Seinfeld puts on polished, mainstream comedy show for Victoria

You could tell it was Jerry Seinfeld night in Victoria. In the hallways of the sold-out arena walked three fellows wearing white shirts that were … well, pirate-like. Voluminous. Big sleeves and ruffles.


Jerry Seinfeld (opening act Mario Joyner)

Where: Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre

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When: Saturday night

Rating: 4 stars (out of five)

You could tell it was Jerry Seinfeld night in Victoria. In the hallways of the sold-out arena walked three fellows wearing white shirts that were … well, pirate-like. Voluminous. Big sleeves and ruffles.

Puffy shirts.

A female usher said: “Hey, did you see those guys in the puffy shirts? That’s the kind of thing you can only do in a group.”

A nattily-suited Seinfeld ran (yes, literally ran) on stage at 7:54 p.m. to a hero’s welcome. “Hello Victoria — how do you take the excitement of living here all the time?”

The legendary comic then congratulated us for making it to the “beautiful hockey arena theatre.” We cheered, all 6,905 of us. We laughed. Jerry Seinfeld in the flesh, by golly!

Seinfeld, who’s 59, is a highly polished mainstream comic. He’s an expert comedian with perfect timing and tight material. His show had the occasional misanthropic flourish, yet for the most part it was gentle humour.

Jerry eschewed profanity, save for the occasional “hell” and “goddamn.” He focused on life’s minutiae, the funny little things, just as in his old TV sitcom. It was a solid, entertaining performance. The crowd loved it.

Seinfeld did a longish bit on coffee, which is part of the “drink culture.”

He noted the prevalence of coffee shops in this city: “People hold those things [cups] out like they won an award.” He joked about posers who hang out in coffee shops with their laptops. Said Jerry: “I want to open up a coffee shop called ‘Beat It.’ ”

Elsewhere, he noted how people spend most of their time obsessed with sex and food. Food, of course, is easier to obtain. “There’s no jelly donut that’s not in the mood.”

He took aim at portable electronic devices. Emails and texting rule the day. “No one wants to talk. It’s too much work sucking air in and blowing it out.”

Naturally, part of the appeal was the mere fact of seeing Seinfeld in person. He is, after all, the star of one of the most popular television shows in history. Is his voice still whiny? (It is.) How’s his hair? (Shorter, thinning a bit.)

Some of his show was surprisingly physical, whether he was pretending to be an arms-waving guy pulling a rip-cord to stop at a bakery, or a kayaker, navigating the treacherous riptides of marriage.

The first half of Seinfeld’s one-hour set was shortish jokes — the set-up and the punch line.

On funerals: “Cremation is like you’re trying to cover up a crime. Burn the body and scatter the ashes around.”

On having mean thoughts: “Did you ever have this thought pop into your head, ‘I could kill this guy right now?’ ”

On coffee-flavoured alcoholic drinks: “How rare is that set of circumstances, where you need to be drunk and alert?”

On those five-hour energy drinks: “Five hours, that’s a weird amount of time. Who’s working from one to six?”

On marriage: “Being married is like being in a game show. And you’re always in the lightning round.”

More on marriage: “Marriage is two people trying to stay together, trying not to say the words “I hate you.’ ”

On how couples communicate: “You don’t say, ‘I could kill you right now.’ You say, ‘You’re so funny sometimes.’ ”

The show was opened by Mario Joyner, a genial comic who joked about being cold in South Africa, backhanded compliments and the dearth of black people in Victoria.

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