down-home approach to comedy fool you -  because Wanda is hyper-intelligent.  Clearly liberal now, but she originally came from a well-educated, ultra-religious, military black Republican family, has a bachelor's degree in marketing from Hampton University, and once worked for the NSA as a contracting agent.

In fact, though she states she still has the security clearance, she recently took Vanity Fair's lie detector test, partly motivated by wanting to prove, once and for all, that she does NOT still work for the NSA lol.

However, from what I understand, it's never going to happen that she's on CCGC - because she previously worked very closely with Larry David on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," but apparently, they fell out shortly thereafter, and they now can't stand each other - and of course, Jerry supports Larry - and America will suffer, because the Seinfeld/Sykes combo would be an oxymoron-but-natural combination - and fantastic, IMO.

Now, if you're thinking Jerry is a liberal pushing a liberal agenda, be careful - he's only a fairly recent liberal - he was previously Republican. 

Sometimes he says things that are still out-of-touch white-privilege Republican, but mostly, he just thinks all subjects should be grounds for comedy (except jokes making fun of children and foul language are off limits, for him personally).

In fact, to be honest, I wasn't a super fan of Seinfeld, the show - although Julia Louis-Dreyfus, in real life, is nothing like Elaine, Elaine reminded me (and many other people) of my older sister, which is  not a good thing).

Also, the characters were a little too shallow, selfish, and whiny about white-privilege problems for me  - but there were certain episodes that were gold (the soup Nazi and low-talker/puffy shirt episodes). 

However, Jerry's stand-up and every day schtick makes me laugh - as does this show

And there are times you can tell he is the one who is actually nervous (with the late Jerry Lewis, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, and Barack Obama).

Speaking of Barack Obama, though both Jerry and Eddie are strong Obama supporters, he had this to say (they're comedians, no one is safe) ...

OMG, have we missed you, Eddie Murphy - please come back and do stand-up again, the world needs you to make us laugh again?

These are two of the most brilliant men on the planet, it was well worth the wait.

Where has Eddie been?

Well, he had a string of bad movies after previous comic gold.

"Coming to America" is STILL one of my favorite all-time comedy movies, and still makes me laugh at least 20 times, every time I watch it - especially this scene scene with "Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate."

(And yes, that's Eddie Murphy playing that character, too, under all that makeup and hair.) 

Give it up for the house band, Sexual Chocolate - in church.

(Mic drop. Mic static/reverb)

For anyone who has ever been to one of these basement church fundraisers, whether you're white, black, Latino, whatever (except you do have to be protestant to get it, because none of this shit would ever be allowed to go on in a Catholic church) -  you'll especially get it, more than anyone else :)

In fact, I often found myself snickering at these bad and borderline-inappropriate church-basement goings on, as a child, which often led to trouble.

I'm like, "Oh, okay ... some creeper with a band named "Sexual Chocolate" is on stage in our church basement, hitting on all the underage girls AND boys, but I'M inappropriate for laughing at this bizarre display AND I'm not allowed to listen to Prince because HE'S "of the devil?" LOL" ...

That clip was proof that what I was laughing at, as a child, WAS funny,  and Eddie Murphy knew exactly what I was talking about  ;)

So what happened to Eddie Murphy after his initial movie boom?

Well, you know how when people get to that Robert DeNiro or Meryl Streep stage of accomplishment, where they just start doing silly shit because they can, either because they like it or they're trying to promote a friend's work?

Yeah, so Eddie did that - only it was too soon ;)

However, Eddie just does whatever Eddie wants to do - because like those other names listed above, he made just as much money, so Eddie Murphy can afford do whatever the hell Eddie Murphy wants to do.

What's fascinating to watch is how his mind works, he's actually kind of a quiet guy, always scanning his environment to create his next impersonation or find all our little human idiosyncrasies and turn them into material.  

And his memory, my God, he remembers every gig he did, every location, every date and time - the man is brilliant.

What do you expect from (still) the youngest member to ever take the stage on Saturday Night Live (at 19 years old) and revive the show from near death, after the original cast left two years prior?

What I was most interested to see was his thoughts on Bill Cosby, which he gives with surprising insight.

For those of you who may not remember, Eddie and Bill had a running public feud, with Bill Cosby's public criticism that Eddie's stand-up video "Delirious" was too "foul-mouthed and dirty" on stage.

This is the video with the now legendary "Ice Cream Truck" routine, which is both adorable and foul-mouthed hilarious at the same time, and adding the word "psyche!" to our American vernacular for all time, and also how simply adding the words "an' shit" to anything you say, makes it funnier  - i.e., "Trump trynna act all presidential an' shit." See? Funny.

Eddie's retort to Cosby was classic Eddie gold.  

First of all, to get this next clip, you have to remember that also, at the time, Bill Cosby, was promoting Coca Cola's "Have a Coke and a smile."

Thus, Eddie incorporated the phone call from Cosby into his new stand-up comedy video, "Raw," momentarily shade back.

Keep in mind, as he tells Jerry during CCGC, this skit was an actual phone-call conversation between himself and Bill Cosby that Cosby admitted to (in fact, came out publicly with it first).

At first, he took Cosby's chastising like one of Cosby's kids, but eventually got mad that Cosby never had bothered to speak to him before in his life, but called him up, acting like foul-language was the only thing he did or talked about during the show.

Then he got mad, at both the call and Cosby's public condemnation, but instead of firing back, incorporated it into the call into his stand-up act for laughs - rendering a dead-on impersonation of Cosby, and culminating in Richard Pryor's advice, which was to tell Cosby, on behalf of him, to "Have a Coke and a Smile and STFU."

Ya wanna talk about who is "too dirty" now, Cosby?

Because let's review and bring you up to speed.

Eddie Murphy's now riding shotgun with the funniest, wealthiest, most famous white guy on the planet, in a Porsche Carerra - and your nasty butt is in prison for drugging and raping numerous women.

I'm pretty sure it's YOU who wins the "Too Dirty" Lifetime Achievement Award, Cosby - with the prison sentence to prove it

However, Eddie Murphy was actually still respectful, but provided us with further insight about that feud, back in the day.

Now, we all already knew that Eddie Murphy was influenced by Cosby, and we also knew that , Richard Pryor was Eddie Murphy's biggest influence (Pryor was God to Murphy).

So the actual BIG reveal during this CCGC episode was learning that - Pryor's fondness for Murphy, in return, was apparently mostly for show -  and that they actually had a very strange and strained relationship.

This was likely a shock to us all, because we all thought they were the best of friends and like father and son - and at times it was, but at times it wasn't.  

Eddie explains that is because back in the day, there was only room at the top for only one black funny man per decade, in America - and neither Pryor nor Cosby wanted to give up the throne - either for each other, nor Eddie - when Eddie didn't even want a throne, he just wanted his two childhood heroes and comic legends to approve of him and like him :(

That's super sad, don't you think? 

Eddie actually was very hurt by this, as he worshiped both men as black comic legends - but such is life in the entertainment industry, I suppose. 

However, to end this post on a better note, the most exciting  reveal in the clip is that Eddie says he's going to make a return to stand-up (with Jerry supporting him 100%) - I can't wait!

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