Seinfeld on Saturday

What would you do if you were offered $5 million to make a 30-minute television episode? If you answered “Walk away,” then you and Jerry Seinfeld are thinking on the same level. In 1998, Seinfeld, one of the most popular sitcoms in American television history, was so big that NBC offered Seinfeld $5 million per episode if he did a 10th season. He turned it down and made that year the show’s last.

Since then, Seinfeld has remained relatively active on the comedy circuit, releasing an immensely popular and side-splittingly funny standup album, I’m Telling You For The Last Time. He has also appeared on TV, including a cameo on Saturday Night Live when Julia Louis-Dreyfus (who played Elaine on Seinfeld) was hosting. Additionally, Seinfeld appeared at this year’s Oscars, presenting the award for Best Documentary.

In 2002, Seinfeld released a children’s book, Halloween. Although the book is animated and young in its theme, it still carries Seinfeld’s cynicism and wit, mocking the ridiculousness of Halloween (remember when your Mom made you wear a jacket over your Superman costume?).

Recently, Seinfeld has been working on the animated Bee Movie. Due in November, the movie follows Barry Benson, a bee who has just graduated from college. Unlike many bees, however, Benson is unsatisfied with a life of making honey. As he develops a relationship with a New York florist named Vanessa, Benson begins to see the wasteful ways of humans and their obsession with honey. In turn, Benson decides to sue the human race for honey, entangling the bee community and the human one.

Having done so much since Seinfeld, you’d think Jerry would want to spend some time with the family, enjoy his nice Porsche collection (rumor has it that he has one of the world’s largest), and relax. But lucky for us, Seinfeld is still performing standup all over the world. On Saturday night, he comes to the Benedum Center for back-to-back standup performances.

Seinfeld was immensely popular for its “show about nothing” attitude, exploiting the perils of day-to-day living (pressing questions such as “What does one do with the bottoms of muffins?” were frequently explored). Seinfeld’s standup isn’t much different. Compared to other giants like Chris Rock and Robin Williams, Seinfeld’s standup is pretty simple; you won’t find any political commentary or over-the-top antics in his routine. Instead, Seinfeld usually digs into the atrocities of taxi driver body odor, and how the cherry air freshener in the back just makes things worse.

Jerry Seinfeld was behind one of the most successful television shows ever (76 million people watched the Seinfeld finale). In fact, Seinfeld was so popular that reruns still run in syndication. If the immense success and influence of his past career don’t make it worth going to see him, then his fabulous sense of humor definitely does.